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What Is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?

Posted on April 15, 2023 in

Medical malpractice and medical negligence are very similar to each other. Negligence is the basis for many, if not most, medical malpractice cases. However, the slight difference between negligence and malpractice could become important when filing a claim for damages a patient sustained because of a doctor’s conduct. 

What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Malpractice?

The main difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice is intent. Let’s look at the definitions to help explain the difference.

  • Medical Negligence Definition – A unintended mistake or error that causes a patient to sustain harm or injury.
  • Medical Malpractice Definition – Any injury caused by a healthcare professional’s conduct.

Medical malpractice is a general term encompassing any harm to a patient that a doctor or other medical provider causes. It has an element of intent that is not included in the definition of medical negligence. 

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor improperly performs their duties. The doctor knew they were engaging in a negligent activity or other wrongdoing but continued with the conduct. In doing so, the doctor failed to meet the standard of care required for the situation. 

It can be difficult to separate medical negligence and medical malpractice. However, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case during a free consultation to advise you of your legal options for filing a malpractice or negligence claim. 

What Do I Need To Prove To Recover Damages for Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence? 

Proving medical negligence requires you to have evidence showing:

  • You and your physician had a doctor-patient relationship
  • The relationship created a legal duty of care for the doctor to exercise reasonable care when treating you
  • The physician breached their duty of care by failing to use reasonable care
  • The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the doctor’s actions or inactions

Medical malpractice also requires that you prove the doctor did not meet the accepted standard of care that would apply in your situation. For medical malpractice, you need medical experts to testify about the reasonable standard of care and how the doctor breached the standard of care. For medical negligence, a medical expert testifies how the doctor made a mistake or error that led to your injuries. 

What Damages Are Available for Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence Claims in Oregon?

The types of damages for medical negligence and medical malpractice claims are the same. The types of damages you can receive depend on the facts of your case. 

However, most patients can receive reimbursement for their economic damages, including:

Victims can also receive compensation for the pain and suffering they experience because of medical malpractice or negligence. Non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical pain and discomfort

The amount you receive for a medical negligence or malpractice claim depends on several factors. Generally, the value of damages increases as the severity of a person’s injuries increases. Working with an experienced Portland medical malpractice lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. 

Examples of Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence 

A study by John Hopkins suggested that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Errors, mistakes, and negligence occur in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. Medical malpractice and negligence claims can be filed against physicians, medical staff, hospitals, and medical facilities.

Examples of errors and situations that could lead to a medical negligence or malpractice claim include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failing to clean and sanitize tools, equipment, and patient rooms
  • Not obtaining a patient’s medical history
  • Radiological errors
  • Failing to monitor patients for signs of infection and complications
  • Surgical errors and mistakes
  • Failure to order diagnostic tests
  • Not referring a patient to a specialist 
  • Lack of informed consent
  • Delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and failure to diagnose a medical condition
  • Treating patients while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Birth injuries 

All adverse outcomes in a medical setting are not the result of medical negligence or malpractice. Doctors cannot control all outcomes. However, if you suspect a doctor or other medical provider makes a mistake or error, it is essential to act now.

The statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims in Oregon is two years from the date of injury. However, there could be exceptions. Therefore, the sooner you speak with a Portland medical malpractice lawyer, the better for your case. 

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Portland, OR – Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident in Portland, OR, please contact our Portland medical malpractice lawyers at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer to schedule a free consultation today.

Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
101 SW Main St. #1905
Portland, OR, 97204
(503) 773-3333

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