Malpractice Malpractice Lawsuits
Introduction to Malpractice Lawsuits
Malpractice is a special type of tort. A tort is a civil wrong that permits an injured party to sue for compensation for damages caused by the harmful conduct of another person. One common type of tort arises when a driver fails to exercise due care (ordinary care) while operating an automobile and causes an accident that results in injury to others. Malpractice and other torts have these three features in common: they involve a person who has a duty of care toward others, a failure to exercise due care, and an injury or other monetary damages caused by that failure.
Because malpractice cases involve members of a profession, many of the issues that arise are more complex than the issues in other tort cases. When an automobile driver runs a red light or speeds, the driver clearly has created a danger for other people on the highway and will be held liable if the dangerous driving results in an accident. In many malpractice cases, however, it is not as clear what the exercise of due care means. Often there are alternative ways to treat a patient or handle a legal issue. In a malpractice action, an expert in the field may have to testify about whether the conduct of the defendant (the professional) fell below what is expected of a professional in that field. It may also be difficult to establish whether the conduct of the defendant caused the injury to the plaintiff (the party seeking damages). A medical patient’s health may have declined or a client in a lawsuit may have lost a case, regardless of whether the doctor or lawyer actually made an error. The plaintiff in a malpractice case must prove that the injury would not have occurred in the absence of the allegedly improper conduct.” (1)
Notes and References
- Information about Malpractice Lawsuits in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia