Consider the following scenario: You trip and fall at the grocery store, which results in a broken leg. You want to get compensated for your health care costs and lost wages. You realize that you would want to consult with a personal injury attorney to assist you with a claim against the supermarket. But in this same situation, you receive medical care from a doctor who uses an incorrect surgical device which makes your injured leg require an additional surgery. While you’re in the hospital, you acquire an infection with the end result being an amputation of your leg. Suddenly, it occurs to you that you might need another type of attorney for your claim against the surgeon. You ask around and realize that you want someone who specializes in medical malpractice. Read on to understand the difference between personal injury and medical malpractice.
Personal Injury vs. Medical Malpractice
By being exposed to solicitations and legal advertising, many people realize that when someone experiences a physical or emotional injury due to another party’s fault, then they could pursue a claim under personal injury law and would seek this type of attorney. However, if that injury is the direct result of a medical professional like a physician, then you would consult with a medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice is a legal specialty under the umbrella of “personal injury law.” Thus, all malpractice lawyers are personal injury lawyers, but not all personal injury lawyers are malpractice lawyers.
Key Distinctions Between Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice
Because medical malpractice is a type of personal injury law, the subject areas are closely related. They are both based on seeking monetary compensation through the civil court system and deal with injuries imposed through the fault of another. However, there are major differences:
- Scope: Personal injury law encompasses many types of claims, including not only medical malpractice, but also personal injury involving vehicle accidents, products liability, and premises liability. Obviously, it’s much wider in scope than medical malpractice which is narrow in its focus on injuries exclusively related to health care.
- Complexity: Although personal injury deals with different issues, the medical malpractice claims are much more complex because they often depend on very intensive medical issues. They often require expert witnesses, who demand costly fees. This makes these cases more expensive to pursue and present more of a risk than many personal injury matters.
- Types of issues in dispute: In a typical personal injury claim, the wrongdoing of the defendant may not be in dispute. However, in many medical malpractice claims, the health care professionals deny that they are at fault at all.
Know the Difference Between Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice? Talk to a Lawyer
Understanding the type of lawyer who meets your needs is critical. Regardless if the recovery of your injury requires a personal injury attorney or a more specialized lawyer for medical malpractice, the lawyers at Walton Law can help you explore whether you have a legitimate claim. Contact us right away for more information on your next steps.