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Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Blog
Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

How is Professional Negligence Different than Ordinary Negligence?

When we consult with or retain the services of a licensed professional , we expect that person to keep our best interests in mind and also to conduct themselves within the standards we expect from their particular profession. Every day, millions of people place their personal well-being and future into the hands of a professional who is expected to conduct themselves according to a certain level of skill and professionalism. When this does not occur, people can be seriously injured or suffer other adverse results, and may be able to recover in an action for professional negligence.

From a physician misdiagnosing a patient to an attorney failing to file a document in time, often people fall victim to instances of malpractice through no fault of their own. In order to determine whether you may have a professional negligence claim, you should consult with an experienced Indiana malpractice lawyer. A malpractice lawsuit could result in significant recovery for you and your family, and can help uphold the standards of a profession.

Ordinarily, a lawsuit for negligence seeks to hold another person or party financially responsible for injuries or other damages the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. In a legal action for negligence there are usually four elements that need to be shown:

  • Duty – the defendant must have owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiff.
  • Breach – the defendant must have taken some action that breached that duty of care. A person breaches that duty if they fail to exercise the care that a reasonable person would have exercised.
  • Causation – the defendant’s actions must have proximately caused the injuries to the plaintiff.
  • Damages – the plaintiff must have actually suffered a loss or an injury.

In a case involving professional negligence, the question of what constitutes “breach” changes. Rather than analyzing the defendant’s conduct against the standard of a “reasonable person,” the applicable standard to which professionals are held is that of a “reasonably prudent member of the profession.” The exact rule depends on the profession that is at issue, but the fundamental idea is that professionals are held to a higher standard of care that takes into account their training and experience. In this way, the custom and standards set by a particular profession or industry come into question when determining whether a professional acted negligently. Some of the types of professionals that may be held liable for professional negligence include:

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Attorneys
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Contractors
  • Accountants
  • Investment advisors
  • Pharmacists
  • Brokers

Professionals may also be liable for the negligent actions of their support staff; for example, a physician may be liable for actions performed by his or her assistant, or a lawyer liable for the actions of his or her paralegal. Also, depending on the circumstances of a professional’s working situation, you may be able to hold another party, such as a hospital or law firm, liable for any negligence on the part of the professional.

If you feel that you have been harmed by professional negligence, you should contact an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These types of claims are governed by a strict statute of limitations, meaning that there is a limited amount of time in which you can bring a claim.

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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

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In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

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