Medical Malpractice Overview


Malpractice is a specific legal term related to lawsuits alleging various different circumstances leading to damage to a patient. Malpractice suits may allege various mistakes made by doctors or other medical professionals, including misdiagnosis, mistreatment, or various types of negligence. Not all errors in medical diagnosis and treatment are necessarily malpractice, because there are certain risks and margins for error that arise inherently in the practice of medicine.

Diseases Associated With Medical Malpractice

The top five diseases that receive monetary awards for malpractice, in terms of dollar value, are breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer (including colon cancer and rectal cancer), heart attack, and appendicitis. Surprisingly, the main allegation is a form of misdiagnosis, either delayed diagnosis or mismanagement of diagnostic testing. Typically, this delay or oversight leads to severe complications and often death. The severity of misdiagnosis of these conditions and the poor outcomes that may result tend to explain why large monetary awards can occur. For more information, see the following articles:

Legal Hurdles for Medical Malpractice Awards

In order to successfully win a medical malpractice award, there are several obstacles to overcome. The first is that the case must be started before the statute of limitations has run out, and this length of time varies by state (and country) and also varies depending on the type of lawsuit or specific allegations.

The second hurdle is to prove malpractice, rather than a medical error or other adverse event that may not be considered negligence or malpractice. Many surgeries, procedures, and drugs have known risks and side effects. Even if you are injured by a medical intervension, it may still be considered to be within the normal or accepted "standard of care" for medical professionals, and thus not be malpractice. In short, some medical errors are considered "normal" for medical care.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a legal term related to when you can file a malpractice suit. It is a time limit that restricts when you can start a lawsuit. The length of the statute of limitations depends on the state (or country) in which you live, or in which you would initiate the lawsuit.


Always consult with your attorney or other legal professional for any legal advice. The information provided on this web site is for general informational purposes, and does not constitute legal advice.

Reference Articles

Full List of Medical Malpractice Articles

The following articles discuss various aspects of medical malpractice, statistics about malpractice, and about certain legal issues in malpractice litigation.


  • Acupuncture and medical malpractice
  • Allopathic physicians and malpractice
  • Anesthesiology and medical malpractice
  • Athletic trainers and medical malpractice
  • Audiologists and medical malpractice


  • Blood products and medical malpractice


  • Cardiology and medical malpractice
  • Causes of medical malpractice lawsuits
  • Chiropractors and medical malpractice
  • Counselling and medical malpractice


  • Dental assistants and medical malpractice
  • Dental hygienists and medical malpractice
  • Dental malpractice
  • Dental malpractice by US state
  • Dental technicians and medical malpractice
  • Denturists and medical malpractice
  • Diagnosis-related medical malpractice
  • Dieticians and medical malpractice
  • Doctor malpractice statistics


  • EMT and medical malpractice
  • Eye doctors and medical malpractice


  • Fetal death and medical malpractice


  • Home health aids and medical malpractice
  • Homeopaths and medical malpractice
  • How large are medical malpractice lawsuit award payments?
  • How often doctors get sued for medical malpractice


  • Intravenous medication and medical malpractice


  • Malpractice and the emergency room
  • Marriage counselling and medical malpractice
  • Massage therapy and medical malpractice
  • Medical administrators and malpractice
  • Medical assistants and medical malpractice
  • Medical equipment and malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice in Alabama
  • Medical Malpractice in Alaska
  • Medical Malpractice in Arizona
  • Medical Malpractice in Arkansas
  • Medical Malpractice in California
  • Medical Malpractice in Colorado
  • Medical Malpractice in Connecticut
  • Medical Malpractice in Delaware
  • Medical Malpractice in District of Colombia
  • Medical Malpractice in Florida
  • Medical Malpractice in Georgia
  • Medical Malpractice in Hawaii
  • Medical Malpractice in Idaho
  • Medical Malpractice in Illinois
  • Medical Malpractice in Indiana
  • Medical Malpractice in Iowa
  • Medical Malpractice in Kansas
  • Medical Malpractice in Kentucky
  • Medical Malpractice in Louisiana
  • Medical Malpractice in Maine
  • Medical Malpractice in Maryland
  • Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts
  • Medical Malpractice in Michigan
  • Medical Malpractice in Minnesota
  • Medical Malpractice in Mississippi
  • Medical Malpractice in Missouri
  • Medical Malpractice in Montana
  • Medical Malpractice in Nebraska
  • Medical Malpractice in Nevada
  • Medical Malpractice in New Hampshire
  • Medical Malpractice in New Jersey
  • Medical Malpractice in New Mexico
  • Medical Malpractice in New York
  • Medical Malpractice in North Carolina
  • Medical Malpractice in North Dakota
  • Medical Malpractice in Ohio
  • Medical Malpractice in Oklahoma
  • Medical Malpractice in Oregon
  • Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
  • Medical Malpractice in Rhode Island
  • Medical Malpractice in South Carolina
  • Medical Malpractice in South Dakota
  • Medical Malpractice in Tennessee
  • Medical Malpractice in Texas
  • Medical Malpractice in Utah
  • Medical Malpractice in Vermont
  • Medical Malpractice in Virginia
  • Medical Malpractice in Washington
  • Medical Malpractice in West Virginia
  • Medical Malpractice in Wisconsin
  • Medical Malpractice in Wyoming
  • Medical malpractice statistics by US state
  • Medical specialties and medical malpractice
  • Medication errors and medical malpractice
  • Mental health and medical malpractice
  • Midwife and medical malpractice
  • Misdiagnosis and medical malpractice
  • Monitoring and medical malpractice
  • Most litigated diseases in medical malpractice


  • Naturopaths and medical malpractice
  • Neurology and medical malpractice
  • Not all medical errors are medical malpractice
  • Nuclear medicine and medical malpractice
  • Nurses and malpractice
  • Nursing malpractice by US state
  • Nursing malpractice statistics


  • Obstetrics and medical malpractice
  • Occupational therapists and medical malpractice
  • Opticians and medical malpractice
  • Optometrists and medical malpractice
  • Orthotics/prosthetics and medical malpractice
  • Osteopathic physicians and malpractice


  • Paramedics and medical malpractice
  • Perfusionists and medical malpractice
  • Pharmacists and medical malpractice
  • Physical therapy and medical malpractice
  • Physician assistants and medical malpractice
  • Physician medical malpractice by US state
  • Physicians and medical malpractice
  • Podiatrists and medical malpractice
  • Procedures in medical malpractice
  • Psychiatrists and medical malpractice
  • Psychologist malpractice statistics
  • Psychologists and medical malpractice


  • Radiation therapy and medical malpractice
  • Rehabilitation therapy and medical malpractice
  • Respiratory therapy and medical malpractice


  • Social worker and medical malpractice
  • Speech therapy and medical malpractice
  • Statistics about medical malpractice cases
  • Stillbirth and medical malpractice
  • Surgery and medical malpractice


  • Technologists and medical malpractice
  • Top five malpractice diseases
  • Treatment-related medical malpractice
  • Types of medical malpractice


  • Vioxx lawsuits

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