Medical errors and medical negligence do not always lead to a medical malpractice claim. Proving that a doctor or medical facility made an error or was negligent is not enough to prove medical malpractice in New Jersey. You must also prove an injury and damages to have a valid medical malpractice claim. Because cases involving malpractice can be extremely complex, consulting an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorney can increase your chance of success.
Legal Elements in a Medical Malpractice Case
In most cases involving medical malpractice, there are four basic legal elements that you must prove to be successful in recovering compensation. Those four elements are:
For a doctor to owe any duty of care to you, a doctor-patient relationship must exist. The same applies in all cases involving medical malpractice. In most cases, consent to treatment or other forms you sign during your first visit or before you receive treatment is enough to establish the relationship, which then establishes the duty of care.
Violation of the Medical Standard of Care
The second element is proving that the error or negligence was a violation of the medical standard of care. The standard of care may differ depending on the situation. A medical expert is required to examine the medical records and determine what a reasonably trained medical provider in the same field would do in similar circumstances. The medical expert must also determine how the provider deviated from the accepted standard of care.
The Breach of Care Caused an Injury
Without an injury, negligence or errors may not rise to the level of malpractice. You must prove that the negligence or error directly resulted in or caused a physical injury that would not have occurred had it not been for the breach of care.
The Injury Resulted in Damages
In most cases, if the medical negligence or medical error resulted in an injury, the person also has other damages. You may incur financial damages, including the cost of medical treatments, personal care, and loss of income. Noneconomic damages, such as physical pain, scarring, permanent disability, and emotional distress, may also be included.
Evidence in a Medical Malpractice Claim
To prove medical malpractice, you need evidence that proves each of the above legal elements of a malpractice action. Your attorney conducts an extensive investigation to gather evidence. Examples of evidence used in a medical malpractice case include:
- Copies of all documents from your medical files and records
- Reports and testimony provided by medical experts
- Depositions of the defendants, witnesses, and other individuals
- Information gathered from medical resources, such as studies, research, etc.
- Photographs and videos of your injuries
- Proof of financial damages, including receipts, bills, statements, and proof of income
Contact a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney for Assistance
An unpleasant outcome is not necessarily medical malpractice. However, it is usually best to speak with a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney to determine if you may have a malpractice claim if you suspect your medical provider caused your injury. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers today.