While the term "medical malpractice" is used to describe a wide range of lawsuits, medical malpractice essentially describes a medical provider's failure to conform to the accepted standards for their profession that results in injury or death. Medical malpractice can occur many ways including, but not limited to, delivery room errors, operating and emergency rooms errors, misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cancer and other serious medical conditions, and medication errors. In medical malpractice lawsuits, the injured patient is typically the plaintiff, and the medical provider the defendant.
There are four elements that a plaintiff must typically prove in order to succeed on a medical malpractice claim. First, the plaintiff must establish that the medical provider owed the plaintiff a "duty of care." Generally, whenever a doctor or other medical provider treats or performs a procedure on a patient, a duty of care is created and is owed to the plaintiff. Second, the plaintiff must prove that the medical provider breached the duty of care, or failed under the circumstances to conform to the required standard of care for their profession. Third, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the medical provider's breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of the injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must establish that they have suffered compensable damages.
Damages in these cases can include economic damages, such as loss of wages, reimbursement of medical bills and costs for future medical treatment and care. Recoverable non-economic damages may include compensation for pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. Under certain extreme circumstances, punitive damages may also be available.
Medical malpractice lawsuits typically require the services of expert witnesses to provide testimony on the plaintiff's behalf regarding the medical provider's behavior and the extent of the damages. The timeframe to bring a lawsuit for medical malpractice may vary based on the court where the suit is filed, the age of the injured plaintiff and a variety of other factors. For this reason, it is advisable to consult with a New Jersey / New York medical malpractice lawyer immediately if you believe that medical malpractice has occurred.
The Reinartz Law Firm is an experienced New Jersey / New York personal injury and medical malpractice law firm with offices in Jersey CIty, New Jersey and downtown New York City. We are experienced in assessing, managing and litigating medical malpractice lawsuits on behalf of seriously injured individuals. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, call us to schedule a free consultation.