Medical Malpractice vs. Negligence

When your personal injury involves a doctor or health care provider, it's easy to simply assume that medical malpractice and medical negligence are one in the same.

How are Medical Malpractice and Negligence Different?

Despite their similarities, they are two very different types of claims. While understanding the difference may not be important on a surface level, it's crucial that your attorney has a clear understanding of the two compare and contrast with one another. Having an attorney who gets this will help build a solid foundation for your case as both can impact the approach and outcome in a vast way.

With both types of cases, it's important to first know that not every bad result from a medical procedure or situation automatically means malpractice or negligence is to blame. Doctors won't always be able to save a limb, organ, or life — but because of their oath, we can assume that they will always try.

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Medical Malpractice

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:

  1. is aware of the injury,
  2. knows for a fact where it came from, and
  3. 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.

Medical Negligence

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.

Medical Malpractice Attorney Serving DC, Maryland, and Virginia

As you can see, medical malpractice and medical negligence are two different types of cases. Either way, you should be fully compensated for your pain and suffering. I can help you figure out which type of case you have and determine the right strategy for you. I don't collect a fee unless we win, so don't hesitate to call today.