Malpractice, in law, a violation of professional duty that causes physical, emotional, or financial damage to a person receiving services from a physician, dentist, lawyer, or other professional. An individual who claims to have been harmed through malpractice can seek compensation by initiating a lawsuit. At the conclusion of the trial, if the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff (the person who brought the suit), it then decides on the amount awarded.

To protect themselves from financial ruin—and in some cases as a condition of admittance into a practice—many professionals carry malpractice insurance. Rising malpractice-insurance costs have caused some professionals, particularly physicians, to give up their practices rather than pay the premiums.