What is a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

A medical malpractice lawsuit is filed against a doctor who has been accused of malpractice. This may happen when a patient, or a person acting on behalf of a patient, is injured by a doctor or surgeon. Typically, a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed because a patient thinks his injury occurred due to negligent and sub-standard care.

Sometimes unforeseen situations arise in the course of medical treatment. For example, a patient may bleed excessively during surgery. Such circumstances may not be considered the doctor’s fault unless he failed to perform as expected. A medical malpractice lawsuit is typically filed because the filing party believes a doctor was derelict in his duty rather than as the result of uncontrollable circumstances.

In most places, patients have a right to expect certain standards of care from their doctors. First and foremost, a doctor is supposed to avoid causing additional and unnecessary harm to his patients. This means he is supposed to perform his job while attempting to avoid or minimize additional injuries.


Doctors are expected to have an extensive education that enables them to perform their jobs competently. Besides education, they are supposed to have training that gives them the skill they need to provide care without causing unnecessary harm. They are also supposed to adhere to the standard level of care that is acceptable in their field of medicine. This means a patient should be able to expect a minimal level of care, no matter which doctor is treating him. Doctors are also expected to use their education and training to exercise good judgment in providing medical care.

Problems arise when a patient or person acting on behalf of a patient believes a doctor has not lived up to his medical duty. For example, a patient may accuse a doctor of medical negligence, saying he failed to provide an acceptable level of care. In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, however, a patient and his attorney may have to prove not only that the doctor was negligent, but also that the negligence harmed the patient in some way.

Surgical errors are good examples of issues that may lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, a surgeon may operate on his patient, cutting into the wrong site on the patient’s body. In some cases, even more serious mistakes are made, and doctors operate on the wrong person altogether. Other examples of issues that often lead to medical malpractice lawsuits include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, childbirth trauma, and errors involving anesthesia.



Discuss this Article

Post 1

went in for an appendectomy. I came out got diagnosed with appendicitis again. I found they had left a stump in.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?