What is Professional Negligence (a/k/a Malpractice)?

Professional negligence (a/k/a malpractice) is commonly thought of as negligence by medical providers. However, professional negligence is a viable and common legal theory in any case involving a "profession." The types of fields/jobs that are considered "professions" can be the subject of debate, but they are typically considered to be paid occupations that require specialized educational training, along formal qualifications and licensing, and that have strict oversight or are self-regulating.  Non-medical professional negligence claims may include claims of negligence by accountants, architects, attorneys, insurance agents, financial advisors, and securities brokers.

Simply put, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care.  Reasonable care on the part of a professional is the care that a reasonably careful professional would use under like circumstances. Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful professional would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful professional would do under like circumstances.  

When a party asserts a claim or defends against a claim of professional negligence, testimony by an expert witness in the field/job at issue is frequently necessary to prove and/or disprove the alleged negligence. Expert witnesses retained by the parties will testify concerning the standard of care that should be used under like circumstances and whether the professional met the standard of care. 

If you are a professional facing allegations of negligence or if you believe that a professional may have failed to use reasonable care when rendering services, consider consulting with a lawyer familiar with the issues that typically arise in a professional negligence claim. Over the course of his legal career, Joel Ewusiak has assisted both professionals, and clients of professionals, when disputes arise concerning the services provided.