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What Is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?

If a doctor or other medical provider caused you harm or injury, you might hear Jacksonville personal injury lawyers use terms such as medical malpractice and medical negligence. The terms sound the same, and you can recover compensation for both types of injury claims. However, medical negligence is ultimately a form of medical malpractice.

Negligence is typically an avoidable mistake or error. It is unintentional, yet the conduct causes someone to be injured or suffer harm. 

On the other hand, malpractice is failing to meet a duty of care. Medical malpractice is failing to provide a standard of care that meets or exceeds the acceptable care for a given situation. The doctor knew they should provide a specific level of care but chose not to do so even though they knew their conduct could harm the patient.

It can be difficult to distinguish between medical malpractice and medical negligence. An experienced Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case during a free consultation. The attorney explains your legal rights and the options for seeking compensation for injuries and damages

Proving a Case for Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice

In addition to proving that your physician failed to meet the duty of care, you must also prove the other legal elements required to hold a medical provider liable for damages. The legal elements of a medical malpractice or negligence claim are:

  • You and the physician had a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor-patient relationship created a legal duty of care requiring the physician to exercise reasonable care when treating you.
  • The physician breached the duty of care through their actions or inactions. 
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries.
  • You sustained damages because the physician breached their duty of care.

Medical negligence and malpractice claims are often filed against physicians. However, other medical providers might also be subject to a malpractice or negligence claim.

Hospitals, dentists, medical technicians, surgeons, nurses, medical facilities, and other healthcare providers could also be subject to a medical malpractice claim.

What Damage Could I Receive for a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Florida’s medical malpractice laws give victims the right to sue for reimbursement of economic damages. These damages represent the financial or monetary losses and expenses incurred because of the malpractice. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical bills and expenses, including ongoing medical care and treatment 
  • Long-term nursing or skilled care
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of wages, benefits, and other income, including future lost wages and a decrease in earning capacity 
  • Assistance with personal care and household chores

In addition to the monetary losses, victims of medical malpractice can suffer significant emotional, mental, and physical suffering. The law permits victims to recover compensation for non-economic damages, including:

In specific types of medical malpractice cases, juries might “punish” the defendant by awarding the plaintiff punitive damages.

Therefore, our lawyers carefully review your case to determine the damages you can receive to maximize recovery for your medical malpractice claim.

Causes of Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence in Jacksonville

Medical errors are more common than many people realize. A study by Johns Hopkins suggested that medical errors were the third-leading cause of death for individuals in the United States. Medical mistakes and errors that should have never occurred cause wrongful deaths and traumatic injuries. Intentional acts of malpractice also occur throughout the medical field.

Situations that might give rise to a medical malpractice or negligence claim include, but are not limited to:

  • Medication errors
  • Failing to order diagnostic tests and lab work
  • Surgical errors and mistakes
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failing to monitor a patient for signs of infection or complications
  • Birth injuries during labor and delivery
  • Failing to timely refer a patient to a specialist
  • Radiological errors
  • Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, and delayed diagnosis 
  • Failing to obtain and/or review a patient’s medical history
  • Lack of informed consent from the patient 
  • Delayed treatment or ordering an incorrect treatment plan
  • Staff miscommunication and mistakes in the patient’s records
  • Failure to adequately clean and sanitize rooms and equipment caused infections 
  • Treating patients while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Doctors cannot control every outcome, and not all bad outcomes are cases of medical malpractice. But in the event that it was, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options.

An Experienced Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help With Your Claim

It is wise to seek legal advice if you suspect a healthcare provider was negligent or intentionally failed to provide adequate care. The sooner you seek legal help, the better for your case. 

The Florida statute of limitations for many medical malpractice lawsuits is two years. However, there are some exceptions if the patient did not discover the malpractice within that period. 

Contact the Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra medical malpractice law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve Duval County, St. Johns County, and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 396-1100

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 822-4225

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
(904) 675-1167

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