Medical malpractice is an error or wrong action committed by a healthcare professional during medical treatment. Such an error occurs when medical care falls below the accepted standard of care or skill, thereby causing harm to the patient. Medical errors can occur in various areas of medical care, including diagnostic errors, medication errors, surgical errors, communication errors, or lack of follow-up care.

It is important to note that not all negative outcomes or complications from medical treatment are automatically considered medical malpractice. Not every adverse medical outcome is due to an error. A medical error only occurs if the medical care is below the accepted standard and this causes damage that could have been avoided.

If a patient suspects that medical malpractice has occurred, they can contact our law firm to review their claims and, if necessary, take legal action. In some countries there are also special arbitration boards or expert commissions that deal with such cases and can provide support in clarifying and evaluating treatment errors.

  • BGH, judgment of February 20, 2018 – VI ZR 30/17: In this judgment, the BGH deals with the question of the distribution of the burden of proof in the event of treatment errors. The BGH decides that the patient must generally provide proof that there was a treatment error.
  • BGH, judgment of October 23, 2012 – VI ZR 74/12: This judgment concerns the doctor’s duty to inform about possible risks of medical treatment. The BGH makes it clear that the doctor must fully inform the patient about the possible risks so that the patient can make an informed decision.
  • BGH, judgment of April 29, 2003 – VI ZR 398/02: This decision concerns the statute of limitations for treatment errors. The BGH states that the regular limitation period for claims for damages in the event of treatment errors is three years and only begins from the time at which the patient becomes aware of the treatment error.
  • BGH, judgment of July 16, 2002 – VI ZR 331/01: Here the BGH deals with the question of reversal of the burden of proof in the event of gross treatment errors. The Federal Court of Justice decides that if there is a gross treatment error, the burden of proof can be reversed in favor of the patient, i.e. the doctor must then prove that the error was not the cause of the damage caused.