MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VS. PERSONAL INJURY: WHAT VICTIMS NEED TO KNOW
March 28, 2018
We all want to trust our doctors and other healthcare professionals to take good care of us. Most of the time, these professionals have received excellent training and have only our best interests at heart. But in some cases, innocent patients have had to bear the burden of medical negligence. If you or someone you know has been involved in a medical malpractice case, you may have a vague idea of what this means. But since legal jargon can be difficult to understand, you might be confused about the difference between personal injury and medical malpractice claims. Fortunately, this distinction is fairly straightforward. We'll explain below.
How does medical malpractice differ from personal injury law?
A medical malpractice suit is a type of personal injury claim. There are many other kinds of personal injury claims out there, but this is just one example. With any kind of personal injury case, a victim and their attorney must prove that an injury occurred due to the negligence of a third party.
Specifically, medical malpractice claims deal with instances wherein a healthcare provider failed to follow the "recognized standard of care" in their treatment of a patient. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 225,000 die every year from medical malpractice alone. If your personal injury law firm can prove that your medical provider (whether it be a physician, a nurse, a surgeon, or an entire medical facility) was negligent in their duty of care and that their negligence directly resulted in your injury or other harm, your attorney may be able to make a case for medical malpractice.
Are there specifics that are shared by personal injury claims and medical malpractice cases?
As stated earlier, all kinds of personal injury claims (including medical malpractice cases) must involve proof of negligence and proof that the negligence in question directly led to the injury. Of course, both types of claims involve injured parties and filing a claim for damages or compensation. In many personal injury cases, including medical malpractice claims, attorneys may attempt to settle out of court. And in all cases like these, it's important to have reputable legal representation by your side.
What should I do if I've been injured due to a medical mistake?
Keep in mind that not all medical-related injuries can be rectified with a medical malpractice filing. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis or other medical mistake may not be avoidable -- even with the finest training, intuition, and intentions. In some cases, a patient error may be to blame or there are simply no other options that could have provided a better result. Although it's regrettable that a patient has had a negative outcome, negligence is really the key when filing a claim. If a medical professional was not careless or lax in any way, it's unlikely even the most experienced lawyer can argue a case for medical malpractice. Still, if you have been injured due to the actions of a third party, it's best to contact a lawyer for guidance.
If you have further questions about medical malpractice or other personal injury cases, we're here to help. Please contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.