Like all New Jersey personal injury claims, a New Jersey medical malpractice claim arises from injury on account of negligence. Unlike a driver who’s blown a stop sign, however, a medical malpractice matter involves the conduct of a healthcare professional whose actions are compared to the medical community’s accepted standards of care.
Therefore, to prove that a particular doctor or nurse has been negligent, a qualified expert from the same medical specialty is typically required to render an opinion after review of the patient’s pertinent medical records.
If the expert finds negligence, the next question is whether the doctor or nurse’s negligence has done the patient harm. After all, we don’t normally seek medical care in the first place unless there’s already something wrong with us.
Sometimes, the injury caused by the negligence is obvious, even to the untrained layperson. In other words, you don’t need an expert to know that leaving a scalpel inside a patient is unacceptable. But most of the time, the connection between the negligence and the patient condition is not perfectly clear. Instead, this connection is complicated by questions of causation – did any or all of the patient’s ailments arise from a pre-existing injury or disease, rather than from acts of malpractice? In such cases, another expert specializing in the particular injury is often required to establish a clear connection between that injury and the alleged medical negligence.
Finally, the attorney and his client need to carefully assess exactly what kind of harm has been caused by the medical malpractice. Is the client’s resulting injury slight or serious, permanent or temporary? In fact, when evaluating the risks and rewards of prosecuting a medical malpractice claim, severity of injury is really the first and most important question.
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Legally speaking, any kind of harm caused by medical malpractice is eligible for compensation, but as a practical matter, one must carefully consider whether spending a lot of time and money on a risky and contested case would be worthwhile when the claim that has limited monetary value. That said, If you believe you’ve got a worthwhile case, do not hesitate contact experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers NJ immediately for a free consultation concerning the wisest course of action.