What's the difference between medical malpractice and negligence in Texas?


Painter Law Firm's frequently asked question (FAQ) series

December 11, 2018

Medical malpractice means that a doctor or nurse made a mistake or error while providing care to a patient. It’s sometimes describes as violating the standard of care—what the healthcare provider is expected to do under similar circumstances.

Not all medical malpractice is negligence, though. Negligence is medical malpractice where the mistake or error harmed the patient. Under Texas law, a plaintiff files a negligence lawsuit to recover for medical malpractice. To prove a medical negligence case, a plaintiff must prove these elements:

(1) a physician-patient (or healthcare provider-patient) relationship existed

(2) the standard of care that applied under the circumstances—in other words, what should the doctor have done in the situation at issue

(3) the healthcare provider didn’t meet the standard of care when treating the plaintiff

(4)  the medical error or mistake proximately caused injury and damages to the plaintiff

To sum it up, there can be medical malpractice without there being medical negligence. The big question for an experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer to investigate and answer is whether the medical error or mistake caused serious injury, harm, or death to the patient. If so, the medical malpractice can be taken to court in a medical negligence lawsuit.

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Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.


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