The Difference Between Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice

It’s easy to confuse personal injury and medical malpractice. After all, if an injury is caused by someone else, doesn’t that fall under the umbrella of personal injury? The answer is both yes and no. If the injury is directly caused by the mistake of a medical professional, you’re looking at a medical malpractice case. Otherwise, it’s likely personal injury. If you’ve recently been injured and you’re wondering if your case is one of personal injury or medical malpractice, here’s some helpful information.

Personal Injury

Legally, personal injury is defined as injury caused by another party’s failure to use reasonable care. However, the definition of reasonable care is often assessed on a case-by-case basis. Often, injury liability refers to negligent or reckless action, such as a preventable car accident or poorly maintained property grounds.

The most common types of personal injury cases are car accidents, injuries caused by animals, and premises liability cases— such as slipping and falling while on someone else’s property. At its core, personal injury assumes that the injury occurred through no fault of your own. While proving another party’s fault is a difficult task, with the proper legal assistance it can be done.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or other medical entity causes harm to a patient through acts of negligence or omission. The basic standards of defining medical malpractice are a violation of the general standard of care, assessing that an injury occurred as a result of the malpractice in question, and determining whether the injury resulted in significant damages.

When it comes to standards of care, the law provides that there are certain medical standards that the profession as a whole recognizes as acceptable. Legally, a patient has a right to expect that standard when they seek treatment.

However, if a medical professional simply violates the standard of care, that’s not enough to establish a case of medical malpractice. As a patient, you must prove that the violation caused undue injury and that it would not have otherwise occurred if there was no negligence at play. On top of that, you have to show that the injury is the cause of significant damages. These damages are frequently financial hardship, suffering, disability, and unusual pain.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Though personal injury and medical malpractice cases possess a fair share of similarities, the legal professionals involved are very different. For one, the statute of limitations between the two frequently varies. Also, medical malpractice is typically much more difficult to effectively prove and requires numerous expert witnesses.

When it comes to personal injury, general representation is often enough to effectively get the job done. Personal injury cases are fairly wide in scope but are less difficult to navigate. If you’re seeking legal counsel for your case, it’s okay to rely on the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.

Medical malpractice suits are far more complicated in nature, even though they are a type of personal injury case. As a result, you need a dedicated specialist with a proven track record of navigating the complexities of medical malpractice. Don’t rely on a firm that isn’t well-versed in the nuances of cases like yours. Keep in mind that just because you don’t have a positive medical outcome after visiting a hospital or doctor’s office doesn’t mean that you’re the victim of malpractice.

Making Your Case

When it comes to any form of legal recourse, it’s best to be prepared. This rings especially true for both personal injury and medical malpractice suits. Do your research to know which approach is most applicable to your case and find the appropriate legal counsel. If you’re accurately documenting your injuries, expenses, and legal fees, you’re that much more likely to see a successful outcome to your case.

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