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Medical Malpractice vs Medical Negligence in Michigan – What’s the Difference?

Every year, thousands of residents trust all types of medical professionals to provide safe, effective care for a wide array of injuries and illnesses. While the majority of these medical professionals meet their patients’ standards of care and help them overcome their diagnoses, many people also suffer life-changing injuries due to the negligence and malpractice of various medical professionals in the state.

While many people are familiar with the term “medical malpractice,” it is often conflated with medical negligence. If you believe you suffered harm from the actions of any medical professional in the state, you must know the difference between these two terms and what legal procedures you must resolve if you intend to secure compensation for the losses you suffered. A medical malpractice claim or a civil claim for medical negligence can help recover compensation for the losses you suffered.

Defining Medical Malpractice Versus Medical Negligence

Medical malpractice occurs whenever a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, or surgeon fails to meet their patient’s standard of care in any way resulting in harm to the patient. This means the medical professional in question knew the risk they were taking, knew that they were not following established protocols, and did so anyway, harming the patient. For example, a patient displays signs of an illness that has an established standard of care, but the doctor wishes to try an experimental treatment. If they have no medically sound reason to do so, using this experimental treatment and harming their patient would be a clear example of medical malpractice.

Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional makes an honest mistake while administering care to a patient. If the medical professional was following the appropriate standard of care for their patient and accidentally caused harm, this would constitute medical negligence. They would still be liable for the damages inflicted on the victim, but they would be unlikely to face professional consequences.

Medicine is an inherently uncertain field in many ways, and there is a degree of risk with virtually every possible course of treatment. Patients have the right to informed consent, meaning their medical providers must explain all associated risks of a proposed treatment, and the patient has the right to decide whether they accept these risks for the potential benefits that the treatment could provide. If you are unsure whether a recent injury resulted from malpractice or medical negligence, it is crucial that you consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

The right attorney can evaluate the details of your injury and help determine the appropriate route of legal recourse to pursue against the party responsible for harming you. Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC, has cultivated a strong professional reputation as a leading option for personal injury and medical malpractice counsel due to our commitment to client-focused representation. Whatever your case entails, you can trust our firm to help you build a cohesive and effective claim that seeks maximum compensation for your damages.

FAQs About Michigan Medical Malpractice vs Medical Negligence Laws

What Is the Difference Between Ordinary Negligence and Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to meet their patient’s standard of care in a manner resulting in injury. This means they knew the risks of their actions before taking them and harming the patient. Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional makes an honest mistake during treatment and harms a patient. It can be difficult to determine whether an injury resulted from negligence or malpractice, so if you are uncertain about this aspect of your situation, it is vital to consult a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

What Are Examples of Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence can occur in many ways. Any time a medical professional adheres to the appropriate standard of care for their patient and attempts to administer appropriate treatment, they could make an honest mistake that results in patient harm. Accidental injury during IV placement, a surgeon nicking a blood vessel during an invasive procedure, or accidentally dropping a patient while repositioning them in their bed are possible examples of medical negligence.

How Do I Know if I Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim?

To succeed with a medical malpractice claim, you must prove the defendant failed to meet the appropriate standard of care that you required in the situation in question. This will require consultation with a medical professional who holds the same board certifications as the defendant, and this medical professional must provide an affidavit of merit explaining how the defendant’s actions constitute malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney is an invaluable asset for this type of case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you intend to file a medical malpractice suit, you must do so within the statute of limitations or time limit for filing your case. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the state is two years from the date the injury occurred or from the date the victim discovered the injury in question. In the case of the latter, the statute of limitations is six months from the date of discovery.

What Are the Penalties for Medical Malpractice?

If a medical professional is found responsible for malpractice, they can face a host of penalties. Not only could they and/or their employer face liability for the victim’s damages, but they may also face professional penalties such as fines or even loss of their medical license. The severity of their penalties typically depends on the scope of the harm they have done and the overall severity of their actions.

It’s natural to have lots of pressing legal questions in the aftermath of any injury you suffered in a medical setting. Whether you were harmed by medical negligence or medical malpractice, it is crucial to know your rights when it comes to recovering compensation for your losses. The team at Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC, is ready to provide the guidance and support you need in this difficult situation, so contact us now and set up a consultation with our team to learn more about how we can help.


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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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