Not all injuries that occur in a hospital are results of medical malpractice. This is an important distinction because the proof burden imposed on plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits is substantially higher than for those asserting general negligence. That’s why when a dispute arises as to whether a particular case is medical malpractice as opposed to general negligence, defendants will almost always argue that it’s medical malpractice because those claims are held to a higher standard, so they are tougher to prove.
While this may seem a pretty straightforward matter to clear up, it can actually be quite nuanced, depending on the circumstances. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced injury attorney working for you. A failure to file a medical malpractice claim properly could result in a summary judgment or dismissal in favor of the defense, and depending on the timeline, it could mean your chance to bring any claim at all has passed.
In the recent case of Gause v. New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the question of whether it was medical malpractice or general negligence was before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The plaintiff in the case is the daughter of a patient who was injured in a fall during an x-ray exam and later died as a result of those injuries. She filed a claim for damages by asserting ordinary negligence. However, the defendant argued this was actually a medical malpractice case.