Professional negligence is a civil wrong or a breach of a duty of care owed by a professional to their client. Negligence by a professional person is called professional malpractice, and it can result in legal liability to the professional and financial damages to the client. Here, we will explain what professional negligence is, what it is also called, the different types of professional malpractice, examples of professional malpractice, who can be held responsible for professional negligence, when to hire a professional malpractice lawyer, and how to protect yourself from professional negligence.
What is Professional Negligence?
Professional negligence, or malpractice, occurs when a professional person fails to fulfill the duties they owe to their patient or client. This can include failing to provide a service with the necessary skill and care, giving incorrect advice, or failing to act in a timely manner. Professional negligence is a serious matter, as it can lead to financial losses for the patient or client, as well as legal consequences for the professional.
Professional negligence can arise in any profession, including doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, and other professional services providers. The law requires professionals to provide their services with a certain level of skill and care. When they fail to do so, they may be held liable for the harm caused to their patients or clients.
What is Professional Negligence Also Called?
Professional negligence is also called professional malpractice, as it involves a professional person failing to fulfill the duties they owe to their client. Professional malpractice is not limited to any particular profession, as it can occur in any profession where a professional is expected to provide a service with a certain level of skill and care.
What are the Types of Professional Malpractice?
Professional malpractice can occur in a variety of forms. Some of the most common types of professional malpractice include:
- Negligence: When a professional fails to act with reasonable care or skill in providing a service, they may be liable for negligence.
- Breach of fiduciary duty: When a professional fails to act in their client’s best interest, they may be found liable for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Misrepresentation: When a professional provides false or incomplete information in order to induce a client to enter into a contract, they may be found liable for misrepresentation.
- Fraud: When a professional provides false or misleading information in order to induce a client to enter into a contract, they may be found liable for fraud.
Examples of Professional Malpractice
Some examples of professional malpractice include:
- A doctor failing to diagnose a medical condition in a timely manner.
- A doctor performing a procedure in a negligent manner or performing the wrong procedure.
- An architect failing to properly design a building, leading to structural defects.
- An accountant providing false or misleading financial information to a client.
- A lawyer failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
- A financial advisor providing bad investment advice.
- A real estate agent failing to disclose a defect in a property.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Professional Negligence?
The professional person or institution responsible for the professional negligence can be held responsible for the harm caused to the client. Depending on the specifics of the case, the professional may be found liable for negligence, product liability, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation, or fraud.
In addition, professional organizations, such as hospitals, universities, and law firms, can also be held liable for the negligence of their employees or associates. This is known as vicarious liability, and it occurs when an organization is held responsible for the actions of its employees or associates.
When to Hire a Professional Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe you have been a victim of professional negligence, it is important to seek legal advice. A professional malpractice lawyer can review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. Contact Ballenger & Roche to discuss your options.