New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Holding Negligent Medical Practitioners Liable for Mistakes
When you go to the doctor’s office or a medical clinic for treatment, you should be able to expect that you will be treated correctly and put on the path to recovery. If you leave the medical center worse than you arrived, though, then medical malpractice might have occurred. At that point, you should start to consider how to take legal action in response to set things right and give yourself a chance to recover from your new or worsened injuries.
Simonson Goodman Platzer PC offers five-star legal counsel to victims of medical malpractice throughout New Jersey. If your medical provider hurt you or allowed a pre-existing condition to worsen, then we want to know about it. With our experience and resources, we can bring a claim or lawsuit against any defendant, including major medical institutions and individual healthcare providers.
On This Page
- Defining Medical Malpractice
- What to Do If You are Hurt by Medical Malpractice
- Frequently Asked Questions
Learn how to start a medical malpractice case with professional counsel. Call (800) 817-5029 now.
After leaving a medical center and feeling dissatisfied with your care, you might assume that medical malpractice must have happened. However, this is not always the case. Medical malpractice is a specific type of error that can be rare and difficult to prove.
Four important elements to a medical malpractice claim include:
- Duty: The medical provider must have owed the patient a duty of care, which is often established through a doctor-patient relationship.
- Breach of duty: The duty of care owed to a patient essentially means that the medical provider must act within reason and follow an accepted standard of medical care and knowledge. For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, the medical provider must have breached that duty of care.
- Injury: The breach of duty must result in an injury suffered by the patient. The same is true if the breach caused a condition or injury to worsen due to the medical provider’s inaction or incorrect action.
- Damages: Lastly, for a medical malpractice claim to be legally sound, the patient’s injury must have caused them to experience a form of compensable damage.
Oftentimes, medical malpractice case investigators will ask if the medical mistake that was made would have been made by a different and reasonable medical practitioner in the same situation. If the mistake or error likely would have not been avoided by another medical provider, then it will be more difficult to argue that a medical malpractice claim is justified.
On an average day, a medical provider will have numerous duties and tasks to fulfill for patients. For this reason, medical malpractice cases can be highly varied. Our team of New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers is ready to work on virtually any case that comes our way, though.
Commonly occurring forms of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnoses: Doctors have the duty to accurately diagnose their patients’ conditions. Diagnosing one condition as another can cause serious health problems. For example, misdiagnosing a stroke, heart attack, or cancer as a less severe health complication is surprisingly common.
- Failures to diagnose: In some cases, a doctor will fail to diagnose the patient altogether, sending them home without a diagnosis or aftercare plan. Or a doctor will fail to diagnose the patient until weeks or months later after the condition has had time to worsen.
- Surgical errors: Our medical malpractice team focuses on surgical error cases, such as those involving unsafe appendicitis procedures or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty procedures.
- Unsafe prescriptions: When prescribing medication to a patient, the doctor must review their full medical record to ensure the risk of unsafe side effects is minimal.
- Medication Errors: A nurse administers the wrong medication or dosage to a patient. Pharmacy staff dispense the incorrect medication to a patient.
- Anesthesia Errors: An anesthesiologist administers too much or too little anesthesia, leading to complications or awareness during surgery. Failure to monitor a patient's vital signs during anesthesia, resulting in harm.
- Hospital Negligence: Inadequate sanitation and hygiene leading to hospital-acquired infections. Poorly maintained medical equipment, such as defibrillators or ventilators, causing equipment failure during critical situations.
- Emergency Room Negligence: Delayed treatment in the emergency room, causing a patient's condition to worsen. Miscommunication among emergency room staff, resulting in incorrect treatment.
- Birth Injuries: Mishandling of childbirth, causing birth injuries to the baby or mother. Failure to monitor and respond to fetal distress during labor.
Medical malpractice can result from a combination of contributing factors within the healthcare system. These factors can lead to errors or negligence in patient care, ultimately causing harm to patients.
Some of the key contributing factors to medical malpractice include:
- Negligence: Negligence is a fundamental factor in medical malpractice. Healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, may fail to meet the standard of care expected in their field. This could involve errors in diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medication administration, or patient monitoring.
- Miscommunication: Poor communication among healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and support staff, can lead to medical errors. Incomplete or unclear patient information, improper handoffs between shifts or departments, and misunderstandings about treatment plans can result in serious mistakes.
- Lack of Informed Consent: Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their medical treatment. If healthcare providers fail to adequately inform patients about the risks and benefits of a particular treatment or procedure, and the patient is harmed as a result, it can lead to a malpractice claim.
- Fatigue and Overwork: Healthcare professionals working long hours or excessive shifts may become fatigued, leading to lapses in judgment and reduced attention to detail. Fatigue can increase the risk of errors and malpractice.
- Inadequate Staffing: Understaffing in healthcare facilities can strain the resources and abilities of healthcare providers. When there aren't enough staff members to handle patient loads, it can lead to rushed or suboptimal care, increasing the risk of errors.
- Lack of Training and Supervision: Inadequate training or supervision of healthcare professionals can result in substandard care. When healthcare providers are not properly trained in new techniques or technologies, or when they lack experienced oversight, it can lead to errors.
- Systemic Issues: Problems with hospital policies, protocols, or culture can contribute to medical malpractice. Issues such as inadequate record-keeping, lack of quality control, and inadequate safety protocols can increase the likelihood of errors.
- Equipment and Technology Failures: Medical malpractice can also result from equipment malfunctions or technological errors. If medical devices fail or electronic health records contain inaccuracies, it can lead to incorrect diagnoses or treatments.
