Malpractice occurs when a professional is negligent in their obligations of their profession and, as a result, injury or harm occurs. Although malpractice claims are common in the medical field, they are also common in the legal field.

Banker malpractice occurs when there is malpractice within the field of finance. If a financial professional ignores the industry norms which would protect their clients from financial harm, then it may be possible to file a lawsuit for professional negligence or professional malpractice.

What is Professional Malpractice?

When an individual hires a professional, they are obligated to render competent service. Typically, competent service is measured by the level of service which an average professional in the industry would render.

If an individual hires a professional who fails to render that level of service, and they suffer an injury or harm as a result, that professional may be liable for malpractice.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, a doctor, or a healthcare organization fails to meet the standard of care which is required when:

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, medical professional, and/or healthcare organization fails to meet the standard duty of care that is required and results in injury to that patient when the professional is:

  • Managing;
  • Diagnosing; or
  • Treating a patient.

The deviation from the standard duty of care which is required for all medical professionals often begins with an act of negligence. Medical malpractice laws provide injured patients with the opportunity to bring claims against negligent medical professionals as well as to recover damages for the harms which were caused by the substandard conduct.

It is important to note, however, that whether the medical professional can be held liable for the patient’s injuries will depend not only on the facts of each specific case but also on the various rules and requirements of the medical malpractice laws which are enacted in a specific state. In addition, there are certain cases in which the standards and regulations for medical malpractice vary between jurisdictions, even within the same state.

Common examples of medical malpractice claims include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnosing a patient incorrectly or failing to diagnose a patient;
  • Prescribing the wrong treatment or wrong medication;
  • Operating on the wrong body party, such as amputating the patient’s left leg instead of their right leg;
  • Failing to follow-up or provide care instructions after a patient receives a serious procedure;
  • Prematurely discharging a patient when they have not recovered sufficiently;
  • Leaving behind medical equipment during a procedure, for example, medical instruments or sponges left inside a patient;
  • Failing to provide information, or failing to receive informed consent, before a patient underwent surgery; or
  • Including incorrect data in a patient’s medical chart, which causes harm to the patient either then or at a later date.

What is the Accepted Standard of Care for Medical Malpractice?

In general, the standard of care in a medical malpractice case is how a similarly qualified medical practitioner would have performed under the same or similar circumstances.

In other words, the standard of care is usually determined by evaluating the performance and abilities of other professionals who are practicing near the professional who is accused of malpractice.

How is the Standard of Care Determined?

It is important to note that the baseline standard of care may vary by state. For example, the resources of a rural doctor will generally be less extensive than those of a metropolitan hospital.

These issues are taken into account when determining the appropriate standard of care. For other professionals, the standard of care may be determined by case law or by comparing the actions or practices of the professional to other similarly situated professionals in the same area.

What Kind of Professional Can Commit Malpractice?

A professional typically can only be held liable for malpractice if there is a governing body which regulates the professional in their industry. For example, lawyers regulated by the Bar Association in the state in which they practice and they can be liable for malpractice if they fall below professional standards.

Professionals which may be liable for malpractice include:

Does a Banker Owe a Duty of Loyalty?

Yes, there are finance professionals who are potentially liable for financial breach of duty to their clients, including:

  • Bank advisors;
  • Members of bank boards;
  • Corporate directors; and
  • Investment bankers.

A fiduciary duty is a common phrase that is heard in financial fields. It refers to the professional’s responsibility to another individual or individuals to handle their financial matters in the most responsible way possible.

For example, merger and acquisition advisors are responsible for making careful and responsible choices on behalf of customers and consumers. Even an accountant can face a malpractice claim.

What Claims Can Someone File Against a Banker?

In numerous states, a banking professional may be shielded by a business judgment rule. This rule provides that even if there are poor outcomes as a result of a financial decision, the banking professional is not always to blame.

It is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, for example if the business decision was made as a result of:

  • Fraud;
  • Illegal maneuvers; or
  • Choices which were made because they would benefit the banker.

A good faith lending practice or banking decision is often a protected activity, even if it eventually fails and results in financial loss.

What is the Punishment for Banker Malpractice?

The punishment for banker malpractice will vary by state. In New York state, claims against banking professionals are not as common because the business judgment rule is generally respected by courts.

Actual decisions within each state will also vary. For example, a Georgia case resulted in the directors of banking institutions being held to a higher standard than directors in other industries.

Other cases in Georgia, however, have created opposite rulings. It may also be possible to bring a claim against a banker under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The FDIC is a government entity which was created in 1993 to safeguard financial investments. It may be possible to sue a bank director for negligence and the FDIC itself may, in some cases, file a malpractice claim against a bank director.

How Can You Prove Malpractice?

The level of proof which is necessary is different for each profession. However, in general, malpractice may be proven by showing that:

  • The professional did not render competent service;
  • The individual suffered damages; and
  • The incompetent service was the cause of those damages.

Thereare additional ways a professional may commit malpractice, including:

  • Breaching the contract they have with the individual;
  • Putting their own interests before yours; and
  • Violating the ethics rules of their profession.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me with My Malpractice Case?

If you have been a victim of malpractice and you want to recover damages, you will likely have to go to court. Malpractice laws are complex and vary by state as well as profession.

If you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to malpractice, a liability lawyer can advise you regarding exactly what your professional was obligated to do for you and whether or not that professional committed malpractice. In addition, your lawyer will represent you in court and assist you with proving that malpractice in court.