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Is There a Difference Between Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice?

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What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Malpractice Cases?

Understanding Medical Negligence and Malpractice

A medical negligence case is the same thing as a “medical malpractice” case. However, most people seem to think that “malpractice” requires some level of evil intent or aggravating circumstances on the part of the medical provider or other professional. In fact, nowadays people seem to use the term “malpractice” in all different areas to describe conduct that is far and away worse than a negligent mistake made by a professional.

The reality is that the phrase “medical malpractice” is not mentioned anywhere in the Ohio Revised Code or the Ohio jury instructions. The Ohio Revised Code actually refers to cases against medical providers for negligence as “medical claims.” The “medical malpractice” phrase seems to have come from lawyers as a term of art to describe medical negligence cases (it is often shortened to “med mal”) but has resulted in an unfortunate misconception among the general public regarding these cases.

Under Ohio law, a physician is negligent if he or she does not act as a reasonably careful doctor under the circumstances. This standard does not require a patient to prove that the doctor intended to cause harm, or the conduct was somehow egregious or reckless. Keep in mind that it would likely be a criminal case and not a civil case if the doctor intended to hurt a patient. Therefore, if you are in a situation where you have questions about medical care that you received, understand that you do not need to prove that the doctor committed “malpractice” against you to prove your claim. You simply need to prove that the care that you received was unreasonable under the circumstances and caused an injury.

These distinctions are why it is important to talk to a medical negligence lawyer if you fear your injury was caused by a healthcare worker's negligence. Do not try to figure out the difference between malpractice and negligence on your own, we have a professional who can help guide your medical negligence case.

If you or a loved one have suffered severe injury as a result of questionable medical care, please feel free to contact the attorneys at Rourke & Blumenthal to discuss.