Newark Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical professionals and medical facilities have a legal duty to provide a standard of care to patients that meets the agreed-upon expectations of the medical community. When healthcare providers don’t meet this standard, patients suffer emotional harm, physical injuries, and sometimes death. Making matters worse, severe injuries sometimes prevent people from working, which may cause them to face financial struggles after falling victim to medical malpractice.
If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered harm because of a negligent medical professional or facility, New Jersey law entitles you to take legal action to recover damages for your injuries and related losses. The compassionate medical malpractice attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, understand the trauma of medical malpractice and can help. If you live in Newark or the surrounding area, contact us today online or at (973) 643-2707 for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your malpractice claim and determine the best course of action for your situation.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Advocates for Newark Medical Malpractice Victims
The compassionate and experienced Newark medical malpractice attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for clients and families who have faced injury and loss from medical malpractice. The firm’s consistent commitment to client advocacy and justice motivates our team to pursue the best outcomes possible for every client who suffers harm due to medical malpractice.
Examples of recent medical malpractice cases handled by Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, include:
$8,323,000 Settlement After an OB/GYN Performed a C-Section Too Late
Our client’s OB/GYN learned during an ultrasound that stool passed into the womb, but the doctor chose not to perform an immediate c-section. Instead, our client’s fetus was left tragically in a toxic womb to suffer damage. The fetus was born with cerebral palsy, requiring ongoing medical care for life. A medical expert confirmed that the OB/GYN deviated from standard medical procedures by not immediately performing a c-section, which allowed us to secure a settlement of more than eight million dollars for our client.
$4,000,000 Jury Verdict After a Doctor’s Failure Led to the Death of Newborn Twins
Our client was a healthy 34-year-old woman pregnant with twins. In her second trimester, she alerted her OB/GYN that she had some bleeding. A few weeks later, the woman’s ultrasound technician noticed issues and alerted the OB/GYN. Both times, the doctor said the bleeding was normal. During the next sonogram, the technician once again alerted the doctor because the woman’s condition had progressed. The doctor ordered bed rest, and our client went into labor a few days later and delivered her twins, who both tragically passed away within 30 minutes. Had the doctor taken appropriate action when first alerted of the mother’s bleeding, the twins likely would have survived.
$3,000,000 Settlement for Widower After Wife Died from Pregnancy Complications
Our client’s wife died six days after the routine childbirth of their first child. She was a high-risk pregnancy and developed preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, two common pregnancy conditions. The family went home two days after delivery, but the mother began to struggle with breathing and developed a cough. She returned to the hospital, where she died four days later. Had our client’s wife received proper medical care, she likely would have survived.
$1,600,000 Settlement for a Delayed Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Our client, a 57-year-old woman, visited her gynecologist for regular check-ups. During one visit, her doctor noticed abnormalities on her ovaries and ordered more tests. Her doctor reported that the tests were negative, when in fact, they indicated Stage 1 ovarian cancer. Our client suffered abdominal pain as cancer grew in her ovaries for two years when her doctor informed her she had Stage 3 ovarian cancer during her visit. The patient then needed immediate surgery and chemotherapy.
$1,475,000 Settlement for a Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Our 53-year-old client felt pain in her breast for four years. She and her doctor felt a lump in her breast, but her doctor told her not to worry about the pain and gave her a clean bill of health after a mammogram. After some time, our client insisted on more tests because her pain did not go away. Her lump grew, and a biopsy revealed that she had stage 2 breast cancer, requiring a mastectomy. Her surgery could have been prevented had the initial mammogram been read properly. The delayed diagnosis prevented our client from receiving any type of non-surgical treatment for her cancer that could have allowed her to keep her breast.
$1,300,000 Settlement After Poor Surgical Aftercare
Our client was a 33-year-old pregnant woman with high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia who had to undergo an emergency c-section. She delivered a healthy baby without complications, and after surgery, medical staff declared her stable and transferred her to a regular hospital room. The next day, someone found her unresponsive. She died because the surgeon failed to close the surgical site properly.
$450,000 Settlement for the Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer
Our client suffered from chronic back pain, which he communicated to his doctor multiple times. Testing indicated that he had a mass in his lung, but he never received these results. One year later, his doctor informed him that he had terminal stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to his bones. He only had a few months to live. Had his doctor diagnosed cancer earlier, the lung cancer would not have spread and would have been treatable.
The examples above give you an idea of medical malpractice cases, but they do not guarantee a specific outcome for your circumstances. The dedicated medical malpractice attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, will review your malpractice claim and pursue the maximum compensation commensurate with your injuries. We have the knowledge and resources to build a strong case against the medical professional or facility responsible for your injuries.
