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The Legal Guide: Understanding Hospital Negligence vs. Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence occurs when a treatment error is made. Medical malpractice involves a deviation from the standard of care you received versus the care you should have been given. Understanding hospital negligence vs. medical malpractice is important to understanding your legal options.

Damaged health caused by a medical professional or facility does not always constitute malpractice or entitle you to financial compensation. When suing for damages, you need to understand the difference between the two and the role of negligence, the standard of care, and how it applies to your case. A personal injury lawyer can provide the legal guide you need to build an effective case.

Medical Negligence: How the Medical Field Defines a Deviation From the Standard of Care

Medical negligence can include failure to diagnose your condition, inappropriate care, or another medical error. It is defined by Medical Error Reduction and Prevention as the failure to provide the same standard of care a medical peer would have provided. 

Defining medical negligence can help you establish the elements of malpractice and lead to financial recovery for a medical injury. 

Medical Malpractice: When the Failure to Meet the Standard of Care Causes to Harm to the Patient

According to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, the medical malpractice definition has four legal elements:

  • The medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • The care they provided breached the standard of care.
  • The provider’s or facility’s actions compromised your health.
  • You subsequently suffered economic noneconomic losses.

Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Wrong-site surgical procedures
  • Wrong-patient surgical procedures
  • Surgical instruments left in patients
  • Missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Medication, IV, or anesthesia errors

If we are able to prove the above elements, we can sue a hospital for malpractice, in addition to the individual doctor or team. 

This list is not exhaustive. Medical malpractice lawsuits are typically accompanied by an Affidavit of Merit. It attests to the validity of your claim with evidence from a qualified medical expert. Your lawyer will obtain this important document for you. 

What Damages Can Be Recovered for Medical Malpractice?

Legal consequences for medical errors include financial compensation for injured patients. A lawyer can help you understand the damages medical malpractice victims can seek, including:

  • Current and future medical care
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Current and future lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity 
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Ongoing mental and emotional anguish 

Your lawyer will carefully assess your recoverable damages. A detailed assessment of your case can help you avoid overlooking or omitting damages. They can also help you avoid having your case undervalued or underpaid. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Medical Negligence or Malpractice Attorney in Your Area

Healthcare liability means doctors and hospitals can be held liable for treatment errors and other forms of negligence that constitute medical malpractice. The law firm you choose for representation will take the following steps to help you pursue compensation:

  • Explain hospital negligence vs. medical malpractice
  • Explore your patient rights in medical malpractice claims
  • Build an evidence collection that steers your case toward a settlement
  • Represent you at trial if your lawyer determines that’s the best option for getting you the compensation you deserve

Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company and their adjuster. They will also keep you updated on any progress or developments in your case from start to finish.  

The Importance of Complying With the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

In California, you generally have three years to file your medical malpractice lawsuit, according to CCP § 340.5

The statutory filing date can start on the date medical negligence occurred or on the date it was discovered. The statute of limitations can be challenging to interpret and comply with as it can take time to pinpoint a medical injury and its cause. 

Establishing Medical Malpractice Before the Statute of Limitations Expires Can Be Challenging 

When a medical malpractice lawyer represents you, they can help you establish a connection between substandard medical care and your compromised health. To do so, they will:

  • Consult medical experts 
  • Examine your medical records
  • Prove a medical error occurred
  • Document your medical injuries

You do not have to manage the details of your case or interpret the statute of limitations on your own. While your legal team builds the strongest possible case for you, you can focus on recovering your health. 

Call (818) 507-8525 for Your Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one suffered a healthcare setback due to a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, our law firm will help you seek financial compensation.

Learn more about defining the elements of your case and your right to financial recovery by contacting KJT Law Group today.

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