Even the most routine medical procedure or exam carries with it some risk of error. When these errors occur, it sometimes warrants a medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit.
What many people aren’t sure about is whether their case falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice or medical negligence. What is the difference between these two things, and what can results can each yield? Read on to find out more.
Medical Negligence: What Is It?
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional, like a doctor, unknowingly causes harm to a patient. It might happen because they weren’t aware of a problem – or because they failed to take appropriate action when it was needed.
In these cases, medical professionals don’t harm patients out of malice. Malpractice occurs, simply, because they fail to take certain actions or recognize factors that can lead to problems.
Common situations involving medical negligence include:
- Improper surgery anesthesia
- Issues during childbirth
- Post-surgical negligence
Medical Malpractice: What Is It?
Medical malpractice occurs in similar settings to medical negligence. However, malpractice includes the practitioner knowingly making choices that could lead to potential negative consequences – and proceeding anyway.
A circumstance where medical malpractice often takes place is surgery. If, for example, the surgeon tries to rush the surgery, and they cut corners in some way, it can be determined as medical malpractice. Another area where medical malpractice is common: Overprescribing medication.
Other examples of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to properly diagnose
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to order the proper tests
- Disregard or failure to regard a patient’s history
If you believe you’ve sustained an injury due to medical malpractice, then you may have a case that you should pursue with an attorney.
How to Prove Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice
If you want to prove either medical negligence or medical malpractice, you first have to establish that you had a relationship with the medical practitioner, and they owed you a duty of care. Next, you must demonstrate how they made mistakes or failed to provide that duty to you – and that you were injured as a result. Finally, you must demonstrate that damages occurred.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
You may be wondering what types of compensation you might be able to recover with a medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit. While every case is different, most people meet with their lawyer for an evaluation of their injuries, how those injuries impact their life, and how they will continue to impact their future quality of life.
Once a value has been assigned to the damages, which can be both economic and non-economic, they will present it to the insurance company of the medical provider. From there, a settlement can be reached or lawsuit filed, and the matter will be brought in front of a judge in civil court.
You can receive compensation in either scenario for:
- Medical expenses, both past, present, and future
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of future earning capacity and wages
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
In Florida, you have two years after the discovery of the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit or four years from when the malpractice occurred. If it was medical negligence, these cases also have a two-year deadline to start the lawsuit. Otherwise, your case can be thrown out.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.