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How Does Medical Error Differ From Medical Malpractice?

medical malpractice

You can pursue a medical malpractice claim against a medical professional if they negligently injured you. That’s because doctors are responsible for protecting your health and must compensate you when they fail in their duty. To that end, a medical malpractice lawyer can ensure that you get maximum compensation for your hurt.

However, that doesn’t mean that medical practitioners are infallible and can’t make any mistakes. Like us all, doctors and nurses are prone to making honest mistakes now and again. In such cases, you may not be able to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against them successfully. That’s a major distinguishing line between a medical error and malpractice.

For a non-lawyer, it can be difficult to differentiate between both terms. So, we will discuss them in detail in this article. You will also learn why it’s important to have a medical malpractice attorney handle your compensation claims.

What’s a Medical Error?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, medical error is an error of execution or planning. An error of execution happens when a planned action isn’t completed as expected. Meanwhile, an error of planning occurs when the medical practitioners use the wrong approach to achieve a goal.

In simpler terms, medical errors are honest mistakes that medical professionals make when attending to a patient. Unfortunately, these errors may be fatal or cause severe health complications for the patient. Sometimes, though, medical errors are harmless.

Medical errors may include misdiagnosis or discharging a patient wrongly. It may also involve prescribing or administering the wrong medication dosage to a patient. Sometimes, medical errors include surgical mishaps such as forgetting foreign objects in the victim’s body or performing the wrong procedure.

Not all medical errors give rise to medical negligence or malpractice claims. That’s especially if the error were something other medical personnel would have done in similar circumstances.

What Does Medical Malpractice Mean? 

People confuse medical errors and malpractice because they have overlapping elements. Both terms describe situations where a medical personnel’s acts or omission causes some harm to a patient. However, while all medical malpractice consists of medical errors, not all medical errors may lead to a successful negligence claim.

A medical error only becomes medical malpractice when the erring medical practitioner falls short of the required standard of care. That is, the patient must prove the following:

  • The Existence of a Standard of Care 

There is a standard of care a medical practitioner must meet when treating patients. Therefore, the first step to a successful negligence claim is proving that the erring medic owed you such standard of care.

  • Breach of Care 

The erring medical professional’s action must fall short of the standard of care. In addition, the error must be such that other medics wouldn’t have made it in similar situations. That is, the error was due to the doctor’s refusal to use reasonable care and skill in treating the patient.

  • Damages 

After proving a breach of the standard of care, you just prove damages or injuries. There would be no successful negligence claim if you didn’t sustain any injuries from the medical error.

  • A Causal Relationship 

Note that there must be a causal relationship between the medical error and the injury. That is, the injury must be due to the doctor’s mistake; you wouldn’t have sustained them but for the error.

Should I Consult With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney? 

Medical malpractice cases are one of the most complicated and complex personal injury matters in Georgia. That includes the complex paperwork and documentation that you must handle in such claims. Without an experienced Atlanta malpractice lawyer, your chances of a failed claim increase drastically. From carrying out investigations to negotiating settlements and evidence gathering, your attorney will ensure a successful compensation claim.

Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today!

There’s a thin line between medical errors and medical negligence. Most times, only an experienced legal professional can tell the difference between them. So, to ensure that your case merits compensation, you must get a case evaluation from a medical negligence attorney.

At Calvin Smith Law, our injury lawyers are experts in medical malpractice cases. So not only will we assess your case’s chances of success, but we’ll also ensure that you get maximum compensation. We understand the hurt you’re going through, and we aim at making your compensation journey a stress-free one. So, schedule a free case review with us immediately. We’ll be glad to fight for justice on your behalf as soon as possible.

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