Frequently Asked Questions
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the failure of a medical professional to act in accordance with reasonable and prudent medical standards. Malpractice claims may be filed if it is believed that such failure has resulted in injury, illness, or death. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have statutes defining the standards for medical malpractice cases in general terms, as do all states, so it is advisable to seek advice from an attorney with experience with malpractice litigation.
How common is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is all too common. Hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States are injured, become ill, or die because of medical errors annually. A Harvard University study found almost 98,000 deaths each year result from medical errors. Yet only about two percent of those affected pursue medical malpractice cases or initiate malpractice legal action, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Who can file a medical malpractice claim?
Any party who has been injured or becomes ill due to a medical practitioner’s negligence or mistake can file malpractice claims. If an infant suffers a birth injury due to error or negligence, the child’s family has the right to pursue malpractice legal action. Should medical malpractice result in wrongful death, the deceased’s dependents and beneficiaries may initiate medical malpractice cases.
Who can be sued for medical malpractice?
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, like all states, have their own statutes governing who can be held accountable in medical malpractice cases. In general, any medical professional who caused injury, illness, or death through negligence or wrongdoing may be held liable for medical malpractice. This includes physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency ER professionals, nurses, private hospitals, and government institutions. Because of varying state laws, it is best to consult a malpractice law firm or medical attorneys who handle malpractice litigation.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations sets the time limit after an injury, illness, or death due to medical negligence or error during which an aggrieved party must initiate formal malpractice legal action. Usually the statutes of limitation begins when the alleged medical malpractice occurs, but in some situations it begins when the affected individual discovers that malpractice has occurred. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, like all states, have their own statutes of limitation, so it is best to work with experienced medical malpractice law firms or medical negligence attorneys.
What can I recover through a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Those harmed by medical malpractice may seek medical malpractice settlements for both monetary and non-monetary damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Monetary claims can include medical expenses, lost income, and lost or diminished earning capacity. Non-monetary claims can include past and future pain and suffering. Should the healthcare provider’s actions be deemed gross or intentional, punitive damages may also be awarded.
How can I take action if I think I have a have been harmed by medical malpractice?
Anyone who has suffered a medical malpractice injury, illness, or in the case of a family member through malpractice death should consult a law firm that has medical negligence attorneys experienced and knowledgeable about malpractice litigation. A statute of limitations puts a limit on how long you can wait to begin action, so seek legal help as soon as possible.
Do I need a lawyer that specializes in medical malpractice?
Attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice have the knowledge, experience, and expert medical consultant contacts needed to pursue these long and complex lawsuits successfully. Malpractice cases require a deep understanding of both law and medicine. They are usually much more demanding than personal injury cases. Ask the legal counsel you consult about his or her experience in medical malpractice litigation.
How do I know if my case is worth pursuing?
A preliminary review of medical records is conducted to evaluate the actions of the medical professionals in delivering or failing to deliver treatment. Should the review determine that medical malpractice likely occurred, a legal review of the facts of the case will be conducted to determine whether pursuing a medical malpractice suit is advisable from a legal standpoint. Many factors go into this analysis, and they vary on a case-by-case basis. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have two-year statutes of limitation for the claims of adults on bringing medical malpractice lawsuits, as most states do, so it’s important to consult with appropriate malpractice legal counsel to get the answers you need as soon as possible.
Is a misdiagnosis the same thing as malpractice?
Failure to properly diagnose some medical conditions may be grounds for medical malpractice claims. For example, in many states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, included, stroke misdiagnosis and cancer misdiagnosis have both been found to constitute medical negligence. But each case is different, as are state laws. Consult a medical malpractice attorney experienced in litigating medical malpractice cases.