5 Things You Should Know About Medical Malpractice

By Greg Kohn

When you go to the doctor, you expect to feel better after your visit than you did before. Too often though, this is not the case. Whether you are injured due to a botched surgery or suffered needlessly due to a missed diagnosis, medical malpractice can cause serious injuries and death. Because knowledge is power, our medical malpractice attorneys have come up with a list of the most important things you should know about medical malpractice.

1. What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional has breached the standard of care. To breach the standard of care, the doctor or medical professional must have done something unreasonable under the circumstances, meaning that another doctor would not have done that same thing in similar circumstances. If an injury results from this unreasonable action or inaction, medical malpractice exists.

2. How Common is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Every year, medical malpractice claims the lives of between 200,000 and 400,000 patients. Up to 20 times that number suffer injuries that do not lead to death.

3. Is Medical Malpractice Always Present When There’s a Bad Outcome?

Not necessarily. Every medical procedure has risks, and every person responds differently to treatments. The fact is, even in the best circumstances, with the best doctors, bad results can occur. Even with the most advanced treatments, a patient’s health can deteriorate, even when no negligence is present. While a bad outcome is necessary to prove a malpractice case, a bad outcome does not mean malpractice was necessarily present.

4. Is There is Time Limit to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Yes. Generally speaking, in New Jersey, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within 2 years from the date the injury occurred or from when you should reasonably have been aware of the injury. There are specific circumstances where this time limit is different. For example, in the case of a minor patient, the minor has until their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against the negligent provider. However, if the minor died due to the negligence of a medical provider, the child’s parents have two years to file a lawsuit. Additional limitations apply to obvious injuries and injuries involving mental incapacity. Talk with an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you have questions involving medical malpractice time limits.

5. How Do You Determine Whether Medical Malpractice Occurred?

Proving medical malpractice is a complex undertaking and we recommend that you discuss any medical injury with a medical malpractice attorney before making any decisions to file or not to file a lawsuit. In short, there are four steps to prove medical malpractice occurred. These elements must be present to prove a malpractice case:

  • there must be a doctor-patient relationship.
  • you must be able to prove negligence was present
  • you must be able to prove that your injury resulted from that negligent behavior
  • you must be able to present proof of damages from the injury

Medical malpractice cases are complicated and should only be undertaken with an experienced medical malpractice attorney by your side. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers today.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.