Medical Malpractice in Jersey City, NJ

Medical malpractice arises when a qualified Jersey City, New Jersey doctor or medical facility harms a patient. There are different medical malpractice laws per state, so you should carefully review your state’s laws to determine whether you have a case. These laws can influence the statute of limitations for filing a medical negligence claim. Additionally, they can dictate whether you have to notify the doctor or medical facility beforehand.

What Evidence Do I Need for Jersey City, New Jersey Medical Malpractice Claims?

The burden of proof falls on the injured party in filing a medical malpractice claim. To prove your case, there are several conditions you must establish. An experienced Jersey City, NJ medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through this entire process.

While there can be some differences in details based on the state in which you file your claim, there are some standard benchmarks to try and hit.

  • There was a working relationship between the doctor and the patient. 
  • There was negligence on behalf of the doctor – You must prove the doctor was negligent in his or her diagnosis. You cannot sue a doctor for medical malpractice simply because you did not like their treatment or diagnosis.
  • There needs to be cause and effect – Cases usually involve long-term injuries. You must prove the injuries referenced in the claim are a direct result of the doctor’s care and not because of any pre-existing condition.
  • The injury represented in the claim led to further injury – You cannot sue for malpractice unless you suffer a direct injury. There are multiple types of pain that a patient can sue for currently. 

Under New Jersey law, a Jersey City plaintiff must include an affidavit when they file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The person writing the affidavit has to qualify as an expert witness under the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. They must state a reasonable probability that the defendant’s actions fell outside the acceptable, professional standards of treatment.

Hospital Responsibility

You may wonder if you can also sue the Jersey City hospital or facility where the doctor works. In most situations, you cannot sue a hospital for the malpractice of a doctor. Most doctors are independent contractors, which absolves hospitals from liability. Nurses and other hospital staff are direct employees, so if the malpractice occurs through one of them, then there are grounds to sue the facility. So, unless the doctor is directly employed by the Jersey City, New Jersey hospital or facility, they are not liable.

The Varying Types of Medical Malpractice

As long as you meet the conditions to file, you have grounds to file a claim, but you will need to decide in which category your claim falls. The most common categories include the following:

  • Wrongful treatment – A doctor treats you poorly and in a way that no other credible medical professional would.
  • Failure to diagnose correct illness – The doctor misdiagnosed your malady and caused an injury.
  • Failure to disclose risks to patients – The doctor fails to inform you of the medical risks. Or, they did not carry out their duty of informed consent. As a result, their inaction prevented you from making an informed decision about the medical procedure or treatment.

There are additional categories or reasons for filing a lawsuit, such as the following doctor errors:

  • Misreading or ignoring test results from the lab
  • Making surgical errors
  • Not following up properly or not offering adequate post-care
  • Performing unnecessary procedures or surgeries

Damages Available in Jersey City, NJ

There are three types of damages a court will award for medical malpractice.

  • General damages – Compensation for physical or mental suffering due to the negligent actions of the doctor
  • Punitive Damages – Damages awarded as punishment for the medical professional or facility at fault
  • Special Damages – Damages for expenses from medical bills and lost wages

Unlike some states, New Jersey does not limit most types of damages in a Jersey City medical malpractice lawsuit. This includes all compensatory damages, both economic and noneconomic. In addition, if the court finds that there was wanton, willful, or malicious conduct, they may award punitive damages. However, New Jersey statute limits these to $350,000 or 3 times the compensatory damages, whichever is higher.

Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice claims carry a strict statute of limitations, which vary depending on the state. If you do not file the claim within the statute of limitations, the court will dismiss the case with prejudice regardless of the facts.

Jersey City medical malpractice plaintiffs must file their lawsuits within New Jersey’s 2 year statute of limitations. In most cases, the 2 year period begins at the date of the injury. However, the plaintiff has the option to show that they could not reasonably know about the injury when it took place. In that situation, the clock starts when the plaintiff becomes aware of the injury.

Medical Malpractice Review Panels

In some states, you must first submit your claim to a review panel of medical experts. The panel hears the evidence and expert testimony to decide whether malpractice occurred. Keep in mind, their decision does not equate to a court’s decision, but the panel is often a necessary step in building toward a lawsuit. Furthermore, it can lend significant credibility to a claim. The findings of the review panel will make their way to court, and the court often references them to influence its ruling.

Most Jersey City physicians who are defendants in a malpractice suit must also face an administrative hearing. The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners will convene a review panel to investigate malpractice claims or other complaints. However, these proceedings are separate from any judicial action. The Board will perform its own investigation, but may also look at the court’s evidence and verdict. Disciplinary action can include a letter of reprimand, suspension, or even revocation of a medical license. Furthermore, other health care providers are subject to regulation by similar agencies, such as the New Jersey Board of Nursing.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

Medical malpractice claims in Jersey City, New Jersey can be complex and difficult to prove. It can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are still suffering as a result of the doctor’s actions. We recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney or an attorney in Jersey City that has a focus on medical malpractice.

A medical malpractice attorney can help you in many ways to put together your case. Working with an attorney means he or she will often do the following:

  • Build your case
  • Collect important evidence
  • Find expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Help you prepare for the malpractice review panel
  • Take your claim to court

Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Jersey City, New Jersey

Since your case is incredibly important to you, it makes sense to seek legal help. You should at minimum consult with a qualified Jersey City attorney who is familiar with such cases. We can even help you connect with an attorney across New Jersey state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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