The difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence is that medical negligence is a careless or reckless action taken by a doctor or healthcare provider that falls below the standard practiced by other medical professionals. Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury lawsuit against the negligent doctor or healthcare provider.
If you were injured by an act of medical negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible party. A lawyer may be able to manage all aspects of your medical malpractice case when they represent you.
Various Parties Can Commit Medical Negligence
When some people hear the phrase medical negligence, they may just think in terms of doctors. However, other types of healthcare professionals can also take negligent actions that could harm their patients. These professionals may include:
- Hospital employees
In some cases, the negligence of a hospital or health care facility’s administration may injure a patient as well. No matter whose medical negligence caused your injuries, the responsible party may be liable for your damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Legal Standard for Establishing and Proving Medical Negligence
In a medical negligence case, the four elements that your lawyer must prove are a duty of care, a breach of this duty, causation and damages. An experienced attorney will work with medical experts to establish the “medical standard of care.” which can vary depending upon the circumstances, considering factors such as:
- The patient’s age
- Medical history
- The nature of the illness or injury
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the level of care that a reasonable professional would have delivered under the circumstances. You will also need to prove that the negligent treatment caused you to suffer some type of harm, physically and financially, in a way that would not have happened if your treatment was proper.
Common Examples of Medical Negligence
There are several ways a healthcare provider can commit medical negligence. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a medical professional, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. These are unfortunately common instances of medical negligence:
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Test
Medical professionals will often come to a diagnosis without performing the proper tests or due diligence. If a doctor, nurse, or other hospital staff member either fails to administer the proper tests or misdiagnoses with the tests available, they are being negligent.
These mistakes can be anything from making the wrong incision to performing on the wrong body part during surgery. Tragically, incorrect side, incorrect site, and wrong patient procedures are common.
This is in regards to both prescription or administration of a medication. If either result in wrong doses and injury, it can be constituted as medical malpractice.
Neglect or Unclean Facility
If a patient is not taken care of properly, or placed in an unclean facility, the hospital or medical office is practicing medical negligence.
Working With a Lawyer on Your Medical Malpractice Case
Many people may receive medical, dental, or other health care at some point in their life that they are not happy with. However, dissatisfaction alone does not form the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Instead, a medical malpractice claim typically requires proof of medical negligence. This proof may need to come in the form of a medical expert’s testimony that your provider performed below a reasonable medical standard and that another, similarly trained professional in the same situation would have likely taken different actions.
A medical malpractice lawyer in your area may be able to help you show how the injuries you sustained were negligent. Your attorney may work to do this by:
- Consulting doctors and other medical experts who can establish the validity of your claim
- Interviewing hospital or clinic personnel to uncover the cause of your injuries
- Reading and reviewing your medical records to demonstrate the extent and cost of your injuries
- Using your medical records to establish your potential need for ongoing care in the future
Potentially Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
If you or your legal representative are able to establish the responsible party’s liability for your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.
In general, the following damages may be available in a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Current and future medical care costs
- Lost wages for the time you missed at work due to your injuries
- Reduced earning capability
- Pain and suffering caused by your injuries
- Mental anguish
Tragically, medical negligence can also have fatal consequences. If your loved one lost their life due to medical negligence, a different set of damages may be available to you in a wrongful death case. These damages may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pre-death medical care
- Pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death
- Loss of guidance
The Deadline to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New York
According to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) §214-A, there is a general statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits of two years and six months. There are some exceptions to this rule and you may want to consult with a law firm on what specific deadlines pertain to your case.
If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, New York Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) §5-4.1 sets a general two-year statute of limitations from the date of your loved one’s death.
Failing to meet the state-outlined deadline to file your case, your lawsuit is at risk of immediate dismissal, which could mean the at-fault party may no longer be compelled to compensate you.
Speak to an Experienced Lawyer at Morelli Law Firm Today
If you believe that medical negligence was the cause of your injuries, Morelli Law Firm may be able to help you. We represent clients in medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits throughout New York and Long Island.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call us today. We can answer your questions and provide you with further clarification on the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence during this call.