Malpractice is the cause of action against a professional for failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or duty which results in an injury, loss, or damage.

Malpractice refers to professional negligence. Because professionals have specific duties and a standard of care to perform for their clients, a failure to meet that standard can result in a malpractice lawsuit against the professional.

Who Can Be Liable for Malpractice?

Malpractice can be brought against any of the following professionals:

  • Doctors or health care professionals for medical malpractice;
  • Lawyers for legal or attorney malpractice;
  • Dentists;
  • Veterinarians;
  • Therapists;
  • Accountants; and
  • Clergy.

How Can I Prove Malpractice?

Malpractice is a type of negligence. In general, to prove negligence, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, defendant breached that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the breach of duty of care was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s damages.

With regard to proving malpractice, the level of proof is different depending on the type of professional who is sued. Typically, malpractice can be proven by demonstrating the following:

  • You were working with a professional that owed you a heightened duty of care, such as any of the professionals listed above.
  • Your professional did not render competent services.
  • As a result of the incompetent professional services, you suffered damages.

Professionals can also commit malpractice by breaching a contract with a client, putting his or her interests before the client, or violating the applicable Professional Ethics rules.

What Kind of Damages Can Be Awarded to a Plaintiff?

The amount and type of damages that can be awarded to a plaintiff depend on the type of malpractice. Notwithstanding, the main category of damages is for compensatory damages. These types of damages compensate the plaintiff for damages injury, or any other loss incurred.

Punitive damages are damages that exceed compensation which are awarded to a plaintiff when the defendant has done something so deplorable.

Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant. Whether punitive damages will be awarded depend on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. However, they are typically only awarded when the defendant’s conduct has been egregious.

Should I Hire an Attorney If I Am Being Sued for Malpractice?

If you have suffered harm from the actions of a professional, you should consult with a qualified malpractice lawyer. Malpractice lawyers often specialize in certain areas of malpractice, from attorney to dental to mental health malpractice. If you believe that you suffered a serious wrong due to malpractice, then contacting a local malpractice lawyer can help analyze the validity of your case and represent you in court.