The key difference between negligence and malpractice is the intent of the doctor or medical professional. If a patient is harmed because the doctor or medical professional failed to perform his or her duties competently, this is medical malpractice. In Washington DC, a patient has three years from the date the malpractice occurred to file a suit. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Because of the Discovery Rule, the three years statute doesn't truly begin until the injured party:
- is aware of the injury,
- knows for a fact where it came from, and
- suspects evidence of wrongdoing by the doctor or medical professional.
For minors, the parent can file until the child turns 21.
There are also no limits on damages if the claim is settled in the victim's favor.
In Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years. Maryland allows five years from the date the malpractice occurred or three years from discovery.
Visit my medical malpractice page for more information about these cases and how I can help with yours.
While malpractice involves intent and injury, negligence can be a mistake and doesn't have to result in an injury. Negligence is important because it holds the doctor or medical professional responsible for not paying attention or following through on standards well enough.
So, how do you know if your case is truly negligent or not? Health care providers have a duty to their clients. If they administer substandard care, then negligence has taken place and you could be compensated.