Malpractice occurs when a person suffers injury due to the negligent act or omission of a health care provider. Common categories of malpractice cases include the failure by a health care provider to follow standard procedures, properly diagnose a condition (for example, failure to diagnose cancer), and to prevent injury at birth. When a lawsuit alleges negligent injury causing death, it is a "wrongful death" case.

A plaintiff may bring a case against a health care provider, such as a doctor, dentist, or nurse. The employer of the health care provider, such as a hospital, may also be sued under the theory of respondeat superior (meaning, "let the master answer"). This theory, which provides for vicarious liability of the health care provider's employer, may be used where the negligent health care provider was, at the relevant time, an employee acting within the scope of employment. Where the health care provider is an independent contractor (not an employee), vicarious liability may still attach, for example, if the plaintiff can show the entity's negligent hiring of the independent contractor proximately caused plaintiff's injury.

Successful plaintiffs in malpractice may recover "compensatory" damages. Such damages are monetary compensation for the pain and suffering (physical and psychological) caused by the injury, and for financial losses, including bills, lost wages, and loss of earning power, if any, caused by the harm. A plaintiff may also be awarded "punitive" damages, which are aimed at punishing and deterring a defendant for wanton or reckless conduct.

Although some federal laws apply to malpractice cases, such as Constitutional limits on the award of damages, the federal government has not enacted any overarching substantive federal law on malpractice.

We specialize in:

  • Dental malpractice
  • Medical malpractice