Start My Answer

Medical Malpractice — Definition

Chloe Meltzer | August 17, 2022

Medical malpractice is like ^^

Summary: Medical malpractice occurs when a health professional does not perform medical care that matches the accepted standard of care and is usually due to negligence. Here is SoloSuit's guide to medical malpractice, examples, and potential forms of compensation.

Medical malpractice is an illegal and punishable act that occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional is negligent. Because of this negligence or omission, the result is injury or death to a patient. In many cases, negligence is the result of an error, typically in the diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare of a health condition.

In this article, we will break down the characteristics that constitute medical malpractice, examples of medical malpractice, and compensation that may be granted to victims of medical malpractice.

Let's get right to it.

Characteristics of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is governed under a specific law; because of this, the medical malpractice claim must have the following characteristics:

  • The medical practice does not meet the required standard of care.
  • The medical practice causes injury due to negligence.
  • The injury resulted in significant damages.

Now, let's take a closer look at each of these characteristics.

The medical practice does not meet the required standard of care

The law that governs medical malpractice suits states that there are certain medical standards recognized as acceptable medical treatment. These standards must be upheld by health care professionals, and sometimes the standard of care varies depending on the type of treatment setting involved or even the state in which the treatment takes place. This is referred to as the “standard of care.”

Essentially, this is how patients know that health care professionals will deliver the same level of care, regardless of who they obtain care from. One way to measure the standard of care is to ask if another health care professional would have performed the same treatment under identical, or similar, circumstances. If this standard of care has not been met, then negligence may be established.

The medical practice causes injury due to negligence

One of the most common forms of medical malpractice is due to injury. Injury usually validates a claim because it can be difficult to prove that a health care professional simply violated the standard of care without an injury to serve as proof. In order for the claim to be valid, the injury must have occurred specifically due to the actions of the health care professional, and due to their negligence.

There is a difference between a bad outcome of surgery and negligence. In order for the case to be considered malpractice, the patient has to be able to prove that the injury was due to negligence. Otherwise, there is no case. As a reminder, medical negligence is the act or omission (failure to act) of a medical professional that deviates from the established standard of care.

The injury resulted in significant damages

Medical malpractice lawsuits are not something that is taken lightly. They are very expensive to litigate and often require a large number of witness interviews. This means the case will require the testimony of many medical experts and many hours of deposition testimony. This is the main way that the case can be proved, but experts must show that damages resulted due to negligence.

In some cases, the damages may be too small, and pursuing the case is pointless because the cost may not be as much as the cost of litigation. This is why you must show that the negligence resulted in either disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering, hardship, mental or emotional distress, or significant medical bills.

Examples of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice can be found in various forms. As long as it is the result of negligence and it leads to injury, it is considered medical malpractice. Examples include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Surgical errors
  • Surgery on the wrong part of the body
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Poor follow-up
  • Improper aftercare
  • Premature discharge
  • Not taking into account the patient's history
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Failure to recognize symptoms
  • Not ordering proper tests

Understand if you have a case of medical malpractice

It can be difficult to know whether or not you have a medical malpractice case. For example, in the event that one of your limbs was amputated, but it was the wrong one, or if a procedure was performed on the wrong patient, these would be pretty obvious negligence cases. In other situations, a patient may not recognize the malpractice. This can be due to an injury showing itself later or medical providers not explaining the mistakes they made.

Forms of compensation

Medical injuries not only impact your life at the moment but can continue to affect your life until you eventually die. This can impact you financially, but also emotionally. Because of this, you need to investigate all the ways that your injury affects your life. Consider how it hurt you in the past, present, and how it will continue in the future.

You must then consider the value of your damages. This may be economic, but it can also be in pain and suffering. You should then outline them all, and present them to the insurance provider of whoever you are bringing the suit against. Usually, they will consider this and attempt to settle. However, if you cannot agree on an amount, you may end up filing a lawsuit and going to court.

Compensation can come in the following forms:

  • Medical expenses: If you have very high medical bills, you may seek compensation to help cover the costs. These costs might include doctor visits, therapy, prescription drugs, corrective surgery, and any general future medical expenses.
  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering usually refers to the emotional stress that an injury can cause, rather than physical pain. This is sometimes due to debt from hospital bills, anxiety, or depression.
  • Loss of consortium: In many cases, this is due to wrongful death, but it can be other things as well. For example, loss of consortium can include a loss of family benefits, such as sexual relations, companionship, affection, and comfort. Essentially any loss due to negligence that caused a death.
  • Loss of wages or future earnings: When severe injuries occur it cannot only stop the flow of current income but prevent you from working in the future. If this is what happened to you due to negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, including damages for your future earning potential.

The statute of limitations

There are some states that impose time limits for how long you can make a claim. This is called the statute of limitations. Unfortunately, if signs of an injury present themselves, and you report it but do not bring up a case, then you may lose your chance. However, the statute of limitations clock will begin on the date the patient discovered their injury or illness. This means if you realize you have a possible case, you should bring it to litigation as quickly as possible.

The statute of limitations on medical malpractice may be different, depending on which state you live in and in which state the malpractice occurred.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice

If you believe that you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice, then you need to consult an attorney. Whether this resulted in serious injury or death, you may be able to obtain compensation for the damages caused.

Respond to a civil lawsuit

You might not be a victim of medical malpractice, but that doesn't mean you are staying out of court. If you're being sued for debt, the first step to winning your case is to respond with a written Answer. SoloSuit can help you draft your Answer in just 15 minutes.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


We have answers.
Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.


Ask a Question


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.



Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.


Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court