Malpractice: Professional NegligenceWhen you hire a professional to provide you with services or care, you expect him to act professionally and competently in providing the assistance you requested. Unfortunately, not all professionals are qualified or provide the level of expertise that you have a right to expect, and you could suffer injuries or financial losses as a result. If you believe a professional you retained did not provide you with the expertise and services required, you may be able to bring a professional negligence action against him to seek compensation for your losses.

What Is Professional Negligence?

Professional negligence is also referred to as malpractice and is a breach of the duty of care between the professional and his client. The duty of care is the level of care that a reasonably prudent professional in that specific field would exercise. The standard of care is designed to protect individuals from harm they could suffer—physical, emotional, and financial—due to the failure to provide proper advice, care, or services. The precise level of care required will vary depending on the profession of the negligent party and the particular industry standard of care and expertise required.

What Are Some Common Types of Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is one of the most common types of professional negligence claims. The negligent party is not always the doctor. Nurses, other medical caregivers, and hospitals can also be liable parties. Common claims of medical malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis. If a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition or improperly diagnoses it as the wrong medical problem, he may be liable for medical malpractice if a competent doctor would have made the correct diagnosis. Sadly, these errors can result in a patient’s illness, such as cancer or heart disease, going untreated—sometimes until the disease has progressed to a stage where it is fatal.
  • Improper treatment. When a doctor fails to provide the correct treatment or administers it incorrectly, this could also lead to medical malpractice.
  • Performing the wrong surgery. In some instances, doctors will perform surgery on a wrong body part or the wrong patient, causing catastrophic results for the person undergoing the surgery.
  • Medication errors. Errors in prescribing or administering medications can result in a patient suffering an allergic reaction or a negative interaction with other drugs. These mistakes are often made when doctors and nurses do not take the time to obtain a complete medication history or do not check the medication or dosage carefully enough before administering it.
  • Failing to warn of risks. Doctors have a duty to warn their patients of the risks and potential side effects of the medical procedure or treatment they are recommending and obtain their patient’s informed consent. Informed consent requires discussing these issues with the patient, not just giving them a standard form to read and sign.

What Other Claims of Professional Negligence Could Entitle You to Compensation?

Other professionals can also be liable for malpractice when they do not provide competent services and advice. Some of these other forms of professional negligence include:

  • Legal malpractice. An attorney can commit malpractice in many ways, such as failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations—or time period—to do so, not properly investigating a case, and failing to attend court hearings on a client’s behalf. Misuse of funds and overbilling could also be considered professional negligence.
  • Pharmacy malpractice. Common errors pharmacists and technicians make include giving the wrong prescription or the wrong dosage, providing incorrect instructions on how to take medications, or placing the wrong label on the medication. This can cause patients to suffer serious reactions to the drugs, other injuries, or death.
  • Accounting malpractice. An accountant can commit malpractice if he fails to abide by the general auditing standards for accountants, fails to conduct a proper audit, or provides incorrect tax or accounting advice. He could also be considered negligent if he commits fraud, such as tax investment or securities fraud.
  • Broker malpractice. Failing to disclose the risks of financial investments, churning (which is the excessive trading of securities to obtain commissions), and self-dealing are a few of the ways that financial brokers commit professional negligence.
  • Engineers and architect malpractice. Engineers and architects can commit malpractice when they make design errors, fail to consider loads and load-bearing capacities, and fail to properly supervise workers on the project.

Contact Our Fairfax Attorneys If You Suspect You Are the Victim of Professional Negligence

If you believe that you are the victim of professional negligence, you need an experienced attorney who knows the standard of care for the professional who caused your injury and is not afraid to pursue your claim—even if it means filing a lawsuit against another attorney or a doctor. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro PC are here to answer your questions, investigate your claim, and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.