What is Medical Negligence? Legal Meaning, Definition & Examples

What is Medical Negligence? Legal Meaning, Definition & Examples

What is Medical Negligence? Legal Meaning, Definition & Examples

Medical negligence is a critical aspect of the healthcare industry, involving legal implications when a healthcare professional's actions lead to substandard patient care. Understanding the concept of medical negligence, its legal implications, and examples of such cases is vital for both medical professionals and patients alike.

Defining Medical Negligence

Medical negligence, often referred to as medical malpractice, occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care expected within their profession, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. At its core, medical negligence signifies the failure of healthcare providers to meet their duty of care towards patients. This breach of duty can be the basis for a legal claim seeking compensation for the victim. 


At Linden Law, we have expert medical malpractice lawyers who will assist you in evaluating your case and in collecting all the evidence that you will need to prove your case. 

Key Elements of Medical Negligence

To establish a case of medical negligence, certain elements need to be present:


  • Duty of Care: The healthcare provider must owe a duty of care to the patient. This implies that there's a professional relationship where the provider is expected to provide reasonable care.

  • Breach of Duty: The provider must have breached the established standard of care. This breach is often determined by comparing the doctor's actions to what a reasonably skilled and careful professional would have done under similar circumstances.

  • Causation: The breach of duty must be the direct cause of the patient's injury or harm. If the injury would have occurred regardless of the doctor's actions, causation may be difficult to prove.

  • Damages: The patient must have suffered damages as a result of the provider's breach of duty. These damages can be physical, emotional, or financial in nature.

Examples of Medical Negligence

Instances of medical negligence can take various forms:


  • Surgical Errors: Performing the wrong surgery, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving foreign objects inside a patient's body post-surgery.

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: Failing to diagnose a condition accurately or in a timely manner, leading to worsened health outcomes.

  • Medication Mistakes: Prescribing incorrect medications, incorrect dosages, or medications that interact negatively with the patient's existing drugs.

  • Birth Injuries: Injuries sustained by a newborn or mother during childbirth due to medical negligence.

  • Anesthesia Errors: Administering incorrect doses of anesthesia or failing to monitor a patient's vital signs during a procedure.

Legal Actions and Compensation

Victims of medical negligence have the right to seek legal recourse. Consulting a medical malpractice attorney is crucial for understanding the legal process, gathering evidence, and building a strong case.


Remember that you only have two and a half years in New York to file a personal injury complaint due to medical malpractice, and that the clock starts ticking from the moment that you have suffered the injury. 


Medical negligence compensation sought may include:


  • Medical Expenses: Costs associated with additional treatments, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.

  • Lost Income: If the victim is unable to work due to the injury, compensation for lost wages may be sought.

  • Pain and Suffering: Physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life can lead to compensation.

  • Wrongful Death: In cases where medical negligence results in death, surviving family members may pursue compensation.

How to Start a Medical Negligence Claim and Prove It?

Recognizing one's rights and seeking justice is essential for victims. But remember that legal expenses can be very costly and you may walk away with less cash in your pocket if you don’t have sufficient evidence. So if you or a loved one has suffered due to medical negligence, proceed with these steps:


Step 1. Talk to your doctor

Your initial step should involve a candid conversation with your doctor, exploring potential remedies for the situation. If your doctor is open to rectifying any errors without additional charges, the need for legal action might be circumvented, unless the consequences of the malpractice have incurred substantial costs. Whenever feasible, nurturing your rapport with the doctor by providing an opportunity for rectification before considering legal recourse can be a wise approach.


Step 2. Consult a New York medical negligence attorney

If your discussion with the doctor yields no resolution and they are unwilling to correct the errors, the next prudent step is to seek advice from a qualified medical negligence lawyer. A specialized lawyer from Linden Law can evaluate your case and guide you through legal proceedings. With our help, you can seek the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve for the harm caused due to clinical malpractice.


Step 3. Gather Evidence

Gather and organize all relevant medical records, prescriptions, bills, and correspondence related to the treatment with your lawyer. This documentation will serve as crucial evidence in your case. 


Step 4. File a Complaint

In New York, filing a complaint is a necessary step before initiating a lawsuit against a municipality, such as a public hospital. Your attorney will help prepare and file this document within the required timeframe.


Step 5. Calculate Damages

Work with your lawyer to assess the extent of damages you've suffered. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and long-term effects on your quality of life.


Step 6. Stay Informed


Your lawyer will engage in negotiations with the responsible party's legal team or insurance company. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, they will proceed to litigation, preparing your case for court. Throughout the legal process, stay informed about the progress of your case. Your medical malpractice lawyer will provide updates and guide you on any decisions that need to be made.


Talk to Linden Law Lawyers Today

Medical negligence is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences for both patients and medical professionals. Understanding its legal implications, elements, examples, and the importance of seeking proper compensation is essential in ensuring a fair and just healthcare system for everyone involved. If you suspect your doctor's negligence and have obtained supporting evidence from another medical professional, seeking guidance from a seasoned personal injury attorney is the next step. 


Acting promptly is paramount, so reaching out to a specialized lawyer without delay is recommended. At Linden Law, our accomplished team of lawyers is prepared to assess your case and diligently gather the evidence necessary to substantiate your claims. If you've endured harm due to medical malpractice, contact Linden Law for insights and assistance from a skilled and dedicated medical malpractice attorney.


How do you prove medical negligence?

Proving medical negligence generally requires demonstrating the existence of a doctor-patient relationship,  a medical professional's breach of the standard of care, a direct link between the breach and the patient's injuries and actual damages resulting from the negligence.


How does medical malpractice differ from negligence?

In short, all medical malpractice cases are instances of negligence, but not all negligence cases are medical malpractice. Negligence refers to any failure to exercise reasonable care resulting in harm. Medical malpractice involves healthcare professionals failing to meet the standard of care expected in their field, causing harm to patients. 


What is the average payout for medical negligence in New york

Medical malpractice payouts can range from relatively small amounts to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances. It can vary widely based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the cost of medical care, the impact on the patient's life, and the specific details of the case. 


Who pays the compensation for medical malpractice?

The compensation is usually paid by the liable party's malpractice insurance. Medical professionals and healthcare institutions typically carry malpractice insurance to cover potential claims. If a settlement or verdict is reached, the insurance company would be responsible for paying the awarded compensation.


Do you think you might be the victim of medical malpractice? If so, Linden Law can help. We have years of experience helping people just like you who have suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice. Contact our office today to schedule a review of your case. Remember that time is of the essence, so taking action now is important. Our legal team is ready to assist you by assessing your legal options for recovering compensation for your injury.

Categories: All, Linden Law, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury

(212) 804-8440