What Is Medical Negligence?


Medical negligence is a tort law term that describes an act of negligence on the part of a healthcare professional that causes injury. The negligent act may be caused by errors in diagnosis, administration, treatment, or even health monitoring. It can occur in any area of medical practice and can range from simple misdiagnosis to the wrong medication being prescribed.

A personal injury can be caused by a slip and fall incident, a workplace accident, or a car crash. But there are also personal injuries that result from the negligence of a health professional. It’s due to the defendant’s (the doctor or hospital/clinician) fault for neglecting a medical condition or misdiagnosing it. So, when will a medical negligence lawsuit help? This article discusses what medical negligence is and whether it’s worth your time and money to file a medical negligence claim in court.

Understanding Medical Negligence

The term ‘medical negligence’ is frequently used interchangeably with ‘malpractice.’ While medical negligence and malpractice are related, it’s important to keep this in mind: not all instances of medical negligence can be considered malpractice, but all medical malpractice cases are a result of negligence. 

Here are the important things that you should know about medical negligence, especially if the goal is to receive just compensation for a personal injury:

  1. Informed Consent

There’s more information to digest to fully understand how medical negligence happens. Let’s start with informed consent. The principle of informed consent has been around since the inception of the medical profession but it remains one of the major focuses of medical negligence litigation. What is it about?

  • Informed consent generally refers to the willingness of a person to have certain procedures done that they wouldn’t normally have consented to. With informed consent, there must have been some awareness of the risk involved in the procedure and a reasonable opportunity to decline such a procedure. 
  • If this isn’t the case then the defendant can be argued to have merely attempted to go ahead with the procedure knowing that the risk they were taking was excessive or unreasonable.

2. Indirect And Direct Cause

Medical negligence requires that the injury must have resulted either directly or indirectly from the performance of a duty of care by a person or organization.

  • A direct cause of the injury is when the harm was caused directly by the performance of a duty of the doctor or medical professional
  • An indirect cause of the injury is when the harm was caused by the conduct of an organization or an individual which, though having the effect of, or causing the harm itself, did not come close to coming within the ranges of the duty of care.

3. Deadlines And Limitations

If a plaintiff decides to file a medical negligence claim, they must first establish that they have a case. Evidence is needed to help prove negligence on the part of the defendant. Many times, insurance companies will want the plaintiff to present medical records and/or witness testimony to make their medical negligence claims based on these facts. Additionally, the court system will require the plaintiff to show that monetary damages were incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

4. Claims And Litigation

The common elements of medical negligence are that the healthcare professional was negligent in performing his or her duties, the emotional distress caused to the patient, the delay the patient suffered, as well as the financial losses incurred by the patient. 

What happens when you submit a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit for medical negligence?

  • If you submit a personal injury claim for a minor injury from medical negligence, the medical malpractice insurance of the medical professional may provide compensation to alleviate your suffering These personal injury claims often center around you being unable to work for some time because of the injury. If this temporary disability happened due to the actions or inaction of a doctor or other healthcare professional, you may be compensated financially for the damages done. 
  • If a doctor or other type of health care provider doesn’t follow all legal procedures or fail to diagnose a condition correctly, this will may result in a case being filed against them. Commonly, monetary damages are awarded in cases where the plaintiff has been injured as a result of the negligence of another person. The courts will look at the extent of the injury and the resulting damage to the plaintiff to determine if monetary damages should be awarded. If your ability to continue living a quality life was significantly reduced as a result of the injury, the courts may award more than enough to cover all of your living expenses.
  • If you believe you were unfairly compensated for a negligence-related injury, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit against the healthcare professional and the insurance company. You must hire an expert medical negligence attorney to ensure you get the best results for your case.


Medical negligence can occur in any healthcare setting and at any time. A patient may get sick, injured, or have an adverse reaction to a medical procedure. The resulting damage could be anything from an infection, a botched operation, to permanent disability. When negligence occurs, it can be exceptionally harmful to the victim both physically and mentally.

Many different circumstances may lead a plaintiff to file a medical negligence claim. Because these are typically cases that deal with the actions or inaction of medical professionals, a great deal of evidence must be gathered and presented to prove the negligence. The evidence will often include information from several doctors and healthcare providers, all of whom must testify in court to explain what actions they took and what type of results that resulted. If you believe you’re a victim of medical negligence, you should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately so that your options will be presented to you by a knowledgeable professional.