Medical Malpractice Vs. Negligence: What Are the Differences?

Mistakes happen, and sometimes the outcome is catastrophic. The last thing you want to have to do is have to figure out the difference between medical malpractice and negligence. It is one of the reasons why finding the right attorney is critical to the outcome.

Medical malpractice claims are complex and require a lot of attention. You want to find a lawyer that knows their way around when it comes to medical malpractice and negligence. 

The Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Negligence

Breaking down the definitions and differences between medical malpractice and negligence is important, even if you have not experienced either. The time might come when you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice and negligence. 

First, let us take a look at the word negligence. It means that someone failed to take proper care in performing their specific task. When it comes to civil cases regarding negligence, the burden of proof is up to you and your attorney. This will require proving a few things.

A person must prove that an institution or person had the duty and responsibility to protect. The next step is showing that they breached their duty. A victim has to exhibit then that the breach of duty led to injury or death. Finally, that you were directly affected by their failure.

Medical negligence must meet those standards, but they have extra qualifiers. The sued person or company must be in healthcare and caused the injury. It can include — doctors, nurses, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities. Lastly, your attorney would have to prove that a medical professional or institution violated an accepted medical standard of care.

Medical malpractice is a bit different because this specific type of lawsuit aims to prove that the medical professional was intentionally reckless. It is horrible to believe that a trusted doctor or nurse did harm on purpose because they are people we trust with our actual life. It is why it is the gravest charge when pursuing compensation and justice through a malpractice lawsuit.

The gist is that medical negligence is a mistake, and medical malpractice is knowingly not abiding by the rules, the best policies, and failure to uphold the standard of care.

Seeking Justice and Compensation

If, for any reason, you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice or negligence, find a professional attorney as soon as you can. Going this alone should not be an option. Handling paperwork, complaints, witnesses, and other information is overwhelming, especially if you or a loved one was a victim. Finding an expert lawyer to do the interviews of family and friends and secure medical records will lighten your load during this difficult time.

An attorney will tell you whether they believe the case is actionable and the chances of a positive outcome.  They will also keep their client up to date about the case. The most significant benefit in getting a lawyer as soon as possible is that there is a statute of limitations to civil cases. It varies from state to state. The procedural requirements are also different depending on where someone is filing a lawsuit.

In some cases, a physician or hospital will admit their guilt in a medical malpractice or negligence case. It is not unusual for them to offer a settlement and an apology, but never do this without advice from an attorney. It is your choice to accept the compensation, but you want to do it on your terms, not the offending party’s.

What to Expect

Lawsuits are not an easy thing to do, especially when it comes to the loss or injury of a loved one. Hiring an attorney does not mean a positive outcome is guaranteed, but it sure does help. 

The estimated number of medical errors in a single year is around 200,000 patients. Only a little more than 20 percent of these cases end in a positive outcome. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys will determine if your case is winnable, and in most instances, do not charge you until you see your compensation.

Another thing that is different in every state pre-trial procedure. An experienced attorney will know and proceed with the steps in filing a lawsuit when negotiations fail. Some lawyers and medical professionals will request mediation before the trial begins, but they are not always successful. Some victims and complainants want more than money – they want justice and for others to know the dangers they faced.

The courtroom is often the only way you will get both a public apology and the funds that you deserve. However, it is a personal choice that a person makes with their attorney. The important part is that you find the right lawyer for you to advocate for and on the right track to a positive outcome.

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