What Is the Difference between Negligence and Malpractice?

Sophia Soraya

April 3, 2024

Patients trust medical providers with their lives whenever they seek treatment in health facilities. Therefore, medical standards expect healthcare providers to perform their duties with utmost care and professionalism.

If a medical provider fails in this duty, you can bring a malpractice claim to hold them accountable for injuries they cause. When a medical provider’s actions or inactions fall below the professional standard of care, their behavior constitutes medical negligence.

If a medical provider’s negligence causes a patient to suffer an injury, it becomes medical malpractice. You can obtain compensation if a healthcare provider offers services without the required skill level, leading to an injury.

Consider speaking to a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney for legal advice on obtaining compensation.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

If you suspect you’re a victim of medical malpractice, the burden of proof lies with you. Understanding the legal foundations and the difference between medical negligence and malpractice is also important.

To successfully prove a medical malpractice claim and recover monetary damages, you must establish the following four elements:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed— meaning a medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • A medical health provider breached their duty of care by acting or failing to act as a professionally trained provider would have done in a similar position.
  • You suffered harm because the medical provider failed to treat you adequately.
  • You sustained damages because the medical provider failed to treat you adequately, such as lost income.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

A substantial failure by a medical provider during the treatment plan is considered medical malpractice. 

Here are the common mistakes committed by medical providers:

Surgical Malpractice

Although surgeons are highly trained professionals, countless medical mistakes occur in the operating room. Surgeons are often liable for medical malpractice if they make avoidable mistakes during surgery.

Here are a few examples of surgical malpractice:

  • Administering incorrect dosage or wrong medication
  • Performing surgery at the wrong site
  • Performing a procedure on the wrong patient
  • Inadequate use of equipment
  • Failure to follow proper protocols of hygiene and disinfection
  • Leaving foreign objects, such as sanitation equipment, inside a patient’s body

Anesthesia duty during a surgical operation includes reviewing the patient’s medical records, administering anesthesia, and supervising the patient before and after surgery.

If an anesthetist makes an error and delivers too much or insufficient anesthesia, patients often suffer varying complications, including allergic reactions, heart attacks, waking up during surgery, coma, or death.

Birth Injuries

Mistakes often occur during labor and childbirth, leading to severe consequences for the child or mother. Infants are particularly vulnerable to birth injuries, including fractures of the skull bone, superficial lesions, and intracranial hemorrhages.

You can file a medical malpractice if a doctor or nurse improperly uses assistive devices, resulting in injuries.

Delayed Diagnosis

Prompt diagnosis improves the chances of recovery from a medical condition. Late diagnosis often worsens time-sensitive conditions such as cancer, stroke, or heart attacks. If a healthcare provider fails to diagnose a medical condition that a similarly trained professional would have identified, they may be liable for the injuries and resulting losses.

Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare provider incorrectly assumes a patient’s condition or misinterprets test results. Although performing a diagnostic test is an objective way to identify a medical condition, misdiagnosis often occurs.

Suppose there is a technological hitch during the test generation or human error in interpretation, and a doctor advises a patient that they have stage one lymphoma instead of stage three cancer. In that case, the patient deserves compensation for the loss of quality of life or suffering regardless of the cause of misdiagnosis.

Compensation for Medical Malpractice

You can sue the medical provider who committed medical negligence leading to medical malpractice. In addition, you may also sue the hospital or clinic that employed the doctor who committed the medical malpractice.

Whether it is a doctor, dentist, surgeon, nurse, or anesthesia, they should reimburse you for the losses you suffered due to the injury.

Some of the damages you could recover include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of companionship

Get in Touch With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Suppose you sustained a nerve injury because of a botched surgical operation. In that case, you may endure pain and suffering, hefty medical expenses, and lost productivity.

You, therefore, deserve representation from an experienced attorney who’ll aggressively fight for your rights.

Varcadipane & Pinnisi, P.C. is a team of skilled attorneys with over 40 years of combined experience and a proven success track record.

Contact us online or at (866) 643-0866 for a free consultation.

Sophia Soraya

Sophia Soraya is a seasoned attorney specializing in complex civil matters, with a focus on personal injury, professional malpractice, and product liability cases across New York and New Jersey. Sophia is a Partner with the Firm and has been selected as a Super Lawyers, Rising Star for consecutive years.

University: J.D. New England Law (Boston)

Bar Number: 000402013

Locations: New Jersey and New York.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partners, Jeffrey W. Varcadipane & Dawn M. Pinnisi, with more than 40 years of combined legal experience as personal injury attorneys.

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