All professionals – including doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and architects – have a duty to serve their clients well. When professionals do not fulfill that duty, they should be held responsible for the losses inflicted upon their patients or clients. At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, our attorneys stand ready to counsel and represent people who have been harmed by professional malpractice.
Professional negligence claims present unique challenges. Emotions run high—the client’s trust has been violated, and the defendant is accused of not living up to the oath of his or her profession. Knowledgeable and experienced attorneys, skilled in clear analysis, communication, and presentation are essential for guiding the client through the process and effectively presenting the case at trial. Professional malpractice attorneys also need to be able to identify and retain experts who have the professional reputation and integrity to criticize another member of their craft.
Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer attorneys’ reputation for success in this area is evidenced by their regular selection as expert witnesses, arbitrators and mediators in complex legal disputes. We have represented clients in professional malpractice claims arising from a variety of issues.
WHAT IS PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE?
Professionals are people who hold themselves out to have an expertise or specialized knowledge in a field. Many types of licensed professionals have special duties of care that they owe to people who hire them. When a professional violates his or her duty of care and causes harm to a patient or client, the professional has engaged in malpractice and can be held liable to pay damages for the harm that he or she caused. Malpractice includes failing to meet the expected standard of care for people in their professions, making harmful errors because of negligence, or engaging in intentional conduct that harms patients or clients. Professional malpractice or negligence is an incompetent, negligent, or wrongful act that causes harm or injury.
Malpractice can occur in multiple professional fields. Some examples of professional malpractice include the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Therapist malpractice
- Attorney malpractice
- Engineering malpractice
- Architect malpractice
The potential for professional negligence exists whenever a licensed professional or expert is involved.
UNDERSTANDING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Medical malpractice is a common type of professional malpractice that can cause serious harm and potentially result in death. It is much more common than many people realize. Medical negligence is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. each year and results in an average of 200,000 deaths annually. When people go to the hospital or their doctors, they do so to try to get better. When the doctors fail to use the expected standard of care and serious harm to the patient results, the doctors can be liable for medical malpractice. Some examples of medical malpractice include the following:
- Wrong patient surgery
- Wrong site surgery
- Dosage errors
- Prescribing drugs that interact with medications the patient is already taking
- Prescribing the wrong medications
- Birth injury
- Failure to treat
- Delayed diagnosis
In some cases, a hospital might be held liable for malpractice either vicariously, where the hospital is responsible for the negligence of healthcare professionals it employs, or directly, where the hospital itself has committed malpractice. Examples of direct hospital malpractice include:
- the failure to use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment
- the failure to select and retain only competent physicians
- the failure to oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls as to patient care
- the failure to formulate, adopt and enforce adequate rules and policies to ensure quality care for the patients
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer have for decades represented people who have suffered severe and permanent injuries, or who have lost a loved one, due to medical malpractice. They understand complex medical issues and work with well-respected medical experts, enabling them to move toward a successful case resolution for their clients.
UNDERSTANDING ATTORNEY MALPRACTICE
Attorneys are expected to follow stringent ethical standards in their work. In legal practice, the client-attorney relationship must be built on trust. When an attorney violates ethical standards or fails to represent a client competently, the attorney may be liable to pay damages for the harm that is caused to his or her client. Legal malpractice damages people’s trust in the law and the reputations of all attorneys. Some examples of attorney malpractice include the following:
- Failing to timely file a complaint within the statute of limitations
- Naming the wrong person or party in a lawsuit
- Representing someone despite a conflict of interest
- Missed deadlines
- Incompetent representation
- Failing to provide proper legal advice
- Breaching the fiduciary duty
Attorneys have a fiduciary relationship with their clients. A breach in fiduciary duty occurs when a lawyer acts in his or her own interest and not in the client’s interest. Attorneys are required to have separate trust accounts to keep their clients’ property, including money that the lawyers have not yet earned or that they have received to settle their clients’ claims. A breach of the fiduciary duty can happen when an attorney mixes his or her own funds with the funds of his or her clients.
To prove legal malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the attorney failed to work in a way that conformed to the standards for attorneys in his or her practice area or to show that he or she violated the ethical standards and duties that he or she owed to a client. The plaintiff must also show that he or she was harmed or that the outcome of his or her case would have been different, but for the attorney’s malpractice.
WHEN DOES MALPRACTICE OCCUR?
A key point to understand is that not every mistake or unfavorable outcome amounts to malpractice. For example, neither doctors nor attorneys can guarantee that their patients or clients will receive a particular outcome. Simply being upset with a doctor or an attorney because of a less-than-favorable outcome is not grounds for a malpractice claim. The malpractice lawyers at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer can review the facts of what happened and explain whether you have valid grounds to file a claim.
PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE
Licensed professionals carry professional malpractice insurance to protect clients and patients who might be harmed if they are negligent. This type of insurance coverage provides a source of recovery for plaintiffs who have suffered harm from professionals. When a lawsuit is filed against a doctor, accountant, attorney, or other professionals, the professional liability insurance company will defend the professional against the claim.
Professional malpractice attorneys
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer represent people who have been harmed by professional malpractice. They work on a contingency fee basis, only collecting a fee, which is a percentage of the damages that their clients recover, upon the successful resolution of the case in a settlement or verdict award.
GET HELP FROM THE RAYNES LAWN HEHMEYER MALPRACTICE LAWYERS
We understand that you rely on professionals to provide services to you that meet or exceed the standard of care. When professionals fail in their duties of care, substantial harm can be suffered by their clients or patients. If you believe that harm was caused by professional malpractice, you should consult with the professional malpractice attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer. Call us today at 800.535.1797 to learn more about your potential claim.
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