Professional malpractice is a form of tort in which a professional fails to perform, neglects to perform, or improperly performs his duties for a client or a number of clients. In order to have a malpractice claim, you must meet the four required elements of negligence. These elements are:
- The professional has a duty to the client
- The professional breached this duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct in that profession
- The professional’s negligent conduct caused harm to the client.
- The client was in fact harmed and suffered damages as a result.
In addition to an unintentional breach of duty, professional malpractice may also be the result of a professional's intentional malfeasance, such as cases of deceit or fraud against the client. Some additional examples of professional malpractice include mismanagement, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, misconduct, carelessness, and errors in judgment. Malpractice claims may be brought against a number of professionals including attorneys, health care providers, accountants, interior designers and architects, even cosmetologists.
The American Bar Association released a survey of the most common legal malpractice claims from 2008-2011. This study found that:
- 20% of claims involved matters in both commercial and residential real estate transactions
- Claims against personal injury attorneys accounted for 15% of all malpractice claims
- Claims based on administrative error accounted for 40% of all malpractice claims against attorneys
- Attorney error (including procrastination in performance and lost evidence, files, or documents) accounted for almost 17% of all malpractice claims.
Likewise in the medical field, it is clear that there are some major areas of medical treatment that can lead to medical malpractice claims. The Health and Hospital Network released the top 10 medical malpractice claims:
- Medication errors
- Diagnosis failures
- Negligent supervision
- Delayed treatment
- Failure to obtain consent
- Lack of proper technical skill or proper credentialing
- Unexpected death
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress
- Lack of communication.
If you believe you have a professional malpractice claim, it is important to keep all records in a safe and organized manner. Once you meet with an attorney, all agreements with the professional must be reviewed and the record of services provided must be examined in order to map out the plan of action for your professional malpractice claim.
If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of Professional Malpractice, contact the malpractice attorneys of Coxwell & Associates today.