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Medical Malpractice

When Routine Medical Care Outcomes Are Anything But Routine
Last Updated: February 10, 2021

What is Medical Malpractice

By definition, medical malpractice is a situation whereby a patient is harmed by a healthcare professional. More specifically, malpractice refers to care or treatment that results in an injury or even death due to healthcare provider negligence or recklessness.

The one common attribute in any medical practice case is that the medical professional’s course of action fell short of the acceptable standard of treatment and care expected.

Medical malpractice cases are based on what doctors and other medical professionals should know and how they should act.

Not every case whereby a patient’s condition worsens is eligible for filing a claim for medical malpractice. Only when the basic standards of care were not met, either due to recklessness or outright negligence, can patients claim their rights in malpractice lawsuits.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits​

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Requirements of A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Malpractice occurs when medical professionals are aware that their actions or failure to act may lead to serious consequences, and when they proceed despite that knowledge. In medical malpractice, this failure of treatment or care results in a patient’s injury or death.

Medical malpractice claims must meet certain specifications:

  • The care or treatment provided was not consistent with the standard of care as accepted by reasonably prudent medical professionals under like circumstances.
  • An injury was caused by failure to meet the standard of care. It is up to the patient to prove that their injury was caused through negligence, omission, or another violation of standard of care. Unfavorable medical outcomes by themselves are not considered malpractice.
  • The patient’s injury must result in significant damages. Because medical malpractice lawsuits typically require testimony from medical experts and because they can be costly to litigate, most medical malpractice lawyers choose to work with patients who are able to show that they have suffered significant damages at the hands of a private or public health care professional or institution.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins determined that medical negligence follows cancer and heart disease as the third leading cause of death in the United States.


Medical malpractice lawyers are well-versed in medical negligence and malpractice proceedings. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to the action or inaction of a healthcare professional, a medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in explaining whether it is practical to pursue a lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice vs. Negligence

It’s a question our legal experts hear often:

What is the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence? 

On the surface, the two terms appear similar. They do have some things in common – in fact, medical negligence can be a cause of harm that brings grounds for medical malpractice lawsuits. At the same time, there are important differences to be aware of.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Patients expect and deserve to be provided with medical treatment that takes advantage of all the knowledge, skill, and diagnostics available. Medical negligence happens when there is a failure in general duty of care.

Doctors have a professional duty to their patients. Any breach of those duties may be viewed as medical negligence. The same holds true for hospitals and other medical institutions.

Medical negligence may also be called ordinary negligence. Ordinary negligence occurs when a person – even someone with no specialized skills or training – fails to exercise care or duty toward another.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cases

Many types of medical malpractice lawsuits find their way through the legal system. Birth injuries, traumatic brain injuries, nursing home abuse, and surgical accidents are common examples.

If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may receive a settlement that covers expenses including:

  • Payment for the medical care
  • Payment for medications
  • Payment for future medical procedures related to the medical negligence or malpractice
  • Compensation for lost wages when malpractice leaves you out of work
  • Compensation for any loss of earning capacity when negligence or malpractice leaves you with permanent injuries that eliminate your ability to work
Medical Malpractice
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Who is Responsible for Medical Practice

When a healthcare provider fails to meet the basic standards of care set forth by Federal and state governments, there may be multiple parties held responsible for causing harm depending on the injury and outcome.

Ultimately, the responsible party depends on several different factors, including whether the facility or worker was accountable for the injury. This often depends on the relationship between the worker and facility.

Anytime negligence to meet basic standards of care or abuse is the factor that leads to injury, the following parties may be held responsible for medical malpractice injuries depending on the circumstances:

Doctors: Individuals responsible for meeting basic standards of care for patients.

Nurses: Individuals responsible for providing basic standards of care to patients.

Anesthesiologist: Individuals responsible for anesthesia during surgical procedures.

Midwifes: Individuals responsible for assisting during childbirth.

Dentists: Individuals who are responsible for patient dental care.

Chiropractors: Individuals who provide chiropractic care to patients.

Occupational/Physical Therapists: Individuals who provide professional therapeutic care to patients.

What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice

If you or someone you care about has been injured due to medical malpractice, take the following steps against medical practitioners to claim your rights.

  1. Identify the injury: Before any action can begin, it is crucial to identify the actual injury or harm and discover how it happened.
  2. Speak with the responsible party or individual: If a healthcare professional is responsible for the injury, it is important to uncover what exactly went wrong, how it happened, and if it can be fixed. It is always best to discover if options to remedy the problem can be pursued before taking additional steps. If it is possible to reverse the damage or injury, in certain cases, the medical professional may be willing to handle followup procedures at no additional cost. This is the ideal outcome, but not always possible depending on the injury.
  3. Speak with the professional certification board: If the healthcare provider or professional is unable or unwilling to assist, it is best to contact the relevant medical licensing organization to understand what steps can be taken next. They may recommend additional steps or be able to remedy the situation before any additional steps are necessary.
  4. Get a second opinion from a qualified professional: After taking all the previous steps, getting a second opinion from a qualified professional in the field can help understand if malpractice actually took place, and if there are further steps to take to pursue justice.
  5. Gather all documentation and bills: It is important to document all injuries and harm resulting from medical care and then also collect all bills and expenses related to the injury. There may also be non-financial issues like physical and emotional suffering that should also be documented.
  6. Verify Eligibility: After taking all the previous steps, the next steps involve discussing the situation with a professional to determine whether the conditions for taking action against a healthcare provider have been met. If eligible, a professional will guide you towards seeking justice for medical malpractice.

How Can I Take Action If I Have Been Harmed?

If you believe you have been harmed by a healthcare professional Select Justice can help you fight for your rights and compensation.

We will begin with a free case review. After our review we will be able to provide you with an experienced attorney who will advise you on the best course of action for your needs moving forward.

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About us

We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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© Copyright Jazz Media Ltd. 2020. All rights reserved