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What constitutes medical malpractice?

While it would be wonderful for all medical treatments and procedures to go exactly as planned, the medical world is fueled by people, and people do make mistakes. In some cases, treatment doesn't turn out as hoped even though no mistake is made. Given these truths, how do you know when you might have the basis for a medical malpractice suit?

Most cases that will be considered by legal teams have some basic characteristics in common. For example, the injury to the patient caused enough damages to make a suit worth filing. If a medical mistake resulted in the need for an additional procedure charged at $100 and no other damages were sustained, then a suit is unlikely. The types of damages usually at play in medical malpractice cases include long-term hardships, loss of work or wages, loss of life or companionship, disabling injury and long-term suffering.

For a successful suit, plaintiffs must also be able to demonstrate that the injuries or damages were the result of either negligence on the part of healthcare providers or a failure to provide a basic standard of care. Note that the law doesn't require the highest standard of care, but does require that professionals adhere to medical standards that are legally recognized by the industry and state and federal governments.

Obviously, some gray area exists within these definitions, which is why seeking counsel regarding a possible medical malpractice suit may be wise. New Jersey attorneys with an understanding of malpractice suits can evaluate the situation and provide guidance on whether a lawsuit may or may not be worth a plaintiff's time.

Source: Medical News Today, "What is medical malpractice?," accessed April. 16, 2015

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