What Is the Difference Between Negligence vs. Malpractice?
Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Therefore, it is critical to speak with an attorney following any instance of perceived malpractice. But what is the difference between negligence and medical malpractice? Understanding this distinction can help you make the best decisions regarding your health and legal options.
When you or a loved one has sustained an injury due to a medical error, contact our seasoned attorneys at New York City’s leading law firm, Silberstein, Awad & Miklos. Our skilled legal professionals will gladly provide a free consultation to assess your medical malpractice claim.
What Is Medical Negligence?
The legal term “negligence” refers to an action or failure to act that directly harms another party. When an individual or organization has been negligent, the person injured may be entitled to financial compensation for the resulting damage.
Proving that another party was negligent involves your attorney providing evidence of the following four elements:
- The opposing party owed you a duty of care
- The opposing party failed to fulfill their duty
- The breach of duty was the cause of your injuries
- Actual harm resulted from the breach of duty
In medical negligence claims, these four elements are relevant. Therefore, your New York injury attorney must prove that your medical negligence claim meets all four criteria. Medical negligence claims are slightly different from standard negligence cases. First, the defendant must be a medical professional or care provider. Possible defendants in medical negligence cases include:
- Nurse practitioners
- Medical offices
Any person or institution with whom the plaintiff has a patient-provider relationship may be the focus of a medical negligence claim. Proving medical negligence involves showing that the doctor or institution in question owed you a duty of care.
Medical care providers are legally required to offer patients a professional standard of care. Therefore, a physician breaches their duty of care when they behave contrary to their professional standard.
Doctors should behave as similarly trained medical professionals when faced with a similar situation. Unfortunately, careless or thoughtless providers have the potential to cause patients harm. You should never have to worry that your doctors, nurses, or other care professionals will cause a physical injury to you. However, failing to fulfill a duty of care does not automatically qualify as medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical negligence is the result of avoidable accidents and foreseeable medical errors. In contrast, medical malpractice results from a purposeful and negligent act. The most significant difference between negligence and malpractice is the defendant’s intention. Proving medical malpractice involves showing that the at-fault party’s actions were knowingly reckless and dangerous. Therefore, medical malpractice is a more severe claim than medical negligence. Still, either action can result in a valid tort claim for financial damages.
Common Types of Medical Negligence
There are many different circumstances and situations that may result in legal claims. When you visit a medical care provider, you should be able to rely on their treatments and guidance. But not every honest mistake qualifies as negligence. Medical negligence occurs when a care provider fails to adhere to proper professional practices. Some of the most common types of medical negligence include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Delay in diagnosis
- Birthing injuries
- Surgical errors, including wrong-site surgery
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Wrong prescription or dosage
Any of these medical errors could cause significant damage to the victim. A medical negligence claim is possible when a professional’s lack of care results in a patient’s injury or death. Individual doctors and nurses are not the only potential defendants in medical negligence claims. Hospitals and medical institutions may also be financially liable for the harm victims experience due to negligence. Hospitals may be guilty of negligence if:
- They have inadequate staff
- They have improperly trained workers
- Mistakes in surgical scheduling cause damage
- Documentation mistakes lead to harm
- The hospital features inadequate medical equipment
No matter the cause of your injury, speaking with a medical negligence attorney is essential. You should not be forced to carry the financial burdens of a medical professional’s errors.
Secure Medical Malpractice Representation
If you or someone you love was harmed by a negligent care provider in New York, do not wait. If you are a New York resident, the statute of limitations imposes a deadline to initiate a medical malpractice claim. This deadline is typically 30 months after the alleged malpractice occurred. But, even 30 months is not much time for investigating and building a successful medical malpractice case.
Instead, speak with the attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.