Posted on 06/06/2022

Are Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence the Same Thing?

Are Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence the Same Thing?

When you reach out to healthcare providers, you are likely looking for care, treatment, and answers to improve your health and well-being. 

Unfortunately, humans make mistakes, and medical care can go wrong. A lack of judgment or error can result in life-long injuries or a misdiagnosis that leads to pain and suffering, or even worse, death. 

Not all malpractice or medical negligence cases are severe, some may be minor. 

Regardless, a lawyer should review all claims. Patients harmed when medical providers could have prevented harm should be compensated for the damages.

If you or a family member have been injured by a healthcare professional, you must determine if you are suing for malpractice or negligence.  

Learn more about medical malpractice and medical negligence, when you should hire a lawyer, and the type of help and support you are entitled to if you or a family member have received improper care.

What is medical malpractice?

When any medical professional, such as a nurse, doctor, surgeon, or pharmacist, fail to provide their patient with the proper standard of care, it’s considered medical malpractice.

Healthcare professionals have an obligation to reduce the risks of infections, injuries, and mistakes. While accidents do happen, a professional’s actions sometimes make them at fault. 

For instance, a patient may have suffered from a severe infection, resulting in the loss of a limb because a healthcare worker was in a hurry and did not sanitize medical equipment. The patient would not have lost their limb if the healthcare professional had taken the proper safety precautions. 

Medical professionals are aware of the potential consequences if they don’t treat their patients correctly and protect their safety. Taking shortcuts that they know can lead to injuries, suffering, and death is reckless and illegal. 

Examples of medical malpractice

Most medical professionals try to provide their patients with the expected standard of care and fulfill their obligation to keep their patients safe. However, a lack of judgment or hasty decisions can result in injuries. 

The most common types of malpractice include: 

  • Surgical errors
  • Birth injuries 
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis 
  • Failure to treat
  • Medication errors
  • Failing to look into a patient’s medical history 
  • Poor follow-up care
  • Treating a patient without consent

What is medical negligence?

Unlike medical malpractice, medical negligence does not involve intent. 

An act of negligence occurs when a healthcare worker unknowingly makes a mistake that causes an injury or becomes life-threatening. 

While the medical professional may not have intentionally harmed their patient, their actions did. 

Some errors are discovered immediately, while others may take longer to notice. 

For instance, a nurse that left a surgical item inside their patient could cause the patient localized pain and discomfort. If the item remains in the patient, there is the possibility it could lead to sepsis and death. 

Not all accidents are as scary or painful as others, making it difficult and confusing to figure out whether you have a case. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can review your case and determine the best possible outcome. 

Examples of medical negligence

Some acts of negligence fall under the same category as malpractice. 

There are times when a medical professional may unintentionally make a mistake, while other times a professional knowingly does. 

Sharing your experience and evidence with your lawyer will help them decipher which type of case you may have. While medical malpractice is a graver charge, both can have terrible and deadly outcomes. 

Common types of medical negligence include:

  • Surgical errors
    • Operating on the wrong body part
    • Operating on the wrong patient 
    • Anesthesia mistakes
    • Forgetting an instrument or sponge inside a patient
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to understand or recognize symptoms
  • Misreading laboratory results 

When to hire a medical malpractice lawyer?

If you feel that you or a family member received improper care that led to emotional, mental, or physical pain and suffering you may have a case.

When you speak with a lawyer, they’ll review the facts of your case. This includes the level of care that you or your family member received, when the negligence or malpractice occurred, and if injuries or death were the result of neglect or malpractice. 

A malpractice attorney can investigate your case, identify liable parties, and help you get what you and your family are entitled to, to help you recover. 

Frequently asked questions 

It’s difficult enough to go through a situation where medical errors occured and caused you harm and stress. Medical malpractice claims can be overwhleming but an experience attorney can help you through the process. 

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions bout medical negligence and malpractice. 

Who can I sue for a medical malpractice claim?

The person who committed the malpractice, most commonly a nurse or doctor. However, you may sometimes sue an anesthesiologist, other hospital staff, or the hospital itself. 

Do I need a lawyer for my medical malpractice case?

No law states that you need a lawyer, but you have a much stronger chance to win if you hire an experienced malpractice lawyer. 

Do malpractice cases go to trial?

A case may go to trial, but 93% of the time, a settlement will be reached before a verdict is reached at a trial. 

What damages can I recover in a malpractice or negligence case?

Compensentaroy damages are most common and can include:

  • Past, current, and future medical bills
  • Costs of medical equipment
  • Home healthcare expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional duress
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 

Punitive damages may be available if a medical professional acted intentionally but are rare in malpractice cases. 

Reach out to Grover Lewis Johnson 

If you feel that you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss due to negligence or malpractice, do your research and get started on your case today. 

The medical malpractice team at Grover Lewis Johnson has 25 years of experience and will help you reach the settlement you deserve. 

Due to the emotional and physical stress you’ve endured, we won’t charge you any legal fees until we win your case. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with our compassionate and fearless lawyers.