Supposing you got hurt, your neighbors' dog bit you, or you slip and fell at your job and broke your arm. You need to recover the costs associated with your medical care and lost wages because you'll miss work for a couple of days or maybe more. In this situation, you may think you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to make a claim against the person responsible for your injuries or the insurer. Now let's imagine that your doctor didn't use the right medical procedure or device when you were getting medical care for your injuries, and they made the injury worse. So much worse than you need extensive medical care like surgery or you have to stay in a hospital for an extended period. Or worse, you got an infection, and you got your arm amputated.
In this case, you need to make a claim against the doctor and hospital that treated you. And this implies working with a lawyer specialized in medical malpractice because not all personal injury lawyers handle these cases.
Most people think that when you experience a physical or emotional injury due to someone else's lack of care, the case falls under personal injury law. But when the medical condition is the direct result of a physician, you need to work with a specialized lawyer.
All malpractice lawyers are indeed personal injury lawyers because it's a subdivision of personal injury, but not all personal injury experts are malpractice lawyers.
Medical malpractice is a subcategory of personal injury
Personal injury law, including medical malpractice, serves to correct a civil wrong, you experience without your fault. But medical malpractice is a particular subdivision of the category, and it's more complicated than any other subcategory. For an injury lawyer is common to handle accident and slip and fall cases, but medical malpractice cases are unique and require more thoughtful handling. Medical malpractice lawyers are meticulous when they pick the cases they take because they want to make sure they dedicate their clients the attention they need according to the medical negligence they experienced.
Do medical malpractice and personal injury claims have anything in common?
Medical malpractice is a subdivision of personal injury law, and therefore it's related to it. The following lines highlight the similarities between the two.
- Injured parties – both serve people seeking justice through the civil court system after they experienced medical problems because of another individual's actions or inactions.
- Civil tort law – they both fall under the civil law and torts area of practice
- Monetary compensation – people injured because of negligence are looking for monetary compensation for economic and non-economic damages they suffered
- Non-economic damages – injury claims can provide monetary compensation for non-economic damages when people experience pain and suffering because of some else's carelessness.
But as you can expect, personal injury claims cover multiple areas while medical malpractice claims exclusively handle injuries related to hospital and medical care. It's always best to hire an expert who has dealt with similar cases in the past.