Medical Malpractice Definition

Medical Malpractice Definition

When Medical Care Harms Instead of Helps

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If you sought medical treatment only to suffer unnecessary harm, you may want to talk with a lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer can review the details of your experience to determine if you qualify for possible compensation. Medical care is expensive enough —unnecessary treatments, procedures, and medical mistakes can cost you everything, including your life or that of a loved one. Pursuing a civil case is a legal option for many medical malpractice victims, who seek to hold those liable for their harm accountable for their careless actions.

Medical Malpractice Defined

Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. When they breach that duty of care, they may face liability for any damages that result.

Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • A misdiagnosis: Receiving a wrong diagnosis can delay treatment for your actual medical condition, compound your issues, and increase your medical expenses.
  • Unnecessary treatments or procedures: A misdiagnosis can lead to medical professionals pursuing the wrong treatment path, with tragic or deadly consequences.
  • Severe never events: A “never event” is a type of event that seems impossible yet can happen to any patient. Examples of never events include surgery to the wrong side, the wrong organ, or leaving surgical items inside a patient.
  • Prescription mistakes: Adverse drug events are among the most common causes of medical mistakes. Failure to administer the right drug at the right time is potentially harmful and sometimes deadly.
  • Healthcare-associated infections: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that on any given day, approximately one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections are just two types of infections possible.
  • A birth injury: A child’s birth is a joyous event that can turn tragic due to a preventable birth injury. Such an injury can result in a permanent disability for your child, requiring extensive medical and personal care throughout their lifetime.

These are just a few examples of the types of medical errors that can change your life for the worse. If you sought medical help, only to have your life forever impacted by negligence, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney. The suffering you experienced is not fair, and pursuing legal action may just prevent the same mistake from happening to another patient.

The High Costs of Medical Malpractice

Experts believe the true cost of medical malpractice in the United States is billions of dollars per year. In addition to the financial costs, patients who survive malpractice often experience a shortened lifespan due to the effects of their mistreatment.

Medical care is expensive enough. The costs associated with the malpractice you suffered should receive payment from the funds of those liable and not your personal finances.

Caring for a loved one who suffers a medical mistake can take a toll on your health. Their need for 24-hour care may demand too much from you as you struggle to balance your job and your personal needs.

If your loved one resides in a skilled nursing facility due to medical malpractice, you may want to contact an attorney. Skilled nursing facilities are expensive, with an average cost of $8,000 per month. A lawyer can determine if moving forward with a medical malpractice claim and lawsuit is in the best interest of you and your loved one.

Good health is among our most valuable assets. If you or a loved one suffered serious harm due to medical malpractice, you are not alone.

Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim/Lawsuit: Evidence of Negligence

Taking legal action against a medical facility, provider, insurance company, or pharmaceutical company is not easy. These types of companies and providers often protect themselves with lawyers and by aggressively denying wrongdoing.

A medical malpractice lawyer understands not only the law, but also how it applies to medical mistakes. Their experience with insurance companies and others regarding medical malpractice can serve invaluable in cases involving personal harm or death.

The civil process generally begins by negotiating for a fair settlement with an insurance company. A lawyer must prove negligence, and you can help them with this important requirement by providing evidence of your experience.

Documenting your office visits, hospital stays, procedures, and treatments can assist your case. Your medical records, photographs, and witness statements are just a few examples of how you can help your lawyer build a strong compensation case.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

The type of damages you may suffer as a result of medical malpractice can vary. No one civil case is alike, and the outcome of your case may differ from another medical malpractice case. While compensation is never guaranteed, seeking a settlement or an award for your damages is your legal right.

Economic damages are damages that are clear and precise. The medical costs associated with your injury are one example of economic damages.

Non-economic damages are more challenging for jurors to understand. These types of damages are intangible, and there are usually no specific costs associated with them. An example of non-economic damage is the loss of companionship in the event of death.

If you lost a close loved one due to a medical mistake, your loss is priceless. While it is difficult to attach a dollar value to such a loss, a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases can make a case for such compensation.

