Malpractice Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Malpractice, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Malpractice?

(n) Malpractice is engaging in some activities or involving in some procedure which are not normally expected from them as a prudent and professionally accepted method. The person doing malpractice is liable for damages. Eg. the attorney pass on the secrete information to the opposite advocate amounts to a malpractice

History and Definition of Malpractice

Malpractice refers to an activity or conduct that falls short of the accepted professional standards of competence and results in damages to another person. The term originated in the medical profession in the mid-19th century and was later extended to apply to other professions such as law, accounting, and architecture. Malpractice is typically considered a type of negligence and can result in lawsuits, disciplinary actions, and revocation of professional licenses.

In the legal context, malpractice occurs when a lawyer fails to act in the best interests of their client or breaches their duty of care to their client. For example, if a lawyer fails to file a critical document on time, resulting in their client's case being dismissed, they could be sued for malpractice. Similarly, a doctor who fails to diagnose a patient's condition correctly, resulting in harm or death, may be considered to have committed medical malpractice.

Examples of Malpractice

  • A doctor who performs surgery on the wrong body part or patient
  • An attorney who coerces a client into accepting a settlement that is not in their best interests
  • An accountant who fails to file a client's taxes correctly, resulting in penalties and fines for the client
  • An engineer who designs a building that collapses due to poor construction practices

Legal Terms Similar to Malpractice

  • Negligence: failure to take appropriate care or action when there is a duty to do so
  • Breach of Duty: a failure to act in accordance with a legal or professional duty of care
  • Duty of Care: the legal duty to act with reasonable care, skill, and diligence to prevent harm to others