Malpractice is an act or continuing conduct of a professional which does not meet the standard of professional competence and results in provable damages to his/her client or patient. Such an error or omission may be through negligence, ignorance, or intentional wrongdoing. However, malpractice does not include the exercise of professional judgment even when the results are detrimental to the client or patient.
In cases of extremely obvious or intentional wrongs; in order to prove malpractice, there must be a testimony of an expert as to the acceptable standard of care applied to the specific act or conduct. The defendant then can produce his/her own expert to counter that testimony.
Professions who are subject to lawsuits based on claims of malpractice include lawyers, physicians, dentists, hospitals, accountants, architects, engineers, and real estate brokers. In order to file an action for malpractice against a medical caregiver, there must be a written demand or notice which gives the physician/hospital a chance to settle the matter before a suit is filed.
In actions against attorneys, it is mandatory that the plaintiff prove that the error, if any, caused damages. This means that a lawsuit, claim or negotiation the attorney was handling would have resulted in a win or better recovery except for the malpractice. Thus, there is a requirement of proving the original “case within the case” during the trial of the malpractice claim.
Contrary to public perception, substantial judgments in malpractice actions are rare. Studies have shown that only a small percentage of the claims result in recovery for the allegedly aggrieved client or patient. The principal reason is that most cries of malpractice are unfounded and are based on unhappiness with the result of the original services. A breakdown in communication between an attorney, doctor, client or patient can sometimes be retaliation for attempts to collect unpaid fees or greed.
You can trust The Ferguson Firm to represent you to the highest standards in your malpractice case.