Understanding The Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Negligence

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The terms medical malpractice and medical negligence are synonymous. Another way to express it is a breach in the standard of care. Medical negligence is an inappropriate action or a lack of action that results in injury. The professional in question may not intend to harm a patient. However, just like the negligent driver who inadvertently runs a stop sign and injures someone, if a health care provider runs a “medical stop sign” and injures a patient, the law requires the health care provider to fully, fairly and adequately compensate the victim for all injuries and damages caused by the negligence.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical professional’s error, contact an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to review your case and determine whether you have been the victim of negligence or malpractice.

Understanding negligence

Negligence occurs when an individual acts in a way that ignores basic civic responsibilities and these actions cause injury to another party. Medical negligence refers to instances in which medical professionals provide a level of care that does not meet the prescribed standards of the field of medicine. Negligence alone does not warrant a lawsuit. For example, if a medical professional acted negligently but no injuries were sustained, this professional would not be held legally accountable for his or her actions. One must prove that the negligence directly resulted in harm.

Understanding medical malpractice

A subcategory of negligence, medical malpractice refers to a breach of the standard of care by a medical professional that directly results in injury or illness to the client. In short, medical malpractice is in play when a medical professional fails to provide an adequate standard of care, and this failure results in an injury to the patient. An example of this would be a medical provider who opts to not perform a needed diagnostic test because the patient’s insurance will not cover the expense. In this case, the provider is making a decision that breaches his or her professional responsibilities with the knowledge that this call could result in harm to the patient.

Four criteria for malpractice:

  1. A patient was owed a duty or service by the health care provider – a “doctor-patient” relationship.
  2. The expected standard of care was not met, and professional responsibility was breached.
  3. This breach of responsibility resulted in injury or death.
  4. The patient was negatively affected by the damage – either physically, emotionally or financially.

Schochor, Federico and Staton help you fight for your rights in the face of medical negligence and malpractice

The complexity of Maryland’s medical malpractice law requires the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to understand for cases in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. Schochor, Federico and Staton have been successfully litigating medical negligence and malpractice cases for over three decades and are dedicated to effectively representing you. Call 410-234-1000 today to speak with an attorney about your injuries. We assess your case, gather the evidence and fight for your rights.