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Medical Malpractice vs Medical Negligence – Key Differences

This is an update to the blog Medical Negligence And Medical Malpractice Suits – A Continuing Saga

Medical Malpractice Vs Medical Negligence

Healthcare providers are expected to provide patients with high-quality care. However, in certain cases mistakes may happen, leading to medical malpractice or negligence. Personal injury attorneys can help determine if legal action is appropriate for injuries or illnesses caused as a result of such mistakes. Medical error or negligence and medical malpractice are not the same. To prove either of these grave mistakes, attorneys require accurate medical record review services. Accurate review of records provides them with a clear understanding of the medical facts related to the case.

Let us consider the differences between these two types of medical errors.

Medical Negligence

Negligence occurs if a provider fails to take action when caring for a patient. Most medical errors that result in injuries or deaths are classified as acts of negligence. Lawyers take support from expert medical witnesses to testify that the provider breached the standard of care required.

To prove medical negligence, most attorneys use testimony from expert witnesses, or healthcare practitioners in the same field of medicine as the defendant. Key elements in proving medical errors include – the defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care at the time of the neglect, the defendant negligently breached this duty of care in a way another doctor would not have, the defendant’s breach of duty of care caused the injury or illness in case and suffered specific damages as a result.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice refers to the breach of the duty of care by a healthcare provider or a hospital, clinic, or medical facility. This is intentionally negligent action. Along with the key elements that apply to medical negligence cases, a malpractice claim comes with an added element of intent. To prove medical malpractice, lawyers have to prove that the provider knew that he or she should have done something different to treat the patient, but didn’t do so. In other words, the provider knew that failing to take the right action could harm the patient.

Intent – The Key Difference

The main difference between medical negligence and malpractice is intention. A medical malpractice suit aims to prove that the professional’s actions were intentionally reckless. At the same time, negligence is unintentional.

A provider is negligent does not mean that he/she committed malpractice. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, involves intent. It occurs if a provider intentionally fails to provide a certain level of care of a patient and this results in the patient’s injury or death. Here, the medical professional knowingly didn’t follow through with the proper standard of care.

Medical negligence does not involve intent and refers to an act of carelessness, not the intent to harm. Here the physician made a mistake in the good faith belief that they are performing the medical standards of care and doing the right thing by the patient.

Medical malpractice attorneys and personal injury lawyers require proper medical records organization and review for litigation purposes. The major types of personal injury compensation damages are compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages reimburse the plaintiff for the costs associated with their injury, while punitive damages punish the provider responsible for causing harm. However, if a healthcare provider’s recklessness did not result in patient harm, they cannot sue for negligence or malpractice. Medical record review services for malpractice cases help attorneys get a detailed review of the injured person’s medical chart and thus identify the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

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