Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

Doctor makes a mistake during surgery

Seeking help from a medical professional should address the injury or illness you’re dealing with, and should ultimately make you better. Unfortunately, sometimes patients are injured or see their condition worsen because of substandard healthcare.

You may have heard about “medical malpractice” and “medical negligence” before, but you may not know the difference between these two concepts. If a healthcare provider’s conduct has harmed you, we can help.

Contact Olson Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation to learn more about how our Denver medical negligence lawyers can help you pursue financial compensation for the harm you suffered.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to a legal claim brought against a healthcare provider when that provider’s negligence caused harm or injury to a patient. This umbrella term can describe many situations, so it’s best to contact an attorney if you believe a medical professional’s negligence has harmed you.

Just because a patient experiences an adverse outcome from medical treatment doesn’t automatically mean that medical malpractice has occurred. Instead, the patient’s case must involve some caregiver’s negligence, and the patient must have suffered harm that a court can value in dollars.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence refers to one of the elements of a valid medical malpractice claim. In other words, you can’t have medical malpractice without medical negligence. But just because a healthcare provider commits medical negligence doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve committed medical malpractice.

The treatment decisions and actions that other healthcare providers of similar training and experience would undertake in circumstances identical to your case help define medical negligence. If most doctors in a similar specialty would have prescribed a certain treatment and your doctor failed to do so, the doctor might have been negligent. But if other doctors or medical providers would have acted the same way as the doctor in your case did, then it’s likely no malpractice occurred.

Can I Sue for Negligence or Malpractice If I Wasn’t Injured?

A successful claim for medical malpractice requires proving that you were injured and suffered a loss that could be financially compensated. If your medical provider made a mistake in your care, but you suffered no injury, then you likely have no claim for medical malpractice. It’s a good idea to check with a lawyer if you’re unsure whether you qualify.

Time Limits for Making a Claim

Under Colorado’s statute of limitations, you have only two years from the date you were harmed or discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) that you were harmed by a healthcare provider’s substandard treatment to file a medical malpractice suit. If you file suit after the deadline has passed for your medical malpractice claim, you almost certainly will lose your right to pursue any compensation, regardless of your case’s merits.

How a Lawyer Can Help You

If you’ve been injured or suffered an adverse medical outcome due to medical malpractice, let an attorney from the Olson Personal Injury Lawyers help by:

  • Investigating your case, including recovering and reviewing your medical records and treatment notes
  • Working with medical experts to build a persuasive case that shows how your provider’s treatment was negligent and harmed you
  • Documenting your losses to seek full compensation
  • Filing your claim with the at-fault medical providers’ insurance companies before the deadline
  • Negotiating for an optimal settlement that compensates for related medical expenses, missed work, and other losses
  • Pursuing your claims in court if necessary

If you experienced medical malpractice or negligence, discuss your legal rights and options with a Denver medical malpractice lawyer. Contact the experts at Olson Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation.

Author: Sean Olson

Sean Olson is much more than just a personal injury lawyer. Sean is an advocate who helps those who are injured navigate our complex legal system. And he is a voice for those who are injured and cannot speak for themselves.