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What is the difference between negligence and malpractice?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

In a personal injury lawsuit, the terms negligence and malpractice often appear to be used interchangeably. This may lead California individuals involved in such a legal proceeding to wonder about the difference between these terms. Here is some general information about these two words that can help people better understand what is being discussed with regard to a legal case. 

The definition of negligence 

Negligence is a general term that may apply to several different types of lawsuits. Negligence is the failure to act as a “reasonably prudent” person might exercise care. Negligence does not necessarily mean a person caused harm intentionally, though this is possible in some cases; rather, it simply indicates that someone was careless enough to cause harm.  

The definition of malpractice 

Malpractice is a term that falls under the wider definition of negligence. Often referred to as professional negligence, malpractice is what happens when somebody who is licensed in a skilled field fails to act in alignment with the standards that govern that field. For example, a doctor whose carelessness causes a surgical error could be sued for malpractice. 

In a lawsuit involving negligence, a plaintiff will need to show proof that the person they are suing acted inappropriately in the circumstances. For malpractice cases, professional documentation may be helpful here. Additionally, these cases typically involve seeking restitution for losses due to physical or mental injuries resulting from the defendant’s alleged behavior. Evidence of these injuries and their impact is also important to have on hand in such a trial. Individuals who are considering taking legal action due to negligence or malpractice should speak with a California personal injury lawyer.