When Is It Medical Malpractice?
Doctors aren’t perfect. Every surgery has risks. Some patients wait too long to seek care. Not every bad outcome of medical treatment is grounds for a lawsuit. However, when medical providers do cross the line, they can be held accountable.
How do you know if you have a medical malpractice case? There are certain criteria, but the best judge of your possible claim is an attorney who has litigated these cases. I am Peter G. Aziz, a trial lawyer who has successfully sued doctors and hospitals across New Jersey. I invite you to a free consultation and case evaluation to determine if you have a solid basis to sue.
The Elements Of A Viable Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice is tough. The standard of proof is high, and juries want to give doctors the benefit of the doubt. A successful lawsuit must establish three things:
- Wrongdoing: Malpractice means the doctors or nurses strayed from standard medical practices or ignored safety protocols. Examples include severing a nerve in surgery, extracting the wrong tooth, failing to order cancer screening tests or discharging a patient who was in obvious medical distress.
- Damages: A mistake by itself is not grounds to sue. The patient must suffer some lasting harm, such as life-threatening illness, permanent scarring, nerve damage or disabling injury. “No harm, no foul.”
- Causation: We must show a clear connection between the negligence and the harm. The defense will argue that the patient had a pre-existing medical condition or that the adverse outcome might have happened anyway.
To discourage “frivolous” lawsuits, New Jersey law requires an affidavit of merit from another doctor who practices in the same field. In a nutshell, that peer physician must attest that malpractice likely occurred.
Examples Of Medical Malpractice
Malpractice can occur during any medical treatment, for example:
- Surgery or anesthesia mistakes
- Failure to diagnose cancer at a treatable stage
- Misdiagnosis leading to unnecessary surgery
- Injuries in childbirth
- Dental malpractice
- Medication errors, such as administering the wrong drug
Find Out If You Have A Case
Many malpractice claims do not pan out because the patient suffered no real damages or because the doctor did not clearly breach the standard of care. But if you do have a case, it is important to involve a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawsuit must be carefully documented – which takes months – and it must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
I have offices in Clifton and Hackensack, and I welcome medical negligence cases throughout North Jersey and statewide. To schedule a free consultation, call me at 973-928-0577 or use the online contact form.
The Law Offices of Peter G. Aziz & Associates LLC handles medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee. This means there is no upfront cost and you owe attorney fees only if I secure compensation through a settlement or verdict.