What is Required to File a Medical Malpractice Suit in NJ?
May 3, 2022
If you have been injured or suffered a medical condition or complication after receiving treatment or undergoing a medical procedure, you may have a medical malpractice claim against your treating provider. But what is required for you to file and win a medical malpractice case?
Contact the Provider
In some cases, it may be possible to avoid the need for a medical malpractice claim if a patient has suffered harm from provider negligence but is still alive. Some providers may be willing to acknowledge their error, explain what went wrong, and provide the treatment or care necessary to help the patient recover from whatever harm or injury they may have experienced at little or no cost to the patient.
What Evidence Is Needed for a Medical Malpractice Case?
However, many other healthcare providers will deny their legal liability for the harm suffered by a patient, which may sometimes be based on the provider’s good faith belief that they rendered adequate care to the patient who simply suffered a complication or did not benefit from the treatment. To prove that the harm you suffered was the result of your healthcare provider’s actionable negligence, you will need to marshal substantial evidence to prove a causal link between your provider’s treatment decisions and actions and the harm you have suffered. This evidence may include:
- Your medical records
- The provider’s treatment notes
- Staffing records
- Eyewitness statements
- Video footage, such as surveillance video or a video recording of your procedure
Establishing the Standard of Care
A provider can only be held liable for medical malpractice when they render treatment that fails to comply with the applicable standard of care in your case. While the exact standard of care is specific to your case, generally speaking, the standard of care is defined as the decisions or actions that other reasonable medical providers of similar training and experience would undertake in identical circumstances. That means that a provider will not be held liable when other providers would have done the same things in their place, even if the patient suffered harm or a worsened condition.
Proving a Provider’s Negligence
In most medical malpractice cases, you will need to hire an expert witness who can testify as to:
- The applicable standard of care in your case
- How your provider’s actions failed to comply with the standard of care, and
- How the failure to comply with the standard of care caused the harm or loss that you have suffered
Typically, this expert witness will need to be another medical professional of the same qualifications as the provider you are filing your medical malpractice claim against. For example, if you are asserting a malpractice claim against an orthopedic surgeon, you will need to obtain expert witness testimony from another orthopedic surgeon. Hiring a doctor from another specialty like cardiology or neurology will usually lead to your expert’s testimony being excluded by the court.
In rare instances, a medical malpractice claim does not require expert testimony. This usually only occurs when the circumstances of the case are such that a provider’s negligence is apparent even to someone without formal medical training, such as when a surgeon leaves an instrument inside a patient.
Documenting Injuries and Losses
Finally, to recover compensation in a malpractice claim, you will need to prove that you have suffered injury and loss. This may include needing to undergo additional treatment for physical injury or a more advanced medical condition that resulted from a provider’s negligence, or lost income if you cannot work.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Rochelle Park medical malpractice attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Mahwah, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Newark. Call us today at 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
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.