Find the right lawyer now

What Is Medical Negligence?

Find a Local Personal Injury Lawyer near You

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is defined as the negligent, improper, or unskilled treatment of a patient by a health care professional. This can include negligent care from a nurse, physician, surgeon, pharmacist, dentist or other health care workers. Medical negligence forms the basis for most medical malpractice claims where the victim is claiming injury from medical treatment. 

Examples of medical negligence include: improper administration of medicines; performing the wrong or inappropriate type of surgery; giving improper medical advice; or leaving foreign objects in the patient’s body (such as a sponge or bandage after surgery).

What Is Required to Prove Medical Negligence?

Proving medical negligence is similar to most other forms of negligence.  Generally, the plaintiff needs to prove four elements:

  1. The medical personnel owed them a duty of care.
  2. The duty of care was breached or violated.
  3. The breach was the cause of the person’s injuries or losses.
  4. The losses can be calculated with certainty.

In most medical negligence claims, there can be issues in attempting to define “duty of care.” In most cases, the medical professional is expected to exercise the same standard of care that a professional with similar training and background would use in a similar situation.

This means that nurses may be held to a different standard of care from a surgeon, since they have received very different forms of training. Also, surgeons may be held to different standards of care as surgeons who practice in a different field. While this may seem confusing, standards for medical care are somewhat consistent and can be defined from both medical textbooks as well as industry standards.

What Are Some Remedies for Medical Negligence?

In the majority of medical negligence claims, the legal remedy consists of a monetary damages award paid from the medical company or professional to the plaintiff. This can cover medical expenses, extra hospital costs, and additional medicines. 

One should note that in some states, the amount of damages that the plaintiff can recover can sometimes be limited in a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim. Limits on medical malpractice awards were instituted in order to prevent frivolous claims and requests for unreasonable damage award amounts.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence can sometimes involve very serious injuries or violations. If you need assistance with a medical negligence case, you may wish to contact an attorney right away. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help advise you on your claim, and can assist you in filing with the court. Most medical negligence violations are remedied by monetary damages awards to compensate the victim for their injuries. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 07-05-2018 07:50 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.