Professional malpractice law governs a wide range of professional service industries. Here, the malpractice law attorneys at AFSL discuss professional malpractice, and what you need to know if you believe you or a loved one have been the victim of professional negligence or wrongdoing.
What is Professional Malpractice?
Professional malpractice is negligence on the part of an expert or authority whom a plaintiff relied on for a service, and whose actions or words caused damages. While medical malpractice is one of the most common forms of professional malpractice, there are many other industries wherein plaintiffs are confronted with wrongdoing: therapists, attorneys, accountants, engineers and various other professional service providers can be held liable for malpractice.
How is Professional Malpractice Established?
In professional malpractice cases, it must be proven that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff to perform a service, failed to take the reasonable steps necessary to adequately execute the role for which they were hired and because of this, caused the plaintiff to suffer physically, mentally or financially. To pursue damages, an attorney must prove that the professional in question exhibited a failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances of the case, or engaged in fraudulent activity that directly impacted the plaintiff.
Testimony of a third-party independent expert if often required to determine the normal standard of care within the defendant’s field. Plaintiff, defendant and witness testimony may then be used to determine whether the standard of care was met in the case of the services rendered by the defendant. If it is successfully argued that they failed to render services that met the normal standard of care, this failure must be proven as the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, meaning that without their breach of duty (failure to implement a normal standard of care), the injuries would not have occurred. If this is found to be the case, the defendant may be found negligent, and the plaintiff can sue for economic and non-economic damages against them.
What are Damages?
Damages fall into two categories: economic, and non-economic. Economic damages are measurable; they include any monetary expenses the plaintiff has had due to the injuries caused by the defendant. Not only does economic damages cover expenses, but also monetary losses, or lost wages. If the plaintiff’s injuries prevent them from working, part of the economic damages will help to cover the wages they would have made if they were healthy.
Non-economic damages aren’t directly measurable, rather they are approximate compensation for the “pain and suffering” an injury causes. Because the jury must quantify the injury, the more severe the injury, the larger the damages. An injury that results in permanent disability or disfigurement, for example, will incur higher non-economic damages than an injury that heals rapidly.
How Can AFSL Help?
AFSL is dedicated to helping those subjected to malpractice and negligence. Our skilled attorneys will work diligently to ensure you or your loved ones receive the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been the victim of any kind of professional malpractice, don’t delay—for more information, or to schedule a consultation, we urge you to contact us today.