|Part of the common law series|
|Trespass to the person|
|Principles of negligence|
|Strict and absolute liability|
|Other topics in tort law|
|Other common law areas|
In the law of torts, malpractice, also known as professional negligence, is an "instance of negligence or incompetence on the part of a professional".
Professionals who may become the subject of malpractice actions include:
Medical professionals: a medical malpractice claim may be brought against a doctor or other healthcare provider who fails to exercise the degree of care and skill that a similarly situated professional of the same medical specialty would provide under the circumstances.
Lawyers: a legal malpractice claim may be brought against a lawyer who fails to render services with the level of skill, care and diligence that a reasonable lawyer would apply under similar circumstances.
Financial professionals: professionals such as accountants, financial planners and stockbrokers, may be subject to claims for professional negligence based upon their failure to meet professional standards when providing services to their clients.
Architects: an architect or construction professional may be accused of professional negligence for failing to meet professional standards in the design and construction of buildings and structures.
Engineers: an engineer or construction professional may be accused of professional negligence for failing to meet professional standards in the design and construction of buildings and structures.
Professional negligence actions require a professional relationship between the professional and the person claiming to have been injured by malpractice. For example, in order to sue a lawyer for malpractice the person bringing the claim must have had an attorney-client relationship with the lawyer.
To succeed in a malpractice action under typical malpractice law, the person making a malpractice claim must prove both that the professional committed an act of culpable negligence and that the person suffered injury as a result of the professional's error.
Main article: Medical malpractice
Medical malpractice is a highly complex area of law, with laws that differ significantly between jurisdictions.
In Australia, medical malpractice and the rise in incidences of claims against individual and institutional providers has led to the evolution of patient advocates.