Conveying this information to a jury in a way that both reaches and resonates with them is imperative. Using a skilled medical malpractice lawyer with trial experience can protect your best interests as you recover from a misdiagnosis or a personal loss.

When Medical Malpractice Results in Death

Losing a loved one due to a medical mistake is devastating. If your close loved one died due to a preventable medical condition, you may want to pursue a wrongful death claim and lawsuit for your damages.

A medication error, surgical mistake, or any other form of malpractice that results in death is worthy of a free case evaluation. Discussing the events that resulted in your loved one’s death with a member of a medical malpractice law firm is smart.

The permanency of such a loss leaves a void no amount of money can replace. Seeking financial compensation can, however, ease your stress during this difficult time.

The types of compensation generally pursued in wrongful death cases include:

  • Expenses associated with a funeral and burial
  • Final medical expenses for your loved one
  • Loss of income from your loved one’s job or career
  • Potential future earnings had your loved one not died due to negligence
  • Pain and suffering associated with your loss and grief

Mourning your loved one is a highly emotional time and not the time to deal with aggressive insurance adjusters. If an insurance company contacts you, refer them to your lawyer. An unexpected and sudden loss can have a significant impact on your future.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Win a Medical Malpractice Case

Suffering from unnecessary harm due to a medical provider you trusted is an upsetting experience. A medical malpractice lawyer can represent you and protect your best interests with pushy insurance adjusters.

If your medical condition prevents you from working, you may feel overwhelmed by your medical expenses and lost wages. An insurance company may attempt to offer you a settlement before you have an opportunity to contact a lawyer. It is important that you not fall for their tactics—no matter how tempting the settlement amount is to you and your family.

Planning for your future medical care needs or those of a loved one is critical as you pursue legal action. Accepting a settlement offer before hiring an attorney places you at risk for limited compensation. Should your medical condition worsen, you may not seek additional funds as an insurance company considers your claim closed and settled.

Victims of medical malpractice often do not seek the legal representation they need due to their fear of affordability. The reality of civil cases is that accident and medical malpractice victims cannot afford not to pursue the compensation they deserve.

The medical malpractice you or a loved one experienced most likely leaves you unable to work. Whether you face a long recovery, permanent disability, or the tragic loss of a loved one, the bills do not stop.

The financial stress you and your family experience are understandable. It is this type of stress that makes an insurance company settlement offer so appealing. In some cases, an initial settlement offer seems like a substantial sum.

Medical costs continue to increase, and along with other related expenses, money can disappear quickly. Ensuring that you have the funds necessary for protecting your interests, moving forward is vital for your challenging situation.

Time Is of the Utmost Importance

The moment you learn of your loved one’s death, your world turns upside down. It is too easy to put off pursuing a claim as you deal with the multiple changes that result from your loved one’s passing. The statute of limitations, however, are state laws that limit the time allowed for filing a civil lawsuit. If you should miss the deadline, your opportunity for seeking compensation is generally lost forever.

Medical malpractice cases often require an investigation and other actions. Interviewing witnesses and reviewing medical reports take time—something not on your side. Witnesses may forget critical details, evidence may become lost, and other issues may arise if you wait to pursue your case. Taking action as quickly as you can after a medical mistake is vital to protecting your or your loved one's best interests.

Medical Malpractice Can Happen to Anyone


If you suffered unnecessary harm due to negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer can assist you. You have enough on your shoulders as you deal with your original existing condition along with your new injury or the loss of a loved one.

A civil claim and lawsuit is a complex process that can confuse and overwhelm you. Identifying all parties responsible for your harm, gathering evidence, and other steps require a dedicated focus. No one should pay for expenses that occur due to the negligence actions of trusted medical professionals.

A medical mistake may reduce your quality of life or end the life of a loved one. If this happened to you, you may want to consider legal options for pursuing justice and compensation. The medical mistake you experienced, or the loss of a loved one was likely preventable, making your suffering unnecessary and frustrating. Focus on your health or loss, without the stress of handling the details of your case alone.