In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
What Is Professional Malpractice?
In the state of New Hampshire, professional malpractice is defined as any form of malpractice committed by an individual who has established themselves as an expert or professional within a particular field. A professional is defined as an individual who engages in a practice or trade that necessitates stringent qualification by the state of New Hampshire or another certifying authority.
In general, professional malpractice incorporates a breach of duty of care to a patient, which results in their harm or injury. Various types of harm can occur, including mental, emotional, and physical, even financial. There are states that have established limits on the monetary amount of damages that can be sued for in a professional malpractice case.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Professional Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the most common form of professional malpractice, and this is the one that most New Hampshire residents are familiar with; however, professional malpractice can assume a number of different forms. In reality, there are as many different forms of professional malpractice as there are different professions.
Several of the most common forms of professional malpractice are:
§ Real Estate
In essence, whenever an accredited expert or professional is involved, there exists a possibility for professional malpractice. It is also possible for whole organizations and groups to be held liable in professional malpractice cases, like when a hospital is sued for medical malpractice.
What Elements Are Required to Prove Professional Malpractice?
Professional malpractice is generally litigated under the guidelines of the negligence theory. In order to prove negligence in a court of law, the following elements must be established and proven:
§ Professional Duty – For a professional, this is the standard of care that is exercised within the specific boundaries of the area of expertise or profession.
§ Breach of Duty – The expert must have acted in such a manner that disregarded or breached the duty of care owed to a patient or client. If the professional ordered another individual to perform the harmful act, then he or she can still be held liable under New Hampshire’s vicarious liability laws.
§ Actual Harm or Injury – The breach of duty must be proven to be the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
§ Proven Losses – The harm or injury must have resulted in actual losses that can be specifically calculated according to recent market value standards.
If any one of these elements cannot be proven in a court of law, then a professional cannot be held legally accountable for professional malpractice. For example, even if the expert breached their professional duty of care, if it did not result in actual, measurable harm or injury, then they cannot be sued for medical malpractice.
What Standard of Care Do Professionals Have to Follow?
The primary difference between professional malpractice claims and other forms of personal injury negligence suits can be found in the aforementioned “duty of care”. In most standard negligence cases, the duty of care is same as that of a “reasonable persona standard”. This standard states that an ordinary individual who is not a professional must act in accordance with the manner that a reasonable individual would under the circumstances.
However, when it comes to professional malpractice lawsuits, the duty of care is the professional standard that is usually applied to the professional’s area of practice. This establishes a higher standard of care than that of the reasonable person standard.
For example, a lawyer would be held to the professional standards of care that is applied to all practicing attorneys. Naturally, a lawyer would not be held to the same standard of care applied to a different profession, such as an accountant.
Moreover, if a professional is a certified specialist or expert in a specific subspecialty, they can expect to be held to the professional standards of care of that specific area of specialty. This could potentially involve a more specific standard of care. For example, a plastic surgeon is classified as a specific form of medical doctor; therefore, he or she can expect to be held to the professional standard of care for plastic surgeons, instead of those for general practitioners.
When to Hire a New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyer
In the state of New Hampshire, the laws that govern professional malpractice claims are complex. This is due to the fact that different professions have different established standards of care that are specific to each profession. If you believe that you have a valid claim for a professional malpractice claim, then you need to have an experienced and skilled legal representation fighting on your behalf. To set up a free consultation to speak with one of our NH personal injury lawyers, contact our law firm today.
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This site does not constitute legal advice. An attorney client relationship is formed only after an agreement is entered into between an Attorney of Liberty Legal and a client is reached. Past results do not guarantee future results.
Disclaimer: Some cases are referred to other law firms with consent of client.
Liberty Legal Services PLLC. Main office: 250 Commercial St #3020 Manchester NH 03101. (603) 262-3196