Within the healthcare industry, employees have a certain responsibility for their patients, whereas the facility in which treatment was administered may not be held liable for any wrongdoing. For both negligence and medical malpractice cases, it all comes down to proof.
Negligence versus Medical Malpractice
There are differences between negligence and medical malpractice. Typically, medical malpractice is more complex, especially when expert testimony is required to prove liability.
- Negligence – If an employee of the hospital or medical clinic ignores basic civil responsibilities and does not provide the appropriate action, thereby causing you injury, this is considered negligence. In other words, if you are affected negatively (whether physical, emotional, or financial) by the healthcare employee’s behavior, you can file a negligence lawsuit.
- Medical Malpractice – With medical malpractice, the bond of trust between you and a professional healthcare provider has been breached with intent. Usually, medical malpractice focuses on doctors, nurses, and therapists. If treatment does not follow a safe and standard procedure with the result being injury or even death, a medical malpractice suit can be filed.
In both cases, proof is mandated for a specific responsibility to the patient, breach of that responsibility, causation following the breach, and damages. Regardless of the incident, it is important that you rely on the experience and expertise of a qualified attorney.
Keeping Patients Safe
If certain regulations in place to keep patients safe are broken, bad things can happen. The sole purpose of these regulations is to keep patients healthy and alive. When not followed, injury and death become real risks. When employees of a hospital or medical clinic create an injustice, you can sue for negligence. When the injustice is done with intent by a medical professional, the case becomes medical malpractice.
If you were in the hospital and the floors were just mopped but no warning signs were placed for notification, a slip causing injury would be a case for negligence. If a nurse had knowledge of a loose bedrail but did nothing about it and you are injured after falling out of bed, that is considered medical malpractice. The primary difference between the two is intent, or knowingly doing or not doing something that causes injury or death.
With medical malpractice, the primary challenge is that not all doctors are considered employees. Therefore, to file a medical malpractice case after being injured, your attorney must first determine if the doctor is an employee of the hospital or medical clinic. However, even if that relationship is nonexistent, there are other options for legal recourse.
The bottom line is that you need to consult with a reputable attorney. After your initial conversation, the attorney will begin the investigation process by researching the medical professional’s employment status, gathering reports, talking to witnesses, and so on. For both types of cases, a lawsuit takes time and can be difficult. However, with the right attorney in your corner, you have a much better chance of winning your case.