Doctors are not perfect, and mistakes sometimes happen at the hospital. While some mistakes are excusable, others are not, and you might have a medical malpractice case on your hands.
Medical malpractice injuries can sometimes be hard to identify, but they are based on negligent care from medical professionals that falls below standards of care. Filing medical malpractice lawsuits might require jumping through a few more hoops than normal, including obtaining an affidavit from another medical expert attesting to the lack of care. When gathering evidence for your claims, your medical records are of paramount importance. We should also have a medical expert review your records and provide their expert opinion on the matter in court. Damages should account for your medical expenses from the negligent care, medical costs of rectifying the damage, pain, suffering, and more.
Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 and speak to our medical malpractice lawyers about scheduling a free review of your case.
Identifying Medical Malpractice Injuries in Lakewood
Medical malpractice is sometimes hard to identify. In many cases, patients do not realize they have been injured until weeks, months, or even years after the malpractice initially occurred. In other cases, doctors try to cover up their mistakes by telling patients nothing is wrong. This is known as fraudulent concealment and might affect the deadline for when you can file your lawsuit.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional provides medical treatment that is below the standards of care. Defining the standards of care is challenging as they tend to fluctuate based on the circumstances.
Common examples of medical malpractice include surgeries gone wrong, misdiagnoses, and mistakes involving medication. Keep in mind that doctors are not expected to be perfect or get things right 100% of the time. As long as they believe their actions are in the best medical interest of their patient, a mistake may be excusable. However, if the mistake results from a failure to provide adequate care in line with standards of medical care, you might be looking at a malpractice case.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Lakewood
Filing a medical malpractice claim can be somewhat complicated. First, our medical malpractice lawyers must help you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitations, under N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-2(a), holds that plaintiffs have 2 years to file a medical malpractice case.
Exactly when this 2-yeard deadline begins to count down depends on your circumstances. Under the law, the clock may start ticking when the malpractice actually occurs or when the patient realizes the injury. In cases where surgical devices like sponges are left behind, a patient might not realize the injury until months or even years later. In that case, the clock starts counting down beginning on the day you learn about the injury.
If a minor is injured in a medical malpractice case involving injuries from birth, they have until their 13th birthday to file the claim. If they have reached the age of 12 and the claim remains unfiled, the minor may petition the court for a guardian to be appointed to bring the case.
When filing your case, you need an affidavit from a licensed medical professional attesting to the lack of proper medical care. According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-27, we must submit this affidavit within 60 days of receiving an answer from the defendants after filing the initial complaint. The affidavit requirement may be waived if we can show that the defendant failed to provide you with medical records or other information necessary to prepare the affidavit.
Evidence For Your Lakewood Medical Malpractice Case
Proving your claims in a medical malpractice lawsuit may be challenging because the subject matter is highly technical. As such, we need evidence that highlights your injuries and can be understood by the jury. Of all the evidence in our arsenal, your medical records are perhaps the most important.
Hospitals and doctors are required to document every single thing that happens to a patient. Even mundane things like checking in on the patient asleep in bed must be documented. As such, your medical records should be an accurate history of the subpar treatment you received. Your medical records are crucial to your case, but they might not be understood by a jury of laypeople with little to no medical training.
We can have a medical expert (e.g., another doctor) review your medical records and determine where the malpractice occurred and how it affected your injuries. Expert witnesses are unique in that they may offer their opinion about how the malpractice occurred and who is responsible.
Potential Damages in Lakewood Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice cases often involve heavy damages. Injuries are often complicated, and patients spend much time and money recovering. Not only can you claim the cost of the negligent care, but you can claim the cost of subsequent medical care necessary to remedy the injuries caused by the malpractice. For example, if you were injured in a surgery gone wrong, you can claim the cost of that surgery in addition to the cost of future surgery to fix the damage.
Medical malpractice injuries are often psychologically scarring. People are in very vulnerable positions when they receive medical care. Surgery itself can be traumatic even when everything goes right. Injuries inflicted by a trusted doctor can leave patients fearful of future medical care and other deep emotional wounds. You may claim significant damages for pain and suffering.
Generally, there are no caps on the damages you can recover for economic and non-economic losses and injuries. However, punitive damages might be capped. These damages are meant to punish defendants for their abhorrent behavior, and they are limited to 5 times the amount of your compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is more.
Call Our Lakewood Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 and talk to our medical malpractice lawyers about arranging a free assessment of your claim.