What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence and medical malpractice have different definitions, but both can lead to injuries that may alter your life. If you have experienced an injury caused by a medical provider, a medical procedure, or a medical device in Florida, contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. 

Medical malpractice includes injuries and further illness caused by the failure to diagnose and incorrect diagnosis as well as medical professionals failing to follow standards of care.  

As a Florida personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping Florida residents throughout the state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence. 

Negligence vs. malpractice

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider makes a mistake that accidentally causes harm. An example might be accidentally nicking a blood vessel or nerve during routine surgery, misdiagnosing, or misreading test results. Healthcare providers are human and are not expected to never make mistakes. The question that comes into play is whether such a mistake is reasonable or could have been avoided. 

Medical malpractice is a more serious charge; it occurs when a healthcare provider acts in an intentionally reckless manner. The medical provider knew or should have known better, and a competent medical provider would have behaved differently. This may include performing a procedure without ordering appropriate tests first, ordering the tests but not reading the results, or performing a procedure improperly or without proper training. 

Medical facilities may also be held liable, for instance, by not having proper procedures to prevent medical mistakes or not properly vetting a medical professional to ensure he or she is of the highest quality. 

Proving medical negligence

A case of negligence may not be malpractice, but malpractice is, one might say, severe negligence. In any personal injury case, negligence must be legally demonstrated, using the “4Ds” – duty, dereliction of duty, direct or proximate cause, and damage. For medical cases, it applies as follows: 

  • Duty: The medical provider had the duty to provide care, which is to say that there is an established patient-doctor relationship, not just a casual remark from a medical professional you happen to know.
  • Dereliction of that duty: The physician or medical provider failed to follow standards of acceptable medical practice, such that another competent and prudent medical provider would follow.
  • Direct or proximate cause: The injury can be directly or closely connected to medical negligence.
  • Damages: There is a clear injury for which the patient can seek compensation

A personal injury suit can be for medical negligence or medical malpractice, but you cannot seek compensation if you cannot demonstrate injury. If your doctor misdiagnosed you but you experienced no harm that can be demonstrated in court, you do not have a case. However, check with a malpractice attorney about your case before making the final decision. 

Types of medical negligence

Medical negligence can come in many forms, including:

  • Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis
  • Prescribing or administering the incorrect medication or amount of medication, including anesthesia during an operation
  • Filling a properly prescribed medication incorrectly (pharmacy)
  • Not considering contra-indications – other existing conditions, other medications being taken, performing surgery when the patient had recently eaten, etc.
  • Avoidable harm from medical procedures
  •  Prescribing, using, or administering faulty or incorrect medical devices
  • Post-surgical problems that could have been avoided – infections, complications, injury to other body parts
  • Lack of informed consent, or not fully explaining risks or side effects
  • Performing unnecessary procedures or other medical treatments in order to make more money, improve prestige, enhance career, improve hospital numbers, bill insurers for more money, etc.
  • Not following well-defined procedures or protocols
  • Negligence during the delivery of a child

Doctors and nurses are the healthcare professionals that usually come to mind when we think of medical negligence or malpractice, but there are other medical or healthcare personnel who can be held accountable for injury: chiropractors, dentists, therapists, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, mental health providers, and any hospital or medical center may be involved in an act of medical negligence or malpractice. 

What you can be compensated for

Like many other personal injury cases, you can sue for any of the following situations that apply:

  • Medical costs, current and future
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other expenses caused by the accident, such as necessary changes to your home to accommodate your injuries
  • Loss of companionship in the case of serious permanent injury or death 

Don’t wait to get help if you have been harmed by a healthcare professional. As a lifelong Florida resident and an experienced attorney, I am committed to “fighting for the little guy.” Injured people need an advocate who knows how to win justice against big business, insurance companies, and medical institutions, and I have a track record of winning significant settlements and court cases. Contact me at (954) 448-7288, 24/7 for a free consultation to see how I can help you.

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