Malpractice & Negligence Claims
When most people think about malpractice, they invariably think of medical malpractice and the negligence of a doctor or hospital in treating themselves or a loved one. And while that certainly constitutes the majority of malpractice cases, professional negligence is not limited to doctors. In fact, any professional that provides a service and does so improperly can be the subject of a professional malpractice claim. That includes accountants, architects, and yes, even lawyers.
Do I Have a Professional Negligence Claim?
The standard for determining whether you have a claim is the same as for any standard negligence claim. Specifically, the professional owed you a duty of care (in the same way a driver on the road owes a duty to other drivers). Once determined that the duty exists, the question is (1) whether the professional breached the standard of care – meaning did they fail to do what they were supposed to do – and then also whether the alleged breach resulted in damages to the plaintiff.
Obviously, to determine whether you actually have a professional negligence claim, you should consult an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in these types of claims so they can help you determine whether or not you have a claim.
Are Professional Negligence Claims Different From “Regular” Negligence Claims?
The only major difference between professional liability claims as opposed to generic negligence claims is that, in the vast majority of cases, the plaintiff will need an expert witness to establish whether the professional breached the standard of care.
For example, in a rear-end car accident, you don’t need an expert witness to establish that a driver owes a duty to other drivers to maintain a safe following distance. But in malpractice cases, the issue is more complex.
If a doctor was conducting a complicated medical procedure and the allegation is she breached the standard of care, a jury would not be able to reach a conclusion on the issue without a subject matter expert testifying and explaining not only what the standard of care required, but also whether the defendant’s action failed to meet that standard.
And to follow up on the point above about having the right attorney representing your interests, any skilled and experienced malpractice attorney will know exactly what type of expert to utilize depending on the nature of the case and the specific breach that is being alleged against the professional.
What Are the Damages?
Damages can vary greatly in professional liability claims. For example, while medical negligence can frequently lead to wrongful death claims, most other forms of professional negligence only result in monetary damages.
In fact, depending on the specific type of malpractice suit or the wrongful acts alleged, you may not even be entitled to pain and suffering or emotional distress damages and may be limited to economic damages like your out of pocket costs, any money lost as a result of the negligence and lost wages.
Who Is the Insurance Claim Filed Against?
Unlike auto or other personal injury cases where claims are made against standard insurance policies, professional negligence claims are filed against the professional liability insurance carriers for the defendant. Most professionals carry general liability insurance for their practice, but they also carry a separate policy for negligence committed in the course of engaging in their jobs. These policies are called E&O policies (short for “Errors and Omissions”) and they protect consumers/clients/patients in such situations.
To provide an example, if you are driving and are hit by an ambulance owned and operated by a specific hospital, your claim would be filed with the general liability insurance company. However, if you are a patient in that same hospital and they breach the standard of care in their treatment of you, your claim would be under the hospital’s E&O policy.
Again, it is important to have the right attorney helping and guiding you through the process to ensure that the claim is filed with the correct insurance company which will help ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries, including your pain and suffering.
What Does This Mean for Me?
Professional malpractice cases can be exceptionally complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Making sure that you have a top-rated and experienced attorney is essential to the success of your claim.
However, it should also be said that while we are experienced at handling many professional negligence claims, at Dubo Law we pride ourselves on making the absolute best decisions for its clients.
If we do not believe we are the best malpractice lawyer for your specific case, we will partner with the best to ensure that your case is handled by the most qualified professional negligence attorney depending on the nature of your claim. For example, a failure to diagnose liver cancer would be very different from a birth injury case.
And the best part is that if we decide that partnering with another attorney is beneficial to your case, there is no additional expense to you! The fee remains exactly the same. That way, you don’t have to worry about making the complicated and stressful decision of which malpractice attorney is best for your case. We evaluate every case and if we do not believe we are the best attorneys to handle it, we will partner with the best to ensure the best outcome possible for your claim.
So if you or a loved one has been the victim of professional negligence and you believe you have a case, call us today at 443-275-6345 and let us fight for you.
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