In the United States, 10 percent of deaths are caused by medical mistakes. For victims of medical malpractice or medical negligence, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two terms. Understanding the difference between medical malpractice and negligence is crucial to prevail in a malpractice claim.
What is medical negligence?
In the health care community, medical negligence arises when a health care provider fails to act according to proper duty of care. According to AllLaw, health care providers are expected to “provide the type and level of care that a prudent, local, similarly skilled and educated doctor would provide in similar circumstances.” Because proving that health care providers violated their duty of care can be difficult, cases often require expert testimony.
Unlike medical malpractice, medical negligence doesn’t include the element of intent. In tort law, negligence is considered harm caused by carelessness rather than intention.
Basically, medical negligence arises when a health care provider acts negligently in treating a patient and their negligence resulted in harm to the patient. The omission to act may result in a medical negligence case, but does not meet the criteria of medical malpractice.
What is medical malpractice?
When it comes to understanding medical malpractice, keep in mind that not every bad outcome can be considered medical malpractice. Although health care providers owe a duty of care to their patients, they can’t always prevent bad outcomes.
As previously mentioned, a breach of the duty of care by a health care provider or medical facility is considered medical negligence. Medical negligence rises to the level of medical malpractice when a health care provider acts with intent.
In other words, if health care providers were aware that they should have done something according to their duty of care, and they knew that this failure to act could result in harm to the patient, the case rises to the level of medical malpractice. Although harming the patient was not intentional, the health care providers knew that their actions created a risk of harm to the patient.
What should you do if you’re a victim of negligent medical care?
Errors stemming from medical negligence cause the deaths of about 200,000 patients per year in the United States. If you believe you’ve experienced negligent medical care, start by contacting an experienced malpractice attorney. If you’re not sure where to start, ask friends and family for recommendations or research attorneys that specialize in medical malpractice cases. Seek out a medical malpractice lawyer in Nashville or in your area.
Next, your medical malpractice lawyer will review the details of your case to determine whether it’s actionable. Your lawyer will consider your medical records and personal account, and will conduct interviews with friends and family.
To receive compensation for harm caused by medical malpractice, a patient must prove that the medical malpractice caused damages and that the damages can be assigned some kind of monetary value.
Because statutes of limitations and procedural requirements for medical malpractice lawsuits vary by state, seeking guidance from a lawyer will help you determine the best way to move forward.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to be proactive about your health. If you believe you’re receiving substandard medical care, don’t be afraid to find a new doctor and ask for a second opinion. If you believe substandard care has caused you harm, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney immediately. Although it’s important to feel confident in the abilities of your doctor or nurse, it’s also important to use common sense when it comes to health care.