Does negligence equal malpractice?

When you hire a skilled, educated professional to handle a specific issue, you put trust in their education, experience and state licensing. For example, when you go to your doctor for a diagnosis of your symptoms, you expect that they will listen, conduct necessary tests and then recommend treatment currently considered appropriate by other physicians in their specialty.

If you have a legal issue, whether you are defending yourself against criminal charges or filing a lawsuit against someone who caused a drunk-driving crash, you depend on your attorney’s competence and knowledge of the law.

You likely paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the services that you received. Unfortunately, not every licensed professional working in medicine or law gives each client or patient their full attention and optimal service. If you believe that a professional was negligent, does that mean you could make a malpractice claim?

Negligence in the courtroom could cost someone money or even their freedom

Legal negligence could take many forms. It could involve an attorney failing to review information and going to court without understanding the case. It might involve not properly researching state codes or legal precedent before giving someone advice.

Attorneys make decisions and provide guidance that will have a direct impact on the success of someone’s criminal defense or the outcome of a civil lawsuit. In cases where it is clear that an attorney’s failings influenced the outcome, their clients could have strong grounds to claim negligence.

Medical negligence can be a life-and-death matter

People entrust their health and even their very survival to the professionals who provide them with medical treatment. You expect that hospital staff would respond quickly to the signs of cardiac arrest in someone monitored for such issues. You would also think that a nurse dispensing medication would take every reasonable precaution against giving someone the wrong medication.

Sadly, medical malpractice, often due to neglect, is a major cause of injury and death in the United States. Medical negligence might include getting distracted while providing medical care, ignoring a patient’s symptoms or even refusing to learn about new treatments or research that would drastically alter the care they provide.

Negligence often leads to a strong malpractice claim

In order to claim malpractice after working with the professional, you need to be able to show that they did not behave in the same way that a reasonable professional from the same field would. If most other physicians would have reached a different diagnosis or provided emergency care to someone in the same situation, their negligence could very well be medical malpractice.

If a lawyer makes major mistakes in court, doesn’t show up, doesn’t file paperwork or doesn’t notify their clients of a looming statute of limitations issue, those behaviors could easily constitute legal malpractice.

Those affected by the poor behavior of professionals can pursue malpractice claims to seek compensation for themselves and to warn others about this professional’s previous shortcomings.

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