Being injured through medical malpractice is traumatizing, to say the least. You are probably furious and confused about how this could have happened when medical professionals are supposed to be so careful whenever they work with a patient. You might even be thinking that the harm you have suffered is so unforgivable that the medical provider must have broken the law somehow. That begs the question: “Is medical malpractice considered a crime?”
No, medical malpractice is not a crime. By definition, medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider’s negligence results in a patient’s injury or worsened health. While acting negligent when treating a patient is inappropriate, it is not strictly a criminal violation, just as accidentally causing a car crash is usually not a crime.
Rather than criminal penalties, a medical provider can be punished for medical malpractice through:
- Civil penalties: As a victim of medical malpractice, you will be relieved to know that you have the power to hold the negligent medical provider or institution liable through a civil claim. You can demand compensation that pays for your economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and permanent disability.
- Board penalties: Medical providers who commit malpractice can be heavily penalized by their administrative medical boards. Penalties can range from paying a fine to losing their license to practice medicine in the state. It is so important to always report medical malpractice incidents to medical boards, even if you don’t think you have a medical malpractice claim to pursue, because you could help protect other patients from similar harm if the board takes that physician’s license away.
In rare cases, a prosecutor might try to bring charges against a doctor, nurse, surgeon, etc. for medical malpractice, though. This can happen if the medical provider has a long history of hurting patients, practices without a license, or intentionally diverts from accepted medical safety standards with the aim of hurting a patient. Again, though, this is very rare because the vast majority of medical malpractice incidents are caused by nothing more than everyday human error. Also, your injury claim won’t be dependent on any criminal charges being brought against the defendant, so the actions of a prosecutor might not be too important for the validity of your case.
Do you have more questions about medical malpractice and what to do if it hurts you? Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C. represents wrongfully injured patients in Texas. Contact us now if you think you need our help.