Medical Malpractice Encompasses a Wide Range of Actions and Failures
The broad legal definition of medical malpractice in New Jersey and throughout the United States refers to negligent acts or omissions committed by medical practitioners or facilities during the diagnosis, care, or treatment of patients. Lawsuits emerge when medical malpractice causes harm or injury. It’s important to note that not all injuries that occur in a medical setting constitute medical malpractice. Your lawyer can review the facts of your case to determine if you have a viable claim.
Examples of actions and failures that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit include:
Failure to Diagnose
Doctors who fail to diagnose illness and disease create some of the worst situations for their patients. For example, a doctor who misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose early-stage cancer may actually cause more damage. Cancer patients who find out about their disease too late do not have the same treatment options and sometimes have far less chance of surviving. Doctors make diagnostic mistakes for a variety of reasons.
Some might have a bad day, be in a rush, or suffer from inexperience, and others suffer from tunnel vision about specific symptoms. Failure to diagnose is often linked with a failure to order the right tests. Depending on the exact condition, illness, or disease, a patient might need x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, blood tests, urine tests, or other diagnostic tools. When doctors don’t follow the accepted diagnostic protocols accepted in the medical community, those doctors open themselves up to liability from a medical malpractice claim.
Inadequate Patient History
Sometimes, it may seem like overkill to give a detailed medical history to a doctor, but it has to be done to ensure proper medical care going forward. A person’s medical history offers clues about what medical issues they are currently experiencing, especially concerning illness and disease. Doctors who treat a patient without getting a full medical history risk misdiagnosis, which can lead to more damage and sometimes death.
One common malpractice situation that comes from the failure to obtain a patient’s medical history is allergic reactions to treatments and medication. Doctors who do not take the time to find out about previous allergic reactions risk causing major harm to a patient, giving rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Surgical errors are among the most dangerous of all medical malpractice situations. Sometimes responsibility falls on the surgeon for the error, but many different individuals make up a surgical team. Mistakes or breakdowns in communication lead to never events, such as wrong-site surgeries, wrong-person surgeries, and unnecessary procedures.
Leaving foreign objects, such as tools or surgical sponges in a body, is another hazardous surgical error. Fortunately, surgical errors are not as common as other types of malpractice, but they can devastate patients when they do occur. In some cases, a patient may require one or more corrective surgeries to fix or undo the damage. In other cases, injuries are permanent or lead to death.
Once upon a time, medication errors were often a problem because of doctors’ notoriously horrible handwriting when writing prescriptions. In today’s medical environment, doctors enter prescriptions into a computer system. Handwriting no longer poses a problem, but poor data entry does. However, this is not the only cause of pharmaceutical errors. Sometimes pharmacists make mistakes or mislabel medications.
Other times doctors simply prescribe the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage of the right medicine. Other times, doctors fail to notice a potentially dangerous reaction when a patient is on more than one type of medication. These types of errors can cause long-term damage to organs and other lifelong side effects, making it necessary for victims to take action by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Improper Use of Medical Equipment
Medical malpractice claims involving the improper use of medical equipment often involve children injured during childbirth from forceps, a vacuum, or another birthing tool. However, simple, everyday procedures, such as removing a breathing tube, can lead to a stroke, damaged vocal cords, or a collapsed lung.
Medical equipment includes crucial technology that saves lives, but when medical practitioners misuse that equipment, the consequences are sometimes unimaginable. Risks are involved with some equipment, but doctors who do not follow proper procedures put patients at risk for permanent harm or death.
Newark Medical Malpractice Victims Recover Damages
If you prevail in your medical malpractice claim, you could recover damages for injuries and losses related to the harm you suffered from malpractice.
Examples of common damages that malpractice victims receive in a settlement or jury award include:
- Medical expenses including ambulance, doctor visits, corrective surgeries, hospitalization
- Costs to transfer to another facility if applicable
- Lost wages for missing work due to malpractice injuries
- Estimated future lost wages for permanent injuries that prevent malpractice victims from returning to their job
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma from suffering harm during medical treatment or care
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement, which typically applies to unnecessary or botched surgeries
If you have tragically and suddenly lost a loved one because of medical malpractice, you also have the right to seek compensation for damages. Wrongful death medical malpractice claims work differently than a standard malpractice claim, so you will have to discuss your situation with your attorney for specifics. You may qualify to receive some of the damages listed above, as well as costs for a funeral and burial, but you must let a representative of the estate of the deceased bring a lawsuit on your behalf. Additionally, New Jersey law limits those who can file a suit and receive compensation after the tragic loss of a family member.
