Medical malpractice is one of the most complicated areas in law because it combines both legal and medical complications in an area of great social concern and activity. If you are concerned you may have suffered as a result of a doctor’s error, here are 5 essential things you need to know about medical malpractice.
1: Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Aren’t the Reason Medicine Is Expensive
Medical malpractice often gets discussed as if it’s the reason why healthcare costs in this country are so high. In fact, medical malpractice payouts amount to less than 1% of total healthcare expenditures in this country.
2: Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Aren’t Out of Control
Medical malpractice lawsuits have been in sharp decline in this country. In fact, Public Citizen found that they declined by 12% from 2000-2011, while healthcare costs increased by 97%. In fact, adjusted for inflation, both individual and total payments were at their lowest level since recordkeeping began, and the number of payments was at the lowest level as well.
3: Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Could Improve Care
It’s important to know that although you may get significant compensation for your injury, compensation isn’t all that’s at stake in your lawsuit. If you’ve been hurt by a doctor’s error, the chances are that you’re not the only one—many errors are either systematic or due to a certain doctor’s poor decisions. Your lawsuit may change the system or call attention to a bad doctor, which may save someone else from suffering similar injury.
4: You Need to Talk to Another Doctor
Ultimately, you’re going to need a medical doctor to testify in your malpractice case (and in New Jersey that means the doctor has to be the same kind as made the mistake), so if you suspect medical malpractice, you should get a second opinion about the procedure you had and your quality of care. If you don’t know where to get a second opinion and don’t trust your current doctor to give a good recommendation, a medical malpractice lawyer can help.
5: You Only Have a Limited Amount of Time to File a Lawsuit
As with most types of lawsuit, medical malpractice has what is known as a statute of limitations—a limited period of time that you have to file a lawsuit. In New Jersey, this is 2 years. Because you may not know about the error right away, you are allowed to file up to 2 years after discovery of injury, but the statute says 2 years from the date you should have reasonably known about injury, not when you discovered it, so you have to work quickly to avoid potentially losing your rights.
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, please contact Andres & Berger in Haddonfield, NJ today for a free initial consultation.