What is Professional Malpractice?
August 6, 2020
Our lives are dependent on professionals. Whether we’re accessing healthcare, buying a vehicle, driving over a bridge or doing something as simple as getting our hair done, we trust that the people who designed and built our products and the individuals who treat us are trained and skilled professionals. So when something happens, one of our first questions may be asking: how did this happen? Learn more about what professional malpractice is, how it occurs and how you can move forward with a claim in the state of New Jersey.
The Definition of Professional Malpractice in New Jersey
Legally speaking, professional malpractice is what happens when a member of a profession breaks the standard of care and/or conduct he or she owed to the plaintiff. As such, professionals who can commit this particular type of malpractice can include everyone from doctors, lawyers, insurance agents and even accountants. In order to move forward with a valid professional malpractice claim, it must first be proven that the plaintiff (i.e. – the patient and/or client) was injured and suffered damages as a direct result of the professional’s negligence.
Is My Situation an Example of Professional Malpractice?
The answer: it depends. While there are many instances of things not panning out the way they were expected or intended, not every error can be considered professional malpractice. Unfortunately, common mistakes or errors are a part of life; people aren’t perfect. However, if you or someone you know has suffered as a result of any of the following egregious situations, you may have the basis to pursue a professional malpractice claim:
- Your real estate agent failed to disclose a significant defect in a home
- Your surgeon operated on or amputated the wrong part of the body
- The architect of a building failed to detect any flaws and/or review drawings before construction began, which led to your injuries
- Your accountant failed to provide accurate tax advice and/or engaged in embezzlement
- Your psychologist or other mental health professional sexually abused you or someone in your family
- Your insurance broker failed to provide the appropriate coverage
- Your lawyer failed to file a claim within the statute of limitations, making you lose out on your ability to collect compensation
These are just a few examples of how professional malpractice can occur and who can be held legally responsible for the harm that befalls the plaintiff and/or their family. Another egregious form of professional malpractice is when a mortician cremates a family’s loved one as opposed to burying them. This traumatic experience can be devastating for families and are one of the more egregious examples of how harmful an act of professional malpractice can be for those who experience it.
How Long Do I Have to File a Malpractice Claim in New Jersey?
The time limit you have to file a claim (also known as the statute of limitations) varies depending on the specific circumstances. In cases of medical malpractice, New Jersey residents have two years to file a claim. However, there are some notable exceptions to this rule. If the medical malpractice occurred to someone while they were a minor (under 18 years old), the statute of limitations does not formally begin until they reach legal age. However, this rule does not apply to children who have been the victim of birth injuries; individuals who suffered an injury at birth must have a claim brought forth by their parents by the time they turn 13. Another notable exception is that the statute of limitations does not begin until the person discovers or should have reasonably known about the injury. This is because some injuries may not be apparent right away or take time to develop.
In cases of legal malpractice – when a lawyer doesn’t uphold their duty to follow certain ethical and professional standards of conduct – individuals have six years to file a claim. This is under N.J. Stat. § 2A:14-1.
As you can see, knowing when to file a claim is crucial to receiving the compensation and justice you deserve. At the Epstein Law Firm, P.A., we have decades of experience handling these complex types of claims. Regardless of the type of professional malpractice you experienced, our firm can help.
Contact A Rochelle Park Professional Malpractice Lawyer To Discuss Your Case In New Jersey
Were you or a loved one harmed as a result of professional malpractice in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive professional malpractice attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represents clients in Ridgewood, Mahwah, Montvale, Teaneck, Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey. Call 201-380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic Street Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.