Becoming a doctor requires years of school and several more years of training. This is a good thing; the last thing that you want is to be treated by an underqualified doctor. It is because of this system of training that American doctors are typically some of the most skilled and qualified in the entire world. When a medical professional commits an act of negligence that leads to significant harm, a patient may have a medical malpractice claim.
If you are injured by medical malpractice, then you are likely entitled to financial compensation in a personal injury claim. Contact Rand Spear at Spear Greenfield, a highly skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyer in Camden, NJ for a free consultation and case review.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
The vast majority of doctors are caring individuals that try their absolute best to give you the care that you deserve. However, acts of negligence can be fatal in a medical environment. In fact, according to a study performed by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
In fact, that same study concluded that around 10% of all deaths in the United States were directly caused by medical errors. This means that more deaths are caused by medical errors than accidents, strokes, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or kidney disease. Essentially, if you take 10 people who died for any reason whatsoever, it is very likely that at least one of them died because of a medical error.
This incredibly high rate of medical errors means that there is a chance that you might have fallen victim to medical malpractice. If you have been injured by medical treatment and want to know if you have a case for medical malpractice, you need to contact a skilled and professional Camden, NJ medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
While there are an extraordinary amount of deaths attributable to medical error every year, this does not mean that there are an equally extraordinary amount of deaths attributable to medical malpractice. This is because an accident, even one made by a doctor, is not necessarily medical malpractice unless that accident was negligent.
Therefore, to prove medical malpractice, you must prove that your doctor acted in a way that breached their duty of care to you. You do this by proving negligence. Negligence in medical malpractice cases is met by proving 4 separate things: duty, breach of duty, and causation of your injuries. These 4 “elements” are broken down in detail below:
A duty is a legal obligation to refrain from doing something or to act in a certain way or with a certain amount of care. Whether or not a duty exists is a legal question. In medical malpractice cases, your doctor will always have a duty to you because of your doctor-patient relationship with them.
Your doctor’s duty is to provide, at all times, at least the amount of care that would be expected of a reasonably careful and qualified doctor under the same or similar circumstances. This means that average and above-average medical care is not negligence, but below-average medical care can be.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty means that your doctor acted (or failed to act) in such a way that fell below what would be expected of a reasonably careful and qualified doctor should that hypothetical doctor be placed in the same or similar circumstances. This is a subjective question that must be answered by the jury.
You prove breach of duty through expert testimony. While this might sound complicated, it really is not. You will essentially just need to have other doctors in the same field testify that they, and other doctors, would have acted differently than the defendant doctor.
Sometimes, a breach of duty is very easy to prove because of the doctrine of negligence per se. Basically, this rule says that if your doctor clearly deviates from acceptable practice (for example, if a surgeon leaves a medical tool inside your body after surgery), or if your doctor violates a law, the breach element of negligence is automatically met.
Causation of Your Injuries
While causation and damages are technically two separate elements, it is helpful to think of them as one because one cannot be present without the other. Essentially, to prove causation and damages, all you will need to show is that you were injured and that your doctor’s conduct was more likely than not the cause of your injuries.
Say, for example, the doctor left a sponge inside of you during surgery, and that sponge caused an infection which led to the amputation of your leg. You would prove damages by simply showing that your leg was cut off. And you would prove causation by showing that your leg would not have been cut off, except for the fact that your doctor did a negligent act.
Sometimes, causation can be difficult to prove, which is why your medical malpractice attorney in Camden, NJ will employ expert witnesses to testify to the jury about causation. However, at other times causation is very obvious. For example, if your doctor was supposed to amputate your right leg but instead amputated your left, you would clearly be both injured, and the doctor’s conduct would be the cause of that injury.
Camden Medical Malpractice Lawyer Near Me (215) 985-2424
Contact a Camden, NJ Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
While doctors are more often than not very skilled at what they do, they are not perfect. Unfortunately, this leads to thousands of injuries and deaths every year, causing financial, physical, and emotional injury to those affected.
If this happens to you or a loved one, you deserve justice. And the best way to get justice is by hiring a highly-skilled, experienced, professional, and compassionate medical malpractice lawyer in Camden, NJ. Contact Rand Spear and Spear Greenfield today for a free consultation and case review. We work on a no-win-no-fee basis.