What is Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice?

Posted by Morgan Cartwright | Nov 09, 2020

What is Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence is a term that often is used synonymously with medical malpractice. Both of these are legal terms, but each has subtle differences. Medical negligence refers to the fault of a medical provider for failing to act within the accepted standard of care of their profession. Medical malpractice generally refers to when the negligence causes an injury to the patient.

What is Medical Negligence?

The standard of care comes from the professional standards established over many years in the profession. Similarly, financial planners, lawyers, and other professionals have standards they must adhere to. When someone fails to adhere to the professional standards, that could be seen as negligence. In many circumstances, to prove that there was medical negligence, there must be a professional from the same profession as the potentially negligent person or entity to opine on the standards. Therefore, when a medical provider fails to adhere to the standards of that profession, we get the term medical negligence.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is used to describe when the medical negligence causes an injury to a patient. In this way medical malpractice generally refers to the entire lawsuit, including negligence, causation, and damages. Just because there may be medical negligence does not necessarily mean that the patient was harmed. Medical providers may be negligent in performing tasks but there is no harm to the patient. When they are negligent and it does harm the patient, we get the term medical malpractice.

Common Usage of Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice 

Since medical negligence and medical malpractice have a legal background, you will most commonly find them referred to by lawyers. Lawyers use these terms to describe the area of law that they practice. They may also be used by insurance companies to offer medical malpractice insurance, or by medical professionals to establish standards of limit medical malpractice occurrences.

About the Author

Morgan Cartwright

Managing Attorney at Washington Personal Injury Law


Washington Personal Injury Law is committed to answering your questions about vehicular accidents, government liability (road design), construction site accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, assault & battery, and wrongful death matters in Washington.

I offer a free consultation and I’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.