Distinguishing medical from legal malpractice

When you hear the word "malpractice," you likely immediately assume it mean an accusation made against a doctor or hospital. Perhaps this is why so many in Jacksonville are confused when our team here at St. Denis & Davey asks what type of malpractice are they referring to. The word itself is a compound of the two Latin derivative words "mal" (meaning bad or poor) and "practice" (meaning practical application). In that context, malpractice can refer to poor dealings or professional practices in almost any industry.

In the legal world, malpractice claims are generally grouped into two categories: medical or legal. While both refer to errors or bad faith dealings on the part of a professional practitioner, each has its own elements that need to be proven in order to show that a claimant is justified in pursuing action.

According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, you have to prove three things in order to warrant a medical malpractice claim. The first is that your doctor violated a standard of care (the procedural rules and regulations widely accepted in his or her field). Next, you must show that his or her negligence in violating the standard of care led to you experiencing an injury, and that said injury resulted in significant damages. 

However, to bring a legal malpractice claim against a practitioner, you must establish the following three elements: 

  • The practitioner violated his or her industry's standard of conduct
  • That violation produced a negative legal outcome
  • The violation resulted in significant financial losses

In either case, having the assistance of an industry insider is vital to proving your claim of negligence. More information on the different types of malpractice can be found by continuing to explore our site. 

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