Negligence by a professional is malpractice, but not all malpractice is negligence. Read here to learn the difference between malpractice vs. negligence.
Death from malpractice claims over 250,000 lives each year. And it is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. behind only Heart Disease and Cancer. That is a staggering number, and one that most medical professionals don’t want you to know about.
But how many of these are legitimate accidents, and how many or negligence on the part of the doctor? When it comes to malpractice vs negligence, it is very important to know the difference.
Medical malpractice and negligence are very similar, but they have some key differences. Keep reading to learn how you can tell the difference, and protect yourself from future catastrophes!
Malpractice vs Negligence: What’s the Difference?
Before you can know how to protect yourself in the proper way, you need to know what both malpractice and negligence are on their own.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor intentionally does something that is different than the normal standard of care in each situation. In lamens terms, when a doctor does something they shouldn’t do, knowing they shouldn’t.
Whether this is trying to find a quicker solution to a problem or doing a procedure improperly, it can be very dangerous. Not only can it cause serious injury, but it can lead to death. If you’re not covered or protected against this, it can leave you without a loved one and stuck with an outrageous medical bill.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is similar to malpractice and is usually the deciding factor on a medical malpractice case. The difference is that medical negligence is not always intentional.
Many times it can be a doctor failing to do something due to distractions or other factors. This isn’t the doctor doing or not doing something on purpose. It is them not paying attention to what they are doing. But lack of attention to detail can be just as costly.
An example is someone driving a car and getting into an accident by accidentally running a red light. They didn’t do it intentionally, but they are still responsible for anyone else who was in their car or the car they hit.
Just because something is unintentional doesn’t mean there aren’t real consequences. Hopefully, this never happens to you. But if it does, you want to make sure you seek help from a good medical negligence attorney.
How To Protect Yourself
Protecting yourself starts at the very beginning before any sort of care has been administered. Become knowledgable on the medical condition you have. Then do your research on the different treatment options that are available for your condition.
Do your research on what medical professionals are trusted and experienced in whatever surgery or procedure you might be getting. Before you go into the doctor for the first time, make a list of questions you might have about your condition or treatments. If at any point you feel uncomfortable or manipulated by a doctor, it’s completely acceptable to ask for another opinion until you find someone you can trust.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself either. Many times it can be easy to be intimidated by complicated medical jargon or the way the medical system is run. If you or your loved one feel like something is off, it’s okay to speak up and ask more questions.
One way to make sure you are taken care of is by having a loved one there with you. They may think of questions you might’ve forgotten to ask and can help to protect you.
How to Win a Lawsuit
The first thing you need to do before even considering any kind of lawsuit is to determine if what happened was actually medical malpractice and negligence. Many times a patient or their family may get a bad outcome from a surgery or procedure, but that doesn’t always mean it was malpractice.
Sometimes surgeries don’t work. Or sometimes they lead to more complications. That’s part of the process.
But other times there are very clear signs that something was done incorrectly. The problem is that there needs to be unadulterated proof that this occurred. While the number of malpractice deaths is high, the number of payments issued for claims has gone down over 56% since 1992.
To help you prove that an injury or death was caused by malpractice there are several things you need to keep in mind.
The first one is duty. Did the doctor have a duty to the victim to make sure that a surgery or procedure went a certain way?
The second one is breach. Did the doctor breach this duty by either intentionally or accidentally failing to perform this duty?
The third one is causation. Were the injuries sustained from the procedure caused by the doctor’s breach of duty?
The last one is damages. Is the outcome and settlement you are requesting related to expenses acquired during the medical treatment or because of it? This could be anything from covering medical bills to compensation for pain and suffering.
Protect Your Present and Your Future
As you can see, knowing how to determine malpractice vs negligence is important in protecting yourself and your loved ones. Being aware of everything up front can help limit a disaster later. And knowing how to identify malpractice or negligence can help you to win your case should it get to that point.
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