Professional malpractice suits are becoming increasingly common as clients begin to learn more about their rights as consumers of the services offered by various professionals. These individuals include doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, clergy, and others who provide specific private and public services. Those who believe they have been victims may wish to seek an experienced professional malpractice attorney.
What is Professional Malpractice?
For each professional service, providers operate based on generally accepted codes of conduct and expectations. Professional malpractice can be defined as any action taken on the part of the professional that is deemed to fall short of these codes of conduct. In short, any action taken that is blatantly contrary to the best interests of the client could be called malpractice.
Often times, clients develop a strong relationship with professionals such as doctors and accountants. If these professionals act in a manner that results in the client becoming worse off or betrays the trust placed in the professional by said client, that professional is guilty of professional malpractice. This can occur either through neglect or deliberate action.
Types of Professional Malpractice
The most common types of malpractice suits filed are medical malpractice suits. These can range from cases of neglect to outright crimes against the patient. Each of professional field contains its own standards for acceptable practices, called the standard of care. The standard of care also helps to outline potential circumstances in which a trusted professional might take action deemed as violating the bond between client and service provider.
Professional malpractice applies to virtually all professions, including but not limited to:
Professional Malpractice Examples
There are numerous examples for professional malpractice. Within the medical field, examples of malpractice could range from recommending a surgery that the patient does not need to ignoring patient history in forming a diagnosis or treatment plan. Legal malpractice could include utilizing privileged information to the detriment of the client or taking on case which presents a conflict of interest for the attorney.
Historic examples in another field such as dentistry may include taking liberties with anesthetized patients or failing to correctly fill a cavity according to dental standards, resulting in pain and possible permanent damage. An example in the profession of construction may be utilizing substandard materials to cut costs.
Potential Warning Signs
There are many possible indicators of malpractice. Warning signs and red flags will vary for each field and service. In the field of medicine, warning signs of malpractice may include worsening symptoms over prolonged periods of time or a refusal of the doctor to answer questions or follow up with a patient.
Other examples of warning signs can be seen in professions such as construction, in which there is a problem with the finished product that has not been addressed. Anything from vague charges to refusal to return phone calls could be considered a warning sign of malpractice. These occurrences should be carefully considered in determining whether or not a service provider is acting within the ethical parameters set forth by his or her profession.
Professional Malpractice Effects
The damage caused by malpractice affect not only individual clients, but the marketplace as a whole. In addition to instilling a distrust of professionals, professional malpractice can cause financial ruin, damage to the body, death, bankruptcy, and other debilitating circumstances that hamper the ability of honest professionals to provide legitimate services to those in need.
What to do as a Victim of Professional Malpractice
There are several options you can take if you feel that you have become a victim of professional malpractice. If you feel uncomfortable or disappointed by the service received, speak with the professional in question and attempt to resolve the issue. If this is not fruitful, you may wish to speak with an attorney who specializes in malpractice law.
Professional malpractice lawyers can provide knowledge and resources regarding your specific circumstances and help you determine whether or not your case is viable in court. There are also several resources online which provide information regarding potential options and case studies in actual instances of malpractice. These resources can be an invaluable source in your decision to seek out damages for potential malpractice.
Bal, B. Sonny. “An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 467.2 (2009): 339-347. Print.
Harris, Catherine T., Ralph Peeples, and Thomas B. Metzloff. “Placing “Standard of Care” in Context: The Impact of Witness Potential and Attorney Reputation in Medical Malpractice Litigation.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies: 467-96. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.
Flannery, F. T. “A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice Litigation, and Patient Compensation.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association (1994): 476. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.