Children and Malpractice: What You Need to Know

Injuries to children because of medical malpractice are devastating. The long-term effects of the injury can include permanent disabilities and impairments. In some cases, malpractice can result in the death of a child. When a doctor’s negligence injures a child, parents can obtain information and guidance regarding their child’s legal rights from a New Jersey malpractice attorney.

What Do Parents Need to Know About the Legal Elements of a New Jersey Pediatric Malpractice Claim?

Pediatric malpractice is a form of medical malpractice and it is quite common. Therefore, the laws that apply to medical malpractice cases apply in pediatric malpractice cases as well. To prove the pediatrician or other medical provider committed malpractice, you must establish:

  1.     A doctor-patient relationship existed between the child and the physician that created a duty of care;
  2.     The physician breached the duty of care by providing negligent care or care that did not meet the medical standard of care;
  3.     The error or negligence was a direct and proximate cause of the child’s injury; and,
  4.     The child suffered harm or damages because of the injury.

The first and fourth elements are easier to prove than the second and third elements.

In most cases, a medical expert practicing in the same area of medicine explains the acceptable standard of care or level of care provided by qualified, competent physicians in similar situations. The medical expert must explain how the care provided by the pediatrician fell short of the acceptable standard of care and how that breach caused the child’s injury. Of course, the pediatrician provides an expert to refute the child’s expert.

What Do Parents Need to Know About the Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit for a New Jersey Pediatric Malpractice Claim?

In most cases, the deadline to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from the date of the malpractice. However, children have until their 18th birthday to file a pediatric malpractice claim. However, if the child’s condition was the result of a birth injury, the parents must file a malpractice lawsuit before their child’s 13th birthday. When a child dies because of medical malpractice, the parents have just two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.

What Do Parents Need to Know About the Affidavit of Merit in a New Jersey Pediatric Malpractice Claim?

When a person files a medical malpractice claim in New Jersey, that person must file an Affidavit of Merit within 60 days of the defendant’s response to the lawsuit. The court may grant a 60-day extension for good cause.

An Affidavit of Merit states that a reasonable probability exists that your child’s injury was the result of negligent medical treatment. The affidavit must include a declaration under oath from a medical expert that the care or treatment provided to your child did not meet the accepted standards.

Contact a New Jersey Pediatric Malpractice Attorney for Help

Pediatric malpractice cases can be complex and difficult to litigate. However, the advice and counsel of a New Jersey trial and personal injury attorney helps you seek justice for your child and full compensation for your child’s injuries and damages. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey pediatric malpractice lawyers today to discuss your options.