It is common for the terms medical malpractice and medical negligence to be used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Medical negligence is one of the required elements in medical malpractice lawsuits. Let’s take a closer look at what medical negligence actually means.

The Definition of Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is usually defined as an act or an omission by any medical professional that deviates from the typically accepted standard of care. It is the key legal concept that many medical malpractice lawsuits are built around in terms of showing legal fault. However, medical negligence alone is not enough to file a claim. In most cases, the negligence must have resulted in harm to the patient for medical malpractice lawsuits to be valid.

Negligence is something that comes into play when trying to determine who is the party at fault in any type of personal injury-related case, including medical malpractice lawsuits. Let’s think about something outside of a medical setting first in order to understand the concept better. A car accident is a great example. In most car accidents, one person is to blame for the accident by being negligent in their duty to drive safely and obey the relevant traffic laws. This makes it clear that they are responsible for the injuries and losses of the other party involved. Some examples of negligence in this situation might include running a red light, exceeding the speed limit, or distracted driving.

A Closer Look at Medical Negligence

Like the drivers in our example above, doctors and other medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients and provide them with the appropriate treatment that meets that standard of care. Examples of medical negligence might include administering the wrong dose of medication, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or improper care during a medical procedure.

As mentioned previously, negligence alone is not enough to consider medical malpractice lawsuits. If a driver runs a red light, but no accident occurs, they are still negligent, but there is no injury to be held accountable. Similarly, if no injury occurs, the doctor or other medical profession may still have acted negligently, but there is no injury and therefore no grounds for medical malpractice. Negligence only becomes malpractice when the patient is injured as a result.



Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice LawBirth Injury LawTrucking Accident LawPersonal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at or call 865-637-3531.

Please reference BV&B’s content disclaimer (located in this channel’s profile description) in regard to this shared content.