Common Questions Regarding Medical Malpractice in Newark
If a Newark medical provider has acted negligently and caused you to suffer harm, you have a difficult road ahead. You could be suffering physical pain, undergoing treatments you could have avoided, and likely feel sad, angry, traumatized, and/or depressed. Your medical malpractice injuries might also prevent you from working, so you are losing income as you accumulate more medical bills through no fault of your own. Fortunately, New Jersey law permits you to seek compensation for damages from your negligent medical provider by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex and have additional procedural requirements compared to traditional claims. Contact our experienced Newark medical malpractice lawyers as soon as you can to discuss your claim. Until you have the chance for an initial meeting, we’ve provided some preliminary information in the following answers to frequently asked questions about medical malpractice claims in Newark.
Do I need to hire a lawyer for a medical malpractice lawsuit against my provider?
Several factors involved with medical malpractice claims make them more complicated than other types of claims. Malpractice cases often include one or more medical professionals, their employers, and their insurance companies. Multiple defendants create more paperwork and require more coordination for statements, testimony, and trial, if applicable.
Additionally, New Jersey, like many other states, has special procedural requirements with which malpractice victims must comply. Hiring an attorney to represent you in your medical malpractice claim ensures that you meet required deadlines and have the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for the harm that you have already suffered and expect to suffer in the future.
What special requirements do I have to meet for my Newark medical malpractice claim?
The biggest difference between a New Jersey medical malpractice claim and other claims is an affidavit of merit. Once you bring a lawsuit against your medical provider, the provider must respond to the lawsuit. You have 60 days from the date of the provider’s response to provide the affidavit, which is a legal document in which a medical expert declares that the treatment or care of a patient did not meet accepted standards in the medical community.
The medical expert must be a licensed professional who can speak to the specific area of malpractice and confirm that you have valid grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The law does provide for exceptions when the negligence is obvious and does not require specialized knowledge for the jury to make a decision. For example, you do not need an expert witness to testify that leaving a surgical tool in your body is negligent and caused you harm.
How long do I have to take legal action against my medical provider?
If a medical professional’s negligence has harmed you or another loved one, you must comply with New Jersey’s statute of limitations for taking legal action. In most cases, you must bring a lawsuit against the medical professional and/or the facility within two years after the date of the malpractice. However, malpractice leads to a wide range of injuries that sometimes take time to show symptoms. The law allows for some exceptions because of the lack of specificity sometimes involved with malpractice injuries.
These exceptions include:
- Delayed discovery. If you consider some examples listed above, some patients did not learn of their condition or disease until months or years after a doctor misread test results or committed some other form of malpractice. Failure to diagnose malpractice and other types of medical malpractice sometimes lead to injuries that patients do not notice for weeks, months, or years. In these situations, the two-year statute of limitations begins when patients discover their injuries or should have reasonably discovered injuries.
- Child malpractice victims. Babies, toddlers, and young children cannot communicate the harm or injuries they suffered at the hands of a medical professional. Additionally, parents might not discover an injury until their child misses one or more developmental milestones. Even after a child presents symptoms or issues, it can take time to identify the source and cause of their injury. New Jersey law permits parents to take action for medical malpractice on behalf of their child up to age 13. Older children can request a guardian ad litem to take action on their behalf before age 18. If not, children who suffered malpractice injuries while underage have two years to file a lawsuit once they turn 18.
- Other exceptions to the statute of limitations. New Jersey law also allows courts to pause or toll the statute of limitations in certain cases. Patients who struggle to understand their injuries because of a mental disability can bring a lawsuit as needed without regard for time; however, the more time that goes by, the more difficult it may become to build a strong case.
Another potential reason for tolling the statute of limitations is the inability to serve the defendant(s) with the lawsuit, even after trying. Sometimes doctors leave the state, leave the country, or go into hiding if they have knowingly committed malpractice. It makes it difficult to comply with a time limit when the medical provider intentionally avoids the lawsuit.
How much is my Newark medical malpractice claim worth?
It’s impossible to predict the financial outcome of your medical malpractice case, as each case is different. Your attorney will place a monetary value on your claim after reviewing your case, but the defense will likely argue that your claim is not worth that much.
Many factors influence the value of a claim, including:
- Laws that limit the amount of compensation you can receive for your injuries
- The extent and scope of your injuries
- Your total amount of economic loss
- Your long-term prognosis
- How your malpractice injuries have affected your personal and professional life
- Whether injuries occurred intentionally, which is rare
- Whether your medical provider tried to cover up the malpractice
Once your attorney reviews the circumstances of your medical malpractice, he or she can give you a potential range for the amount of compensation that you could receive if you win your case.
Does New Jersey have limits on the amount of compensation that I can receive from a medical malpractice case?
Many states cap or limit the damages a medical malpractice victim can receive for their injuries.
