How are medical malpractice and medical negligence different? Is there a distinction you should understand before bringing a lawsuit? Do your specific injuries determine if you’ve been harmed by malpractice or negligence? The answer to all these questions is no, because malpractice is a type of negligence. Let’s break things down further.

What Is Negligence?

First, let’s discuss negligence. Negligence is unreasonable conduct that causes harm to another. Texting while driving is unreasonable. If a car crashes into you because the driver was texting and driving, the driver likely committed negligence. If you bring a negligence lawsuit, a jury will decide whether the driver met the “reasonable person standard”—whether the driver acted like a reasonable person would under the same circumstances.

What Is Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is negligence by medical providers. Medical malpractice thus occurs when unreasonable conduct by a healthcare provider harms the patient. For example, if a patient’s leg has to be amputated because doctors and nurses fail to treat the lack of a foot pulse as an emergency, the doctors and nurses probably committed negligence.

If you bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider, the jury will decide whether the provider’s conduct met the profession’s “standard of care.” In other words, the jury will decide whether the provider exercised the care and skill ordinarily employed by healthcare professionals generally under the same circumstances. The standard of care is accepted by medical experts as proper treatment for a certain type of disease or procedure.

The Bell Law Firm represents clients who have suffered death or catastrophic injury in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.