Medical Malpractice vs. Medical Negligence: The Difference

We trust our healthcare providers to provide safe and effective treatment. However, they sometimes make mistakes that can cause severe injuries or even death. If you or a loved one are a victim of a medical error, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit or claim.

Medical malpractice and negligence are frequently used interchangeably. But the two terms have slightly different meanings.

Medical negligence is an error or mistake made without the intent to hurt a patient. Conversely, medical malpractice involves a medical practitioner failing to do or doing something with the knowledge that their actions or inaction could cause harm to a patient.

It is important to note that medical negligence and malpractice may cause injury to the patient.

If you or a loved one sustained injuries because of medical errors or intentional actions, you might be able to seek compensation for damages. Contact a seasoned medical malpractice attorney in Atlanta to help you build a strong case.

Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence Claims in Atlanta, GA

According to local state laws, not all adverse outcomes in a medical case amount to medical malpractice. No medical professional can be held liable for unforeseeable complications or factors out of control arising from an operation or treatment.

However, medical professionals can be held accountable for injuries to patients when they fail to provide the correct standard of care.

Proving the Legal Elements of Medical Malpractice

You must prove the following components in court to win a case alleging that you were injured due to medical negligence or malpractice:

  • The medical practitioner owed you a duty of care.
  • The medical practitioner failed to ensure an acceptable standard of care.
  • The breach of duty caused your harm or injury.
  • You incurred damages because of the injury or breach of duty.

Proving that a doctor departed from the appropriate level of care is crucial in a medical malpractice case. Malpractice lawsuits are complex because the accepted level of care varies from one medical field to another.

Medical malpractice lawyers often use medical experts to establish the standard of care for specific situations. These expert witnesses must review the case details and testify about the standard of care. Medical experts must be in the same field as the defendant in malpractice suits.

Both the plaintiff or the injured party and the defendant or the healthcare provider will have medical experts testify as to whether or not the defendant’s actions met, or deviated from, the applicable standard of care.

Your attorney must also prove that your doctor’s conduct directly caused your injury and damages. You might not have a case for medical malpractice if you did not suffer any harm or losses due to the doctor’s actions.

Why You Need an Affidavit from Medical Experts

According to Georgia malpractice laws, you must attach an affidavit from a medical expert when filing a medical malpractice suit. The medical expert certifies that the malpractice claims are supported by sufficient evidence. A court might dismiss your case if you don’t submit an affidavit.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Atlanta, Georgia

In most cases, you only have two years from the date of the malpractice to launch a lawsuit for medical malpractice. However, if you didn’t notice an injury immediately, the two years might start counting down from the day you noticed, or should have detected, the problem.

It is crucial to note that the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case can’t exceed five years from the date of the malpractice.

For example, cases involving foreign objects left inside the body have a deadline of one year from the date of discovering the presence. There may also be some exceptions for minors.

If you believe your healthcare professional caused you harm, you should consult a medical malpractice attorney immediately.

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice

Various types of medical malpractice and negligence can cause patients harm or injury. Medical malpractice claims often entail some of the following situations:

  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Diagnostic errors and delays
  • Injuries at birth
  • Failure to keep equipment clean and the working area sterile
  • Failure to get an informed consent
  • Errors made in the ER

Your Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can help you recover damages caused by medical negligence or malpractice from liable parties, including doctors, hospitals, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and medical staff.

Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice may result in emotional, physical, and financial consequences. Patients who have been injured because of medical malpractice may be entitled to:

  • Cost of medical services or treatment
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of future wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disfigurement and disability or impairments
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Long-term assistance with daily living activities, such as nursing or personal care

The value of the damages is based on the unique facts of your case. Georgia state laws place no cap on compensation for economic damages, allowing you to receive maximum reimbursement for your damages.

Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering were once capped under Georgia law, but the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the cap unconstitutional. So a jury can decide on any sum they see fit for your non-economic losses.

Do I Have a Case of Medical Malpractice?

If you were hurt because of the carelessness of a doctor or other medical professional, you deserve compensation. A family might be eligible for wrongful death compensation if a loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice or negligence.

Identifying cases of medical misconduct and carelessness can be challenging. Consulting with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney in Atlanta is the best action to determine if you have a case.

Consult an Atlanta Medical Negligence Lawyer

Did you or a loved one sustain injuries because of a medical error or negligence? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our law firm.

At Bethune law, our team of dedicated attorneys is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have years of experience seeking justice for our clients through medical malpractice lawsuits.

Call 1-800-INJURED to speak to one of our dedicated team members and book a free consultation to evaluate your case.