Medical Negligence vs. Medical Malpractice – What’s the Difference?

medical malpractice and negligenceThe words negligence and malpractice are very often used interchangeably; but the truth is, these two words refer to two very distinct legal concepts.

Medical Malpractice is defined as a medical professional performing his or her job in a way that is not the accepted standard of care, which causes an injury to the patient or death.

Medical malpractice cases include:

  •  Anesthesia Errors
  •  Childbirth Mistakes
  •  Errors in Surgery
  •  Wrongful Death
  •  Misdiagnosis or Incorrect Diagnosis

Medical Negligence, on the other hand, is defined as a medical professional failing to perform something that should have been performed.

Some medical negligence cases include:

  •  Failure to change a diagnosis
  •  Failure to advise patients about treatment risks
  •  Failure to remove surgical instruments from the patient’s body during surgery
  •  Failure to attend to the patient or to treat the patient
  •  Incompetence
  •  Failure to refer a patient to a physician who specializes in their disease or injury
  •  Wrongful diagnosis

Help for Victims of Medical Negligence or Malpractice

If you are the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, you should contact a personal injury attorney who concentrates on medical malpractice and medical negligence.

Some things to keep in mind when searching for a medical malpractice or medical negligence attorney include:

  1. Can the attorney advise you about whether the case is worth pursuing or not?
  2. Does the attorney work on a contingency basis, meaning no fees are collected unless you win your case?
  3. Be wary of attorneys that require money up front.
  4. Does the attorney know how to cut through the red tape that is required in order to resolve your claim?
  5. Will they utilize medical experts to assist in proving your case?

An experienced medical malpractice/negligence attorney will not be misled by the insurance company’s tactics and will not force you to take an undesired settlement.  A good attorney will also advise you early on about the elements required to make a strong case.

The Four Elements Required to Prove a Negligence Case

Duty:  A medical professional has a duty to their patient.  This duty is to provide reasonable care, as dictated by medical standards, to prevent injury.

Breach: If duty has been established, it has to be determined if there has been a breach of duty.

Causation:  In a negligence claim, breach of duty is not enough.  The injured patient must show that the breach was the cause of the injuries they sustained.

Damages: Pecuniary damages refer to the value placed on harm done to the patient.  These damages may include medical bills and lost wages.  They may also include general damages like pain and suffering.  Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent medial professional for their actions.

Do Not Settle or Delay

Never settle with an insurance company before speaking to a personal injury attorney.  Also, do not delay in contacting an attorney about your case.  There are strict statutes in Missouri and Illinois for medical negligence or malpractice claims.  The investigation process is lengthy and will most likely require expert review and testimony.  Seeking an attorney right away will put you in the best position to recover the financial, physical, and emotional damages you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence, CONTACT the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Lieser Law Firm TODAY!  The consultation is FREE!

In Missouri call 314-862-7805

In Illinois call 618-825-0188