What You Need to Know If You Think You’re A Victim of Medical Malpractice in New Jersey

Medical malpractice can take many forms. It can be a doctor failing to correctly diagnose an illness, resulting in the condition worsening, or even leading to death. It can be a doctor, nurse, or even a pharmacist making a mistake with a prescription and leading to an adverse or tragic result. It can be a physician performing the wrong surgery, or an obstetrician failing to respond to a delivery appropriately and resulting in a birth injury. It can be any of these, and more. As different as medical malpractice cases can be, there are certain things that they all have in common. These are:

  • A professional duty was owed to the patient
  • There was a breach of the duty
  • The breach of duty resulted in harm or damage

If you believe that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice in New Jersey, it is important that you know the rules and limitations about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Here’s what you need to know:

Statute of Limitations

Statute of limitations is a legal term that refers to the amount of time that a victim has to file a claim against a defendant. In the state of New Jersey, medical malpractice claims must be filed within either two years of the date that the injury occurred, or from the date that you became reasonably aware that the injury or illness occurred. For example, a patient may have relied upon a physician’s misdiagnosis of a condition at the time of their appointment in January of 2017, then learned 9 months later in October that the diagnosis was incorrect. The statute of limitations would be two years after the October date, not the January date. Failure to file a medical malpractice claim within the two year window of opportunity precludes the patient’s ability to file a lawsuit.

Caps on Damages

Each state has its own rules regarding the compensation that a victim of medical malpractice is allowed to receive. In the state of New Jersey, there is no limit on compensatory damages. Compensatory damages include actual medical expenses resulting from the injury sustained. It also refers to other types of damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. The only type of damages that the state of New Jersey caps for medical malpractice cases is punitive damages, which are assessed as a form of punishment against actions that are viewed as being particularly egregious. New Jersey limits the amount of punitive damages that a plaintiff is permitted to receive to either $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever amount is higher.

Victims of medical malpractice are entitled to compensation for the wrongs that have been done to them and the harm that they suffered as a result of a healthcare practitioner or healthcare facility’s negligence. If you would like to know more about your rights, contact Wallace Law today to set up an appointment.