In medical malpractice claims, the court divides damages into three broad categories:
- Economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and lost earning capacity
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and reduced quality of life
- Punitive damages, which are rare and only awarded by courts when a plaintiff proves that the defendant acted maliciously or with willful disregard for the safety of others
New Jersey has no cap on compensatory damages, which includes economic and non-economic damages. Plaintiffs can recover the full amount of their economic loss and whatever amount the jury approves for non-economic damages. However, the law does have an upper limit in the rare event that a court awards punitive damages.
In a New Jersey medical malpractice claim, the law limits punitive damages to no more than the greatest of $350,000 or five times the amount awarded for compensatory damages.
Will I have to testify in court for my medical malpractice case?
Both sides have an incentive to avoid going to trial. Litigation comes with many additional expenses, creating an additional financial burden for both sides. Your attorney will participate in settlement negotiations to reach a number that everyone agrees on, but negotiations sometimes fail. If negotiations succeed, you won’t have to testify in court, but you may need to give a statement and participate in a deposition at some point.
You might even have to informally testify if you participate in some form of alternative dispute resolution. You might not have to go to court or testify, but you should always expect and prepare for the possibility.
How long do I have to wait to resolve my Newark medical malpractice claim?
The length of time you must wait to settle your case or go to trial depends on the specifics of your malpractice claim. Some claims resolve in under a year, but this is rare. One of the most important factors that influences your case’s timeline is the scope of your injuries and your likelihood of a full recovery. Your lawyer and everyone involved must allow you time to heal before they can accurately value your claim. However, in cases that involve failed diagnosis of a terminal disease, the process could move faster.
Once doctors and your attorney have an idea of your long-term prognosis, settlement negotiations can begin. If they go well, your case could settle in under two years. If negotiations take a long time, or you need to go to trial, you can expect to wait at least two years before your medical malpractice case is involved. Your Newark medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and give you a better idea of your timeline and the factors that might delay your case.
Can I afford a Newark medical malpractice attorney to represent me?
Yes, everyone can afford and deserves legal representation after a medical professional has negligently caused harm. Our law firm accepts new cases on a contingency fee basis. In those situations, clients do not pay a retainer to hire a malpractice attorney, nor do they pay out-of-pocket. Instead, clients enter an agreement that allows the firm to deduct attorney fees and other costs of representation from any compensation the client receives for malpractice injuries, whether from a jury verdict or settlement.
How can a medical malpractice lawyer help me?
Malpractice victims and their families do not always realize the many ways in which a medical malpractice lawyer can help. We’ve mentioned the additional requirements that come with malpractice lawsuits, but lawyers do more than prepare documents and file paperwork. They also engage in a range of activities that serve to build a strong case against a medical provider, so the client has the best chances of receiving compensation in a settlement or jury award.
Examples of ways that a medical malpractice lawyer can help include:
- Evaluation. People suffer injuries and harm in medical settings all the time, but not all events constitute medical malpractice. Your attorney will review the facts of your claim and determine that you have a viable case before encouraging you to bring a lawsuit.
- Communication. The insurance company and those from the defense and possibly your medical provider will want to speak with you after you file a malpractice lawsuit. In some cases, they might want to prevent you from filing a lawsuit. It’s best to focus on your health and let a lawyer handle communication, protecting you from saying anything that might devalue your claim.
- Investigation. Building a strong case against your medical provider requires uncovering all facts relevant to your claim. Attorneys gather documents, medical records, speak to witnesses, and sometimes contact other patients to compile evidence that supports their clients’ claims.
- Valuation. Medical malpractice lawyers need to place a monetary value on their clients’ claims to negotiate a settlement and file a lawsuit. Adding up economic losses is simple, but assessing non-economic damages can be challenging. Attorneys rely on past cases and experience, but some also have to consult with other doctors and experts to accurately value a case.
- Negotiation. Medical professionals and the facilities in which those professionals work want to avoid the bad publicity that comes with a medical malpractice lawsuit. For that reason, many are willing to negotiate a settlement. Attorneys are trained negotiators that often get outcomes that their clients could not get on their own. Additionally, some insurance companies take malpractice claims more seriously when a victim has legal representation.
- Litigation. When settlement negotiations fail, or settlement is not an option, lawyers must prepare their clients’ cases for trial. If your case goes to court, your medical malpractice lawyer will advocate for you in court to help you fight for maximum compensation after falling victim to medical malpractice.
Get the Legal Help You Need in the Aftermath of Newark Medical Malpractice Injury
Suffering harm at the hands of a medical professional devastates victims and their families. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are supposed to save lives and cure illness, not cause trauma and injury. You don’t have to suffer economic losses on top of your physical pain. Instead, let an experienced Newark personal injury lawyer handle the details of your case, hold responsible parties accountable for malpractice, and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, online today or at (973) 643-2707 for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances.
50 Park Place, Suite 1101
Newark, NJ 07102