New Jersey Physician Negligence Attorneys
Compassionate and skilled representation for NJ patients harmed by their doctors
Medical malpractice can involve dozens of individuals, groups, or entities. A patient can suffer injury due to carelessness or mistakes from medical organizations to anesthesiologists to dentists. Often, however, patients are harmed by the negligent acts of their physicians, which we refer to as physician negligence.
One of the promises of the Hippocratic Oath, which medical students take on their journey to becoming a doctor, is “primum non nocere” – which means “first, do no harm.” Unfortunately, sometimes doctors do cause harm and injuries because of recklessness or negligence. Things like medical errors, delayed diagnosis, missed diagnosis, and other mistakes can prevent patients from getting the treatment they need, or getting the wrong treatment altogether.
The physician negligence and medical malpractice attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP in NJ are here to help if you or a member of your family were harmed by a doctor. Our lawyers have years of experience in these types of cases, and are ready to work to secure you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Fighting physician negligence on your behalf
Here in New Jersey, negligence is considered the failure to comply with the standard of care to protect a person from harm. From a medical standpoint, negligence from a doctor – called malpractice – is the physician’s failure to comply with the standard of care in the medical treatment of his or her patient.
Therefore, in a physician negligence case, the injured patient must establish the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed.
- A standard of care existed.
- The doctor had a duty to comply with standard of care in treatment of the patient.
- The standard of care was violated.
- The patient suffered harm as a result.
How is the medical standard of care determined?
There is no “formula” to determining standard of care. However, in physician negligence and malpractice cases, the standard of care a doctor owes a patient can typically be determined through expert medical testimony. Standard of care is also determined by whether or not the average physician practicing in the same field would have made the same treatment and care decisions as the defendant did under the same circumstances.
It’s important to remember that a poor or unfavorable result from a procedure or illness isn’t always the result of physician negligence. Unfortunately there are never any guarantees in medicine. However, doctors certainly can and do make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes can result in great harm to you or a loved one.
Examples of physician negligence in New Jersey
Following are a few examples of what might constitute negligent treatment by a doctor:
- Misdiagnosis. When your physician fails to diagnose a condition or disease, and the standard of care shows that he or she should have made that diagnosis, the physician was likely negligent and committed malpractice. These types of cases are common, but the most important piece is the standard of care.
Standard of care varies from region to region, as well as takes your physician’s level of experience and education into account. For example, a rural family physician with a small private practice would not be held to the same standard of care as a neurologist in a technologically advanced city hospital would. This is because each physician has a massively different set of resources and experiences to draw from.
Of course, both doctors in this example should be able to easily diagnose something like the flu or an ear infection. However, in the case of a more complicated diagnosis, it may be more difficult to argue that the rural physician was negligent if he or she missed something like a rare brain condition. The city neurologist, on the other hand, might be considered negligent for missing the condition, as he or she has access to much more information and technology.
- Errors in treatment. Treatment errors often go hand-in-hand with failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis. If your doctor is negligent in diagnosing your condition, then it’s likely that the prescribed treatment is incorrect. For example, if your physician misdiagnoses you with cancer, any prescribed chemotherapy or radiation can have a detrimental effect on your health. This error in treatment, resulting from your doctor’s cancer misdiagnosis, can be considered physician negligence and malpractice.
- Surgical errors. Physician negligence can also apply to surgical errors. These can be easily identifiable errors like leaving a surgical instrument inside the body, amputating the wrong limb, or performing the wrong procedure. However, surgical errors can also include things like performing a procedure without informed consent. When they cause harm, all of these errors can be considered physician negligence.
- Pharmaceutical errors. When prescribed and used as directed, the benefits of prescription drugs typically outweigh any negative side effects. However, if your physician prescribes an inappropriate medication for your condition (whether through misdiagnosis or error), he or she has violated the standard of care and acted negligently.
Protecting NJ patients injured from doctor negligence and errors
When we’re feeling sick, we usually turn to our primary care physicians or family doctors for care. There are times, however, when a doctor may fail to refer a patient to a specialist when he or she encounters an issue that’s beyond his or her level of experience or knowledge, or fail to order the necessary tests to make a proper diagnosis. Sometimes physicians don’t follow up on test results, CT scans, or MRIs that would otherwise reveal treatable conditions or medical issues.
It’s true that most doctors are skilled and competent, providing help to their patients every day. However, there are also thousands of unfortunate situations where a doctor’s irresponsible actions cause patients great harm. Physicians can commit medical negligence in a variety of ways, including misreading tests, incorrect medical instructions, inadequate informing of risks, failure to listen to or communicate with patients, and more.
No matter how strong your case may appear to be, going up against physicians and their insurance companies can be a herculean task. Having an experienced and skilled legal team on your side gives you the best chance for a successful medical malpractice claim.
Talk to our reliable New Jersey physician negligence attorneys
You should be able to trust your doctor with all of your health concerns. When your doctor betrays that trust and harms you by being careless or negligent, you may have cause for malpractice. The lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can investigate your case and work with you to seek justice. We have offices located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or fill out our contact form.