Frequently Asked Questions: What is Medical Malpractice?

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is Medical Malpractice?

What is medical malpractice? This term is frequently misunderstood and misapplied. I have had juries tell me that malpractice = intent. The doctor must have intended to cause harm to be found “guilty of malpractice.”  NOT TRUE!

Medical malpractice = medical negligence. When a healthcare provider fails to meet accepted standards and makes a medical mistake, this is malpractice.  No different than if anyone else is negligent, they should be held responsible.  No one is being accused of “committing malpractice.” This sounds like a crime when one says the doctor is guilty of malpractice.  NOT TRUE.  A doctor is not guilty and he will not lose his license if a jury finds that his conduct fell below accepted standards of care.

Jurors are frequently led to believe that the proof that must be provided to prove medical negligence must be beyond a reasonable doubt like a criminal case.  NOT TRUE. The law only requires that the doctor’s conduct be proven to be negligent by a preponderance of the evidence meaning “tipping of the scales” in favor of the patient. It is ok to have doubt when it comes to deciding if the doctor was negligent but if the patient proves 51% or greater that the proof favors that the doctor’s conduct that caused injury was negligent the patient should prevail. Jurors need to understand this as many people are deprived of justice because one or more jurors refuse to follow the law and hold the plaintiff and his lawyer to proving the case way beyond the 51% requirement and that is simply not fair.

Medical malpractice or medical negligence may include things such as:

  • Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Emergency room errors
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Hospital errors, nursing errors, nursing home negligence and neglect

What happens when a bad outcome or complication occurs – is this medical malpractice?

When a complication occurs and an operation is unsuccessful, the complication in and of itself is not typically grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If your doctor did everything possible, and followed accepted standards of care, complications that result in unsatisfactory results are generally not considered medical malpractice. However, if your complications were the direct result of a medical error, where the doctor acted or failed to act in a timely manner or the complication was preventable and avoidable had he taken a more reasonable approach, then you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

How do I know if medical malpractice has occurred?

If you suspect medical malpractice has occurred, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. We are patient safety advocates and want to help you get your questions answered so you know and can either have closure or seek justice. Visit us at

Do attorneys take all medical malpractice claims?

No. We spend a lot of time explaining to clients why their outcome, albeit unfortunately, is not worth pursuing. We listen and we try to explain as much as possible given the circumstances. Our firm, like most qualified attorneys will only take a medical malpractice case if there are serious or catastrophic injuries involved. The reason for this is simple: these cases are both difficult to prove as discussed above and extremely expensive. If your injuries are minor and will not have serious consequences, your claim may not be worth pursuing.

What are the fees charged in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

We only get paid if successful.  A contingency fee contract will be signed whereby we will be paid a percentage of the recovery. This means if unsuccessful, you will not owe us anything for our time; and, if successful, we will receive a percentage of your recovery.

People interested in learning more about our firm’s legal services, including medical malpractice in Ohio, may ask questions or send us information about a particular case by phone or email. There is no charge for contacting us regarding your inquiry. A member of our medical-legal team will respond within 24 hours.

By David Kulwicki|2019-03-18T22:03:30+00:00August 27th, 2011|Medical Malpractice|Comments Off on Frequently Asked Questions: What is Medical Malpractice?

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