When doctors or nurses make mistakes, their patients may suffer devastating consequences. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys. You should not have to face the financial, emotional, and physical consequences of a medical error alone. Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider or medical professional is negligent in a specific action or omission. If you suffer because of this negligence, you are entitled to compensation under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Negligence happens in our hospitals during birth and in medical professionals and doctors’ offices across the country. Some studies show that medical errors are a major cause of death in the United States.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, physician or healthcare provider provides care in a negligent manner and causes either injury or death. Medical malpractice is typically defined as treatment which falls below the generally accepted standards of care in which all medical professionals are expected to adhere to. In some circumstances, medical malpractice may occur after an individual has already suffered from an injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, workplace accident or slip and fall accident.
Medical malpractice cases differ from car accident or slip and fall cases. The cases involve an interplay of both medicine and law. It is important that an attorney understand both law and medicine and be ready to handle any defenses that are raised by the health care professional’s attorneys.
Start of A Medical Malpractice Case
An attorney at the start of a medical malpractice case will begin by interviewing the client, gathering all the information including gathering all the medical records, determining any potential liability, hiring experts to consult about the claim and ultimately filing the claim in the proper Superior Court.
Defining and Determining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs in many different forms. These can include emergency room errors. An emergency room or ER error can include misreading any tests, MRI’s or X-Rays, failing to diagnose a dangerous condition when an individual first appears for treatment, failing to perform a differential diagnosis or failing to otherwise properly treat a patient.
Other errors include errors with administering anesthesia when an individual is having a surgical procedure performed. Anesthesia errors can be very serious and can lead to serious injury and death in some circumstances. Anesthesia errors can include administering the wrong drug or the incorrect dosage or failing to monitor the patient when he or she is under the anesthetic.
Other forms of medical malpractice include, nursing home abuse, hospital errors, birth injuries, orthopedic malpractice and optometry malpractice. In the case of hospital malpractice, the hospital may be responsible for any injury in addition to the doctors who specifically treated the patient as well as any other medical staff who contributed to the medical malpractice. This theory under the law is known as respondent superior. It means that the hospital may be responsible for any doctors or other medical professionals negligence if the doctor or medical professional was working within the scope of their duties at the hospital in which they are employed.
In New Jersey, many hospitals will be considered public entities. This means that they are subject to the New Jersey Tort Claims Act. Under this act, if an individual makes a claim against a public entity, they must give that public entity notice of the potential claim within 90 days of the occurrence. If they fail to give the public entity notice, the individual may be barred from raising any of the claims. The 90-day notice acts as a statute of limitations for a public entity in New Jersey.
A common claim, as mentioned above in the medical malpractice context is the failure to diagnose. The failure to diagnose an illness properly can have truly terrible consequences as the patient will likely be deprived of receiving timely treatment. In some circumstances, the failure to timely diagnose and treat a condition can lead to an increased risk of death. This tragic result often times is a result of the failure to diagnose breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer or many other forms of cancer. Failure to diagnose includes failing to listen to the patient about the specific symptoms that he or she is feeling and or failing to recognize the symptoms that the patient is either describing or outwardly experiencing. Additionally, some forms of failure to diagnose include failing to read the tests which were administered, reading the tests that were administered wrong, or interpreting the tests incorrectly.
Medical Malpractice can also lead to terrible illnesses an infections. Some of these infections include, viruses, infections including sepsis, and blood clots. If an infection occurs after a surgery or while an individual is in a hospital, the hospital may be responsible for causing and or not properly diagnosing the injection.
Though different, medical malpractice has similar elements compared to that of a negligence case. More specifically in a medical malpractice case, an individual must prove that a doctor patient relationship existed. This means that the doctor was actually treating the patient. A duty of care is established once a physician patient relationship is established as the doctor obviously has a duty of care to their patient. The plaintiff must then prove a breach of that duty occurred. This means that the medical professional or doctor committed an act of malpractice. As described above, this means that the doctor or medical professional did not treat the patient within the generally accepted medical standard. The plaintiff must then prove that the act of malpractice caused damage or harm. This means that the malpractice was directly related and caused the damages or injuries that the patient suffered. The damages in a medical malpractice case can be significant and can include pain and suffering damages, lost wages, payment of past and future medical bills, payment of future care for the injuries that the patient suffered as well as any other economic losses that the patient suffered.
If you or someone you know would like to speak with one of our New Jersey Medical Malpractice attorneys call our office or click on the contact us tab. Our attorneys will take the time to meet with you and discuss all of your legal options.