Medical malpractice, sometimes referred to as medical negligence, occurs when a doctor, nurse, technician, or other healthcare provider fails to adhere to an acceptable standard of care within the medical community, which causes harm or death to the patient. This departure from the acceptable standard of care can include both actions (e.g., misdiagnosis) and inactions (e.g., failure to diagnose) on the part of the healthcare provider.
It is important to understand what constitutes medical malpractice under the law—not all unfortunate medical outcomes result from malpractice. The burden of proof in a medical malpractice case lies with the plaintiff (a person who brings a case against another) and their legal team. Crucially, this burden of proof does not require the plaintiff or their legal team to prove the healthcare provider intended to harm the plaintiff. All that must be proven is that the provider did not act in the manner expected of them by law.
That is why it is essential to have a dedicated and experienced malpractice attorney fighting and winning for you. Gencarelli & Rimassa has over two decades of experience fighting and winning for victims of medical malpractice. If you wish to contact our stellar team, call 201-549-8737 or fill out our free consultation form.
If you are not ready to contact Gencarelli & Rimassa yet, this page contains more information about medical malpractice and how to file a successful claim in New Jersey.
Medical malpractice is more common than many of us would like to admit. While most of the services healthcare professionals provide adhere to an acceptable standard of care, over 12,000,000 misdiagnoses occur in the United States annually, resulting in some 250,000 deaths. Research by John Hopkins has found that deaths caused by medical error are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer, respectively.
Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, therefore, not only awards victims the compensatory damages they and their loved ones deserve but also serves as a way to hold doctors, hospitals, technicians, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals accountable for their actions. In doing so, we can foster a better future in which preventable medical deaths can be significantly reduced.
The timeframe to do so, however, is limited.
The statute of limitations refers to the timeframe within which a suit must be filed. Depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim, the timeframe can vary greatly. In New Jersey, this timeframe is two years from the date of injury or the date from which the malpractice was discovered.
As this page will show, filing a medical malpractice suit is rather complicated—two years is not much time. It may take several months to recover from a severe illness; during that time, it is unlikely you or your loved ones will be seriously planning legal action or seeking counsel.
Furthermore, gathering the necessary medical records from the involved healthcare provider(s) can take time. If you need help doing so, please see this excellent guide.
It also takes time for a prospective lawyer and the associated medical experts to review the evidence to determine if the claim is valid.
Time is of the essence. It is best to start the process now to give yourself and your legal team the necessary time to pursue the compensation you deserve.
To prove a medical malpractice claim, a potential victim and their attorney must prove that a medical professional’s deviation from an acceptable standard of care caused harm or death.
If a procedure fails to treat a medical condition, medical malpractice may or may not have occurred. Sometimes the outcome of a medical procedure is not what the patient and their physician hoped for. Medical malpractice has occurred only if a healthcare provider departed from an acceptable standard of care during the procedure and if that departure caused injury or death.
For further reading on this topic, see this article.
Medical malpractice can take many forms, but the most common types of medical malpractice are:
This type of claim can be very broad in scope. In addition to these generalizations, more specific examples may also be helpful:
The lists above are not comprehensive. If you believe that you or a loved one are a medical malpractice victim, contact us for a free legal consultation.
Medical Malpractice is generally seen as one of the most complex personal injury claims to pursue.
The first step is to prove that a deviation from the acceptable standard of care occurred. To do this, an attorney will consult with experts from the relevant medical field(s) to see if this departure occurred. Those experts will undertake a third-party review of your medical records to determine if the healthcare provider(s) involved conducted themselves in a reasonable and acceptable manner.
Generally, reasonableness is determined by considering the available knowledge, the geographic location of the medical facility, and the state of medical practice at the time the injury occurred. When a third-party reviewer finds evidence that the healthcare provider(s) acted unreasonably, they must also establish causation between the patient’s damages and the healthcare provider’s negligence.
Put differently, not only must a medical expert determine that negligence was committed by the healthcare provider(s), but they must also demonstrate that the damages sustained by the patient were directly caused by the negligence of the healthcare provider(s).
The types of damages received in a medical malpractice claim can be divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic.
As the name implies, economic damages refer to compensation for losses that can be objectively verified, like medical expenses, lost wages, inability to use property, costs of repair or replacement, and lack of employment or business opportunities. In addition to compensation for economic losses, a settlement or trial may award noneconomic damages for non-monetary losses.
Noneconomic damages include, but are not limited to, pain, suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of social relations, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In New Jersey, neither economic nor noneconomic damages are capped. Only punitive damages, damages awarded to discourage intentional or reckless behavior or actions motivated by malice, are capped. Punitive damages are neither economic nor noneconomic damages, as they are not granted to compensate for any verifiable or subjective loss.
It is doubtful that your suit will involve punitive damages. For punitive damages to be awarded, the plaintiff must prove that the harm incurred by the plaintiff was caused by “actual malice or accompanied by a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed by those acts or omissions.” That is to say, the healthcare provider(s) must have intentionally committed the act of malpractice to harm the plaintiff. This is seldomly the case.
To attain the best possible settlement for you and your loved ones, you need a team of committed lawyers with a history of winning for victims of medical negligence.
Our firm retains expert accountants and other financial analysts to calculate economic losses related to your suit. We also have long-standing relationships with experts in various medical fields to ensure we can provide the best testimonial for your claim.
Throughout your case, we will remain attentive and responsive to not only your legal needs but your medical needs as well. Our driven team will always fight as hard as we can for you and your loved ones. You have suffered enough. Let us help.
If you have suffered a personal injury or the death of a loved one as a result of the negligence or carelessness of a doctor or other health care provider, please get in touch with our personal injury law firm to get not only the compensation but the justice, you and your family deserve.
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