How to Define Malpractice and Recognize It

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When it comes to finding the definition of malpractice, one must first find out that it is part of tort law, a sub-branch of common law. Tort law, which deals with prejudice, encompasses all cases where a civil wrong has caused someone harm or loss; the main types of tort law cases include medical malpractice and legal malpractice. The first, which is also called medical negligence, occurs when a doctor or physician acts in a way that causes harm to the patient, albeit unwillingly. The second case refers to instances where a lawyer or legal representative mishandles a case and thus brings prejudice to the customers.

Definition of Malpractice Definition of Malpractice picture

In order to define malpractice, we need to know in which instance it occurred, and by whom it was produced. Malpractice is legally presented as being the manifestation of negligence or incompetence on the part of a professional. In most cases, that professional is a lawyer or a doctor, because they deal directly with some of the biggest problems a person can have in life. Being healthy and avoiding problems with the law are major concerns in a human’s life, which is why he relies so much on these two professional to help. But these matters are always complicated, sometimes more than usual, and man is prone to error; no matter how much care you take, out of the hundreds or thousands of cases you treat, a second’s distraction can ruin everything.

Although it is easy to find a definition of malpractice, settling its extent in court is difficult; although they fall into the common law category, medical negligence cases are treated similarly to criminal law cases. Each case is presented by the plaintiff in stages, or elements, which most of the time aim to show what was the physician’s duty, how it was breached, how his/her actions caused damage to the patient and what the damage itself was. Furthermore, quantifying and analyzing that damage is a difficult and complicated process, and if the plaintiff is not able to certify and prove all the elements of the case, then the patient’s claim is not considered apt.

Doctor banging his head realizing a mistake A doctor banging his head realizing a mistake, he forgot isolated on white background

Although patients have their rights, it can be hard to define malpractice and sue a doctor because they are well-protected in these cases as well. Many hospitals nowadays have a team of lawyers meant to protect them in malpractice cases. Complicated interventions, or interventions which take place at the request of the patient – such as plastic surgery – are usually accompanied by contracts, disclaimers and other fine print documents which protect the surgeons. However, if there truly was a case of malpractice, all the fine prints in the world cannot protect someone who acted unprofessionally.

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