In most situations, New Jersey residents can inherently trust doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide competent and compassionate care at all times. Unfortunately, if a healthcare provider does fail to meet the standard of care for their field of expertise, the results can often be catastrophic for impacted patients, potentially resulting in lifelong disabilities or even premature death.
If you suffered a serious injury due to negligence by anyone in the healthcare industry, you should consider reaching out to a New Brunswick medical malpractice lawyer and exploring your legal options. Given the additional restrictions that apply to this special type of case, getting assistance from a personal injury attorney with experience helping individuals in your situation could be crucial to effectively seek recovery.
Because of the high-stakes environments that medical professionals work in, they have a great deal more leeway than a typical person when it comes to liability for personal injuries. In order to hold a healthcare provider financially liable for damages borne of negligence, a prospective plaintiff must create and file an “expert affidavit” alongside their initial complaint, as per New Jersey Revised Statutes §2A:53A-27.
As the name suggests, this affidavit must include testimony from a medical professional in the same field as the prospective defendant(s) affirming that the defendant(s) likely violated professional standards for treatment. Importantly, what constitutes a breach of such standards can vary significantly depending on the circumstances—for instance, a mistake made while treating multiple patients at once in a crowded ER may not be considered unreasonable for the circumstances, while the same mistake made during a private consultation with one patient could justify a malpractice claim.
The applicable deadline for filing an expert affidavit for a malpractice case is 60 days after the prospective defendant’s legal counsel files a formal Answer to the prospective plaintiff’s initial complaint. A New Brunswick medical malpractice attorney could provide critical help seeking input from a qualified medical professional and ensuring this affidavit is submitted in a timely fashion.
A valid malpractice claim could allow a plaintiff injured by a doctor’s negligence to recover for both economic and non-economic damages. In non-legal terms, it may be possible to seek compensation not only for objective losses like additional medical bills and missed work income, but also subjective forms of harm like physical pain and suffering. Furthermore, state law imposes no “caps” on recovery for any compensatory damages stemming from medical negligence, although it does limit recovery for punitive damages to $350,000 or five times compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. §2A:14-2, anyone who wishes to hold a healthcare provider liable for negligence must file their initial claim within two years of discovering that their injuries stemmed from medical malpractice. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that a medical negligence lawyer in New Brunswick could explain in further detail if they apply to a particular situation.
Negligence by healthcare providers tends to make for especially complicated civil claims, as there are numerous rules and restrictions for these cases that do not apply to other forms of personal injury litigation. If you do have valid grounds for a claim, though, a successful settlement demand or lawsuit could allow you to recover for the full value of harm your doctor’s reckless or careless behavior caused you to suffer.
Retaining a New Brunswick medical malpractice lawyer is often a key first step to a positive case outcome. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.