Medical Malpractice vs Negligence: What Is the Difference?

medical malpractice

Most of the time, medical professionals do everything they can to help a patient get better.

They make proper diagnoses, they prescribe medication, and they even perform surgical procedures. But sometimes, they make a mistake — or fail to act at all.

In this post, we’ll clearly and concisely outline the differences between malpractice vs negligence.

Then, we’ll let you know what you can expect from future court proceedings. If you or someone you love has been injured or even died as a result of a medical mistake, you deserve justice.

Read on to learn how to get it.

The Definition of Medical Negligence

First, let’s define negligent behavior in medical practice.

A medical professional commits negligence when, even if they don’t mean to harm a patient, their failure to act or properly recognize a serious health issue causes a patient to become gravely ill or even die.

In most cases, the ignorance and inaction of the medical professional are criminal because they failed to treat or diagnose something that other medical professionals would reasonably see as obvious or essential.

Negligence is more based around a lack of action, whereas malpractice occurs because of a specific action taken by a medical professional. Medical negligence is, in a way, a form of dangerous or deadly carelessness.

Now, let’s take a look at some specific examples of negligent behavior in the medical field.

Common negligence cases involve undiagnosed diseases or severe health conditions. Perhaps a female patient goes to a doctor because she’s felt a lump in her breast. This medical professional ignores her claims and doesn’t bother to even test for cancer. A few months later, the cancer has spread and is potentially fatal.

Negligent medical behavior could also include the decision by a medical professional to delay a C-section during a high-risk birth. Because of this choice not to act quickly, the baby is born with a heart condition or brain damage.

Other common cases include a failure to ask questions about health conditions or medications before giving patient anesthesia, a failure to diagnose a heart condition, or a failure to prescribe proper medication.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is actually a type of negligence, but it’s usually founded on mistakes made during a procedure or improper medical care and treatments given to a patient.

The services this medical professional provides violate standards put into place by a governing body, causing the patient severe harm or even death.

For example, if a doctor prescribes you with a medication they know likely won’t treat your condition well, but prescribe it because they’re given a reward by a pharmaceutical company, this is a clear case of medical malpractice.

But even if a physician makes an “honest mistake” when it comes to dosage, they can still be tried for medical malpractice.

Other common cases include incorrect or unnecessary surgical procedures, improper use of medical products, or even giving patients an incompatible blood type when administering a transfusion.

If you’ve been the victim of negligence or medical malpractice, you have a right to take legal action. Let’s explore the process now.

Now that you know the differences between malpractice vs negligence in the medical field, let’s talk about what you can expect in court.

Both of these types of cases are filed in a civil court.

You’ll need to prove that the medical professional had a duty to help you, and that this duty was directly breached.

You’ll also need to prove causation, which means that any injury occurred as a direct result of the negligence/malpractice. Above all, you’ll need to show that the medical professional didn’t act in accordance with the standards of their profession.

You’re entitled to many different types of damages, and you can file claims against both a medical professional and, if necessary, a pharmaceutical company or medical equipment manufacturer.

You may get payment for the cost of the medical care that was inadequate, payment for the care you need as a result of the malpractice, payment for lost wages and future earning capacity, and even payment for pain and suffering.

You may also be awarded punitive damages — though this usually only occurs in cases that are especially extreme.

Punitive damages aren’t just intended to cover the costs of negligence and malpractice. They’re meant to serve as a sort of financial punishment for the doctor or medical company that inflicted harm on you.

Of course, especially if you’re pursuing punitive damages, you will need to hire a legal professional to fight on your behalf.  Working with an Oklahoma Medical Negligence Lawyer, or a legal representative from your home state, gives you a higher chance of winning and may even help you to get a larger payout.

Malpractice vs Negligence: Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the differences between malpractice vs negligence in the medical world.

Though court proceedings may take time, hiring the right legal representation increases your chances of making sure no one else is put in harm’s way like you were.

Are you interested in starting your own law firm to help bring justice to victims of medical malpractice and their families?

We’re here to help you learn how to make it happen.

Keep checking back with us to learn how to grow your business, market your services, and help people fight back the right way.