New Jersey Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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NEW JERSEY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
When a medically negligent health care provider injures a patient in New Jersey, the patient can recover damages for their injuries by bringing a medical malpractice claim. New Jersey medical malpractice, or “med mal” law, allows the patient to sue the negligent health care provider for both compensatory and punitive damages for their medical negligence. A health care provider is medically negligent in New Jersey when they injure a patient while administering a substandard level of medical care. Examples of substandard medical care include:
- Incorrect treatment or a failure to treat;
- Failure to diagnose or errors in diagnosis;
- Unreasonable delays in treatment;
- Surgery errors.
The proper standard of care is determined by the medical sector in which the health care provider works. To determine if you have been injured as a result of a New Jersey health care provider’s medical negligence, contact an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorney for assistance.
Who Can Be Sued in a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Case?
Any licensed health care provider in New Jersey may be held liable for medical negligence through a medical malpractice suit. A health care provider may include both individuals or entities, such as doctors, clinics, hospice care centers, medical day care centers, nurses, midwives, dentists, and psychologists. If you feel that you have received substandard care and suffered an injury as a result, contact a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney immediately to see if the negligent party falls within New Jersey’s definition of a health care provider.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
It is very important that a patient act quickly when they have been injured by a health care provider’s medical negligence. If the patient fails to file a claim before the statute of limitations lapses, they will lose the ability to bring the negligent party to justice for their acts. In New Jersey, a patient must bring a claim within two years of discovering the injury. This is different from the statute of limitations in many other states, which base the time period on the date of the negligent action. Thus, in New Jersey, in order to ensure that they file a timely claim, a New Jersey patient should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as they discover an injury they believe was caused by the negligence of a health care provider.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in New Jersey
Both compensatory damages and punitive damages can be recovered in a New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit. Compensatory damages (economic and noneconomic monies) are not limited in med mal claims. However, for punitive damages, a patient can only collect up to $350,000, or five times the compensatory damages, whichever is more. Furthermore, punitive damages will only be awarded in cases where the health care provider acts willfully or wantonly in injuring the patient. The facts of each case are different, and will dictate different amounts of recoverable damages. To determine the appropriate damages for your med mal case, consult an experienced New Jersey med mal lawyer.
Filing a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Claim
A medical malpractice suit is a costly and complicated lawsuit to file, and a patient that is interested in pursuing a med mal suit as a means of recovery for their injuries should not try to file a claim without the help of a med mal lawyer. In almost all medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses must be hired, multiple court appearances must be made, and depositions must be taken. This can be a long and intricate process, one best handled by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. This is especially true considering that most health care providers will have experienced insurance attorneys on their side, ready to build a solid defense for them. Further, because there is often more than one possible defendant in any medical malpractice claim, there may be multiple defense attorneys to deal with. For these reasons, an injured patient should consult a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney before filing a claim on their own. Any mistake made in litigating such a case could mean a partial or total loss of recovery.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Laws
- Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice: “Licensed person” defined: Title 2A, §53A-26.
- Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice: Actions for injury caused by wrongful act: Title 2A, §14-2.
- Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice: Determination of award; limitations; exceptions: Title 2A, §15-5.14.
- Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice: Affidavit of lack of care in action for professional, medical malpractice or negligence; requirements: Title 2A, §53A-27.