It requires a lot of trust to potentially put your life in the hands of someone else. A doctor even with ten years of education is not infallible; every human being is capable of making a mistake. The physician’s errors, as opposed to those made by a local baker or crossing guard, can be incredibly costly and often life changing for the patient. When the doctor fails to meet the “standard of care” that’s when the patient is able to begin the process of suing for malpractice. “Standard of care” is defined by what the average physician would have done in the same position. Whether it’s a surgery error or an incorrect diagnosis, the patient is allowed under New Jersey state law to try and collect both compensatory and punitive damages.
The difference between compensatory and punitive damages is that the compensatory damages are to be directly related to the injury suffered and calculated to determine the amount necessary to make the person complete again. There is no cap placed on compensatory damages in this state. Punitive damages are to punish the defendant for extreme negligence. They are often awarded to serve as a warning to others in a similar position. In New Jersey there is a cap of $350,000 placed on punitive damages.
A medical malpractice suit is notoriously difficult to win. According to a Forbes article more than 80% of the claims end without payment.
The threshold of evidence needed to prove the doctor was acting with negligence is often difficult. You have to show that the doctor was not only acting negligently but also that the patient suffered specifically because of the negligence. Often the defense will be that the injury to the patient would have happened whether or not there was negligence.
If the case is not settled out of court and it goes to trial there are a whole new set of hurdles waiting. Juries often want to give the doctor benefit of the doubt. Unless there is a glaring mistake such as leaving behind a surgical instrument or clamp inside the body, the jury rarely sides with the plaintiff. A good medical expert will be able to hopefully communicate the finer points of the mistake the doctor made but they still may not be able to grasp how the particular procedure affected the plaintiff’s life.
The largest factor in determining your chances in a medical malpractice suit will be the choice of lawyer. Experience is a necessity not only for hiring the expert witnesses but when it comes time to discuss the settlement insurance companies will want to deal with someone who has handled malpractice cases before. If you still believe that you or someone you know may have suffered due to a doctor’s mistake please reach out to the Simon Law Group for a free consultation.
If you are seeking representation for a medical malpractice case, call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out acontact form on our website for a no-cost consultation.We hope to hear from you today!