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Patients who have been injured due to a medical provider’s negligence may bring a medical malpractice claim. The law recognizes that, in certain relationships, one person owes a duty of care to another. Medical professionals are relied upon for their high level of knowledge and skill and are held to a specific standard of care. When they breach their duty to provide that standard of care and a patient is injured, they may be held liable for the damage they negligently caused.
To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must first establish that there was a doctor-patient relationship that gave rise to the medical professional’s duty of care. They must then show that the medical professional failed to uphold the accepted medical standard of care and that failure constituted medical negligence. Finally, they must prove that they suffered quantifiable harm due to the medical professional’s negligence.
The medical standard of care element is often the most difficult to prove. It must be shown that the medical professional failed to provide the level of care that a prudent, similarly-trained health care professional in the same medical community would have provided. This is typically established by expert medical witnesses who practice in the same community as the accused medical professional and whose area of expertise pertains to the patient’s condition.
A plaintiff can show that the medical standard of care was breached by showing how the medical professional’s behavior amounted to medical negligence. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies and other health care service providers may all be held liable for medical malpractice. Common reasons for medical malpractice suits include poor medical treatment, misdiagnosis, lack of informed consent, breach of doctor-patient confidentiality and prescribing a medication without consideration as to whether it will negatively interact with another medication the patient is currently taking.
First, the patient should contact the medical professional to see if the situation can be remedied without legal intervention. The medical professional may be willing to correct the issue or provide an amicable solution. If not, the patient may then contact the licensing board in charge of medical licenses. The licensing board may issue a warning or other disciplinary action to the medical professional and guide the patient in taking further action.
Patients injured by a medical professional’s negligence may then wish to bring a medical malpractice suit. It is important to pay attention to the statute of limitations; this will dictate how long plaintiffs have to bring a claim. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. Therefore, medical malpractice claims must be brought within two years from the date of the medical error or the date on which the injury was discovered. An experienced medical malpractice attorney should be able to help plaintiffs evaluate their claims, follow filing requirements and obtain compensation for their injuries.
If you were harmed due to a medical professional’s negligence, contact a South Jersey medical malpractice lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. We assist victims of medical negligence throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, from our offices in Cherry Hill, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-354-9444.