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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Negligence vs. Willful Misconduct in New York Medical Malpractice

December 14, 2020 in

While often misconstrued or assumed to be interchangeable in meaning, negligence and willful misconduct are two separate liability claims that fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. The former alludes to the failure to properly carry out adequate medical care, while latter can be defined by complete recklessness or even malicious behavior with the premeditated knowledge that such behavior could lead to injury or harm. The skilled New York medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C tackle the differences between these two important subsets of medical malpractice.


General and Gross Negligence


A medical professional who commits negligence may have done so by accident or by failing to carry out the expected proper care. If a medical professional carries out substandard care, it can cause serious harm to the patient and potentially lead to a lawsuit.  While negligence typically involves a general medical mistake or breach of duty, gross negligence is more serious and may involve acts of recklessness which lead to an unsafe situation.


Negligence can also include the failure to act within a physician’s full standard of care, such as conducting an inadequate check-up of a patient’s vitals during an appointment, administering the wrong quantity of medication to a patient, making preventable surgical errors or misreading lab results. Many of these errors can be made unintentionally and without malicious intent, which enables these scenarios to fall under the category of negligence.


Willful Misconduct


Willful misconduct occurs when a medical professional acts so recklessly and carelessly that they are greatly endangering those in their care and demonstrating a disregard for their patient’s safety and wellbeing. Willful misconduct often requires a degree of intentionality that separates it from typical negligence and can come with severe legal consequences in addition to the physical, mental or emotional consequences it can cause the victim or victims. Claims of willful misconduct are often more severe in magnitude compared to general negligence and can lead to punitive damages.


Examples of willful misconduct may include a deliberate violation of safe medical procedures, making conscious medical choices that would veer from standard care and purposefully causing harm to a patient without regard for the outcome. Willful misconduct cases are serious and are tried within the highest degree of medical malpractice litigation.


If You Believe You Are a Victim of Gross Negligence or Willful Misconduct, Contact SPBMCC Today


If a medical professional’s negligence or misconduct caused injury to you or a loved one in New York, you may be eligible to pursue damages for the harm you suffered. The medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. are passionate advocates for victims of medical malpractice and have collectively recovered billions for their clients since the firm’s inception. Call (212)-732-9000 to get in touch with a member of our firm or fill out a contact form here:

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