What Is an Example of an Unintentional Tort in the Medical Field?

What Is an Example of an Unintentional Tort in the Medical Field?

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What Is an Example of an Unintentional Tort in the Medical Field?

If you sustained injuries because of the negligence of a healthcare provider, you might have a strong enough case to file an intentional tort. Negligence represents the most common type of tort filed as a civil lawsuit, while unintentional negligence means the healthcare provider that harmed you did not mean to do it. Whenever a party does not provide a reasonable duty of care, the party has committed one or more acts of unintentional negligence.

Unintentional torts are commonly filed against the healthcare industry. An example of an unintentional tort in the medical field is failing to provide the correct diagnosis for a medical condition. Although the healthcare provider did not act with malice or bad intent, the healthcare provider must assume the legal liability for carelessly making the wrong diagnosis.

Just because a healthcare provider did not mean to harm you, the judicial system grants you the right to file a civil lawsuit to address an unintentional tort. At Morgan & Morgan, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys conducts thorough investigations for our clients to determine whether a healthcare provider committed an intentional or unintentional act of negligence. Since 1988, the personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have recovered more than $20 billion in monetary damages for our clients, with some cases involving unintentional torts against healthcare providers.

To learn more about how Morgan & Morgan can help you recover your financial losses, schedule a free case evaluation with one of our highly-rated personal injury attorneys.

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  • What Is an Unintentional Tort?

    When an individual or an organization accidentally causes harm to someone, the act of negligence is considered to be unintentional. Although the other party committed an unintentional act of negligence, the injured victim has the right to seek just compensation for any injuries. An example of an unintentional tort in the medical field is making a mistake during surgery that injures the patient.

  • What Is an Intentional Tort?

    When an individual or organization harms someone with malice or bad intent, the act of negligence is called an intentional tort. Intentional torts can cause civil and criminal consequences. In the medical field, an example of an intentional tort is purposely withholding treatment from a patient.

  • What Is Strict Liability?

    Also called absolute liability, strict liability represents the legal principle that applies to an individual or organization regardless of the type of negligence. The most common type of strict liability refers to product liability lawsuits. All an injured victim has to do for a product liability case is prove a defective product caused the victim’s injuries. Strict liability cases typically do not involve negligence committed by a healthcare worker or organization.

  • How Do I Prove Unintentional Negligence?

    The first step for proving unintentional negligence involves contacting one of the litigators from Morgan & Morgan. Your personal injury lawyer needs to prove four elements of an unintentional tort.

    An individual or organization that committed an unintentional act of negligence must have owed the injured victim a reasonable duty of care. For healthcare providers, proving reasonable duty of care is easy because every healthcare provider’s mission is to protect the health of patients. The second element of proving unintentional negligence is to demonstrate the health care provider breached the duty of reasonable care doctrine. Third, your personal injury attorney must convince the judge hearing your case that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused your injuries. Finally, the injuries you suffered must have produced financial losses, such as paying for diagnostic tests and prescription medications.

  • What Is the Unintentional Tort Process?

    Civil lawsuits differ from other types of lawsuits because the process requires the use of non-criminal terms. A plaintiff files a complaint against the defendant based on one or more acts of unintentional negligence. The legal process centers on the plaintiff’s demand to receive monetary damages to recover the financial losses associated with one or more injuries.

    Hiring a personal injury lawyer who specializes in litigating unintentional tort cases is the first step of the legal process. From there, your legal counsel follows a series of steps until your civil complaint is resolved.

    Send a Demand Letter

    Your personal injury attorney sends the other party a demand letter requesting the other party take specific actions to resolve your complaint. The demand letter you send to a healthcare provider includes a detailed account of the negligent act or acts that caused you harm. It also should include the amount of money you seek for monetary damages, as well as how your lawyer calculated the value of your compensation demand.

    File a Complaint

    If the other party rejects or refuses to respond to your demand letter, the next step in the legal process involves filing a formal complaint with the proper civil court. The complaint describes your injuries, how you sustained the injuries, and how much money you seek in monetary damages. After receiving notice of your filed legal complaint, the defendant can file an answer or submit a counter-claim.


