The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

Every year, millions of Americans will seek medical care for an illness, injury, or routine examination.  While most physicians and other medical professionals are competent and well trained, medical malpractice continues to occur at alarmingly high rates nationally.  In fact, a recent John Hopkins study suggests that medical errors lead to over 250,000 deaths each year.  If you believe you have been injured by a medical professional, you are likely wondering whether you have a viable medical malpractice case.  Our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers discuss the basics of medical malpractice cases below.

Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Case

Not every medical mistake will amount to medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a legal term used to describe an instance in which a medical professional fails to provide treatment that meets the medical standard of care under the circumstances.  Proving medical malpractice can be challenging and you will need to meet several critical factors in order to have a case.

Circumstances that must exist in any medical malpractice case include:

  • The existence of a doctor-patient relationship:  The doctor needs to have been treating you or overseeing your care.  You could not, for example, sue a doctor that treated your friend if you copied the medical treatment.
  • Breach of the standard of care: To be actionable, you will need to demonstrate that the care your physician provided fell below the accepted medical standard of care.  The medical standard of care is the type and amount of skill that a similarly trained health care provider would provide.
  • A causal connection between the medical professional’s negligence and the harm suffered:  You will need to establish that the medical professional’s substandard care caused your injuries.  For example, your physician’s misdiagnosis caused a worsening of your condition.
  • Damages:  Medical malpractice cases require damages in order to be actionable.  Damages could include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Statute of Limitations

In addition to meeting the elements of a medical malpractice case, you will need to ensure your potential medical malpractice action is timely.  In New Jersey, you will generally have two years from the date of your injury to bring an action.  At times, you will be allowed two years from the date on which you discovered you were harmed by medical malpractice.  Contact a medical malpractice attorney for more assistance with your potential case today.

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