What is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?

When someone sees a doctor for medical assistance, the last thing they expect is to leave worse off than when they entered. Unfortunately, this happens far more than we’d like to think, and if you believe that it has happened to you, there is a very good chance that you may qualify for a claim against the liable medical professional. That being said, there are two primary grounds by which you may pursue a claim, those being medical malpractice and medical negligence. Though they are similar, they are not identical, which is why it is critical that you hire an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney who can assess the circumstances of your injury and pick the best strategy for your individual claim. Please continue reading and speak with our firm to learn more about the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence and how we can help you through the claims process ahead. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How are medical malpractice and medical negligence different?

The primary difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence is intent. For example, for a doctor to commit medical malpractice, he or she will have to owe a patient a duty of care and then breach that duty of care by knowingly diverting from the standard course of treatment, thereby harming their patient and causing that patient to incur serious damages as a result. In this case, intent is clearly present, as the doctor made a conscious decision to ignore the traditionally-accepted form of treatment.

That being said, medical negligence is when a doctor does not intend to breach his or her duty of care, however, that doctor makes a mistake and causes his or her patient to sustain significant damages as a result. One example of medical negligence is when a doctor accidentally prescribes the wrong dosage/form of medication to a patient, and that patient suffers harm as a result. While medical malpractice and medical negligence are different from one another, however, you should understand that you can file a claim against a doctor in either scenario.

How long will I have to file a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania?

The statute of limitations is the timeframe in which all those who are wrongly injured have to hold the negligent party liable for their injuries. Since the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the state of Pennsylvania is, generally, two years, you will, generally, have two years from the date of your incident to sue the doctor responsible for your injuries. Our firm is here to help you today–all you have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call.


Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, please contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.

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