6 Medical Malpractice Terms You Need to Know

Medical malpractice cases are the most complex and lengthy legal cases. The following terms will give you a better understanding of what these cases contain. Some terms that you need to know include medical malpractice, medical malpractice expert witness, standard of care, Certificate of Merit, medical errors, negligence, and discovery.

1. Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can be defined as any liability that results from a healthcare provider giving medical services to a patient. Although negligence is the main liability in medical malpractice cases, there are other actions that warrant medical malpractice. These include breach of contract, intentional misconduct, giving out a patient’s confidential information, defamation, lack of or inappropriate informed consent and inability to see foreseeable injuries. A viable medical malpractice claim should contain the following main elements: duty, causation, breach, and damages.

2. Medical Malpractice Expert Witness

A medical malpractice expert witness is tasked with establishing standards of care and determining whether there was negligence in the case as relates to the standard of care. The complexity of medical terms is one reason why a medical expert is needed as a witness. They are able to explain the different medical terms and processes to the judge and jury.

3. Standard of Care

A standard of care forms the basis of an entire medical malpractice case because it is the appropriate degree of healthcare that a reasonable person in the medical field would provide to a patient under the same circumstances in a case. The quality of service provided is compared to the reasonable standard of care. If the provider’s services are not within the reasonable standards of care, then they are charged with negligence.

4. Certificate of Merit

Before your lawyer can file a lawsuit and for it to be accepted by a judge, there has to be a Certificate of Merit. This is a document that confirms that the lawyer consulted with a medical expert on the details of the case and found that negligence is evident. A lawyer’s testimony alone, no matter how much investigation they have done into your legal records, cannot determine that a case of negligence exists because this is not their specialty.

5. Medical Errors and Negligence

A negative outcome after medical treatment does not necessarily amount to negligence. This is because the appropriate standards of care can be applied to a patient and they could still experience a negative outcome. That is, their illness could get worse even after proper treatment has been administered.

6. Discovery

A common term in medical malpractice cases, discovery is used to refer to the process of pre-trial investigations where both parties are allowed to ask each other questions and build up a case in the event that they go to trial.

Whether you want to sue or you are being sued for medical malpractice, it is always important to understand the terms associated with medical malpractice law.