In the law of torts, malpractice, also known as professional negligence, is an "instance of negligence or incompetence on the part of a professional".[1]

Professionals who may become the subject of malpractice actions include:

Proof of malpractice

Professional negligence actions require a professional relationship between the professional and the person claiming to have been injured by malpractice.[3] For example, to sue a lawyer for malpractice the person bringing the claim must have had an attorney-client relationship with the lawyer.[4]

To succeed in a malpractice action under typical malpractice law, the person making a malpractice claim must prove that the professional committed an act of culpable negligence and that the person suffered an injury due to the professional's error.[5]

Medical malpractice

Main article: Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is a highly complex area of law, with laws that differ significantly between jurisdictions.[6]

In Australia, medical malpractice and the rise in claims against individual and institutional providers have led to the evolution of patient advocates.[7]


  1. ^ a b Malpractice definition, Garner, Bryan A. (2009). Black's Law Dictionary (9 ed.). West. ISBN 978-0314199492. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Malpractice". Merriam-Webster, Inc. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Douglas (1992). Suicide and Clinical Practice. American Psychiatric Association Publishing. p. 148. ISBN 0880484551. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  4. ^ Bresnahan, Pamela A. (September 1999). "Beware the Cocktail Party Client" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  5. ^ See, e.g., Bal, B. Sonny (February 2009). "An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States". Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 467 (2): 339–347. doi:10.1007/s11999-008-0636-2. PMC 2628513. PMID 19034593.
  6. ^ Marcus, Paul (1981). "Book Review of Medical Malpractice Law: A Comparative Law Study of Civil Responsibility Arising from Medical Care". Hastings International and Comparative Law Review: 235–243. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  7. ^ Kamaker, Dorothy (September 26, 2015). "Patient advocacy services ensure optimum health outcomes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved August 23, 2016.