    You can look at the discovery phase as the fork in the road for an unintentional tort case. The primary purpose of the discovery phase is to allow both parties to share evidence and take the depositions of witnesses. Either the discovery phase results in negotiations to reach a settlement or your complaint goes to the trial phase of the litigation process.


    Negotiations start when the other party makes a counteroffer to your original demand for compensation. Both sides go back and forth until they reach common ground. For some personal injury cases that include an unintentional act of negligence committed in the medical field, the judge hearing the case might request that both parties undergo mediation or the arbitration process in an attempt to resolve legal differences.


    One of the goals of our personal injury attorneys is to resolve a legal dispute before it reaches the trial phase. Civil trials often take considerable time to unfold, which can cost both parties a substantial amount of money. However, if we cannot reach a settlement with the other party, the Morgan & Morgan lawyer assigned to your case will not hesitate to move on to the trial phase of the legal process.

  • What Are Some Examples of an Unintentional Tort in the Medical Field?

    Even with extensive training and several years of higher education, professionals working in the healthcare industry make mistakes that cause harm to patients. Accidental medical negligence covers several acts conducted by a healthcare professional


    The first step before a healthcare provider treats a patient involves running diagnostic tests. Making an accurate diagnosis is crucial for treating and rehabilitating injured patients. A misdiagnosis can do more harm than the initial injuries. Failing to diagnose a health condition is one type of misdiagnosis. The most common type of misdiagnosis is making the wrong diagnosis.

    Delayed Diagnosis

    A delayed diagnosis often occurs when a healthcare provider does not recognize the signs and symptoms of a disease. Delaying the completion of diagnostic tests results in not being able to treat an illness or injury. For example, not detecting the signs of lung cancer can put a patient in grave danger.

    Surgical Error

    An error made during surgery can lead to additional surgeries, internal organ damages, failure of the immune system, and life-threatening infections. Surgical errors include causing uncontrolled blood loss and leaving a foreign object inside a patient’s body. Even the most minor surgical mistakes can morph into serious health issues.

    Unnecessary Surgery

    An unnecessary surgery stems from a healthcare provider misdiagnosing a disease or an injury. Some of the most common types of unnecessary surgeries include implanting a pacemaker, performing a coronary bypass, and completing a cesarean section. Another form of unnecessary surgery is performing surgery when a healthcare provider should have implemented a different type of treatment.

    Anesthesia Error

    Applying anesthesia is one of the riskier moves performed by a healthcare provider. The process requires the expertise of a licensed specialist. Possible anesthesia errors include poor preparation, failure to monitor the patient, and failing to monitor the performance of the anesthetic.

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Unintentional Tort?

    If you sustained injuries that were caused by the unintentional negligent acts committed by a healthcare provider, you have a limited amount of time to file an unintentional tort. Referred to as the statute of limitations, the deadline for filing an unintentional tort depends on the statute of limitations established by the state where you live. Most states have established deadlines for filing unintentional torts between two and four years, although some states go as low as one year and as high as six years.

    Regardless of the statute of limitations set by the state where you live, you should act with a sense of urgency when filing an unintentional tort. The longer you wait to file a complaint against a healthcare provider, the less reliable the statements made by witnesses. Your personal injury attorney needs time to conduct a thorough investigation, as well as interview every witness on the list that you provide. If you do not file an unintentional tort before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court to dismiss your complaint.

  • Hire a Personal Injury Attorney From Morgan & Morgan

    One of the first things a personal injury does is determine whether an act of medical negligence should be considered intentional or unintentional. The process for proving each type of negligence is different, as an intentional act of negligence might require the involvement of law enforcement. To prove unintentional negligence, your personal injury lawyer must gather and examine physical evidence, such as the results of diagnostic tests, detailed descriptions of treatments, and copies of your medical bills.

    The personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan understand the devastation caused by any type of medical negligence. Our goal is to reach a favorable settlement or pursue litigation that seeks monetary damages. You have the right to recover financial losses because of lost wages and medical bills. Unintentional medical negligence also might leave long-term emotional scars. As another form of compensation, punitive damages punish the defendant and acts as a deterrent for committing future acts of intentional or unintentional negligence.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to learn more about examples of unintentional torts in the medical field.

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