- Lack of Follow-Up: After medical procedures or treatments, healthcare providers may not provide adequate follow-up care or monitoring, leading to complications or additional injuries.
- Lack of Infection Control: Inadequate infection control measures can lead to healthcare-associated infections, which can cause serious harm to patients.
- Cultural and Language Barriers: In cases involving diverse patient populations, language and cultural barriers can lead to misunderstandings or miscommunications between healthcare providers and patients, potentially resulting in malpractice.
In a medical malpractice case in New Jersey, there are several types of damages that a plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) may be able to seek if they can prove that a healthcare professional or facility acted negligently, causing them harm. These damages can be divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Here's an overview of the available damages in a medical malpractice case in New Jersey:
- Economic Damages:
- Medical Expenses: This includes past and future medical bills related to the injuries or harm caused by medical malpractice, such as surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medications, and therapy.
- Lost Income: If the medical malpractice results in the plaintiff being unable to work or needing time off from work, they can seek compensation for lost wages or diminished earning capacity.
- Other Financial Losses: These can include out-of-pocket expenses related to the malpractice, such as the cost of medical equipment, transportation to medical appointments, and any necessary home modifications.
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages compensate the plaintiff for physical pain, emotional distress, and suffering caused by the malpractice. In New Jersey, there are limitations on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded, depending on the circumstances of the case and the severity of the injuries.
- Loss of Consortium: These types of damages are awarded to the spouse of the injured party, compensating them for the loss of companionship, care, and affection resulting from the injuries.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: If the medical malpractice results in permanent scarring or disfigurement, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional impact of these changes.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This type of damages compensates the plaintiff for the loss of their ability to enjoy life and engage in activities they previously enjoyed due to the injuries caused by the malpractice.
The damages owed to you after being hurt by medical malpractice will be unique to your case. What one medical malpractice claimant receives will not be the same as the next. Part of our job will be to make sure you get whatever damage is owed to you in full.
Typically, medical malpractice claimants can demand damages related to all past and future medical treatments and specialized care. If your wages and income were impacted due to your injury or condition, then you can demand compensation for those losses, too. We can also factor in your pain and suffering as non-economic damage. However, in New Jersey, non-economic damage is usually and currently capped at $350,000, regardless of how much you have endured due to a medical provider’s mistakes.
After suffering an injury due to a doctor’s mistakes, you can feel lost and unsure who you can trust. If you want to seek compensation and justice, though, then you need to take legal action sooner than later. Try to collect yourself and take a few steps after medical malpractice has left you or a loved one worse than before the treatment occurred.
Take these steps if you suspect medical malpractice has hurt you:
- Switch providers if possible: You can call your healthcare insurance provider and ask to change medical care providers or clinics if possible. Returning to the same healthcare team that you think hurt you could increase the risk of suffering further harm due to medical negligence.
- Seek further medical attention if necessary: If you still need medical treatments for your condition or injury, then please seek it where you can. Do not skip necessary treatments because you suspect medical malpractice might have happened once. Always prioritize your health and safety.
- Get a copy of your medical records: Ask your medical provider to give you a copy of your medical records. You need to see what information is included in the record, so you can pass that to your attorney later.
- Create a symptoms journal: Start recording your daily symptoms, pains, and complications that you believe are related to your injury or mistreatment. Thorough symptoms journals are sometimes the most compelling forms of evidence in medical malpractice cases.
- Call a medical malpractice lawyer: Dial (800) 817-5029 to connect with our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys. Allow us to investigate your case sooner than later and while your memory of what happened is at its sharpest.
Is medical malpractice the same thing as medical negligence?
Medical negligence is a mistake or error that a medical provider makes when treating or working with a patient. If the patient suffers an injury or harm due to that mistake, then that act of negligence becomes malpractice. Although, in some contexts, the terms are used interchangeably.
What is New Jersey’s statute of limitations on medical malpractice?
New Jersey has a strict two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. The time limit can begin on the date the harm happened. The state’s discovery rule can make this deadline begin on the date that the patient should have reasonably known about the cause of the harm, though, which might be much later than when the medical malpractice incident occurred.
How do I know if I have a claim?
The simplest way to figure out if you have a valid medical malpractice claim is to talk to an attorney. There are many nuances to the law that will make your case challenging, so it is easier to trust a legal professional from the start.
Why are medical malpractice claims so difficult?
Medical practitioners and institutions have many legal and regulatory protections that are designed to make it more difficult to sue them for negligence. Navigating these rules can feel impossible without a lawyer’s help.
Do I need a medical expert’s testimony for my case?
In many medical malpractice cases, a court will not hear the plaintiff’s argument unless it is accompanied by a third-party medical expert’s testimony. Finding the right medical expert for your case – and paying for their services – is easier with an attorney managing your case.
Who can be liable for medical malpractice?
Essentially any medical staff member can commit medical malpractice. Claims can be filed due to the mistakes of healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, dentists, etc.), hospitals and healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, diagnostic laboratories, long-term care facilities, and healthcare corporations.
Will my medical malpractice case go to trial?
Many medical malpractices go to trial because the defendants try to bully the plaintiffs out of pursuing the claim. Medical institutions and their insurance companies know that the average plaintiff does not have the time, energy, or resources to litigate. Teaming up with an attorney can challenge their expectations.
Every injured patient deserves to have their voice heard. Let our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers be the ones who amplify yours. We would be honored to fight tenaciously and tirelessly in your name and in the pursuit of protecting patient rights throughout the state.
Schedule a FREE initial consultation with our firm now.