When we leave our health to the care of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or care provider, we expect to receive the treatment we need. Unfortunately, that's not always the reality for some patients.
If you think a medical professional may have been negligent in caring or treating you, read on to determine whether you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.
Do you have proximate cause?
Proximate cause is a legal term that constitutes whether a person has cause to take action in court. The following must be true of your circumstance to sue another party for acting negligent:
- A duty was owed to someone - the medical professional was responsible for caring for you
- That duty was breached either by action or inaction.
- The breach of that duty resulted in harm or damage to someone
If the injury would have happened regardless of whether the alleged act of malpractice occurred, a negligence claim may not be valid.
Are you within the time limit?
The statute of limitations to make a medical malpractice claim is two years from the date of the injury or from the date the injury was discovered. Birth-related medical malpractice claims, however, can be filed any time before the minor's 13th birthday.
In New Jersey, there are no caps on the amount of damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Except for punitive damages, a defendant has no limit on the compensation he or she can gain to cover medical bills, medical equipment, lost wages, travel expenses and more.
However, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very complicated. For example, after filing a claim, you must provide an affidavit of merit within 60 days of your health care provider's response to the lawsuit.