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Malpractice claims and the element of “causation”

When a medical patient is injured in New Jersey, the question arises as to whether the doctor was responsible. If the doctor did not follow the widely accepted standard for care in his or her field, then that may prove medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice. For a medical malpractice claim to work, though, a second element must be proven: that the negligence led to the injury. The two do not always go together.

There are many situations that could be given as examples. Surgical procedures are well-known for their side effects and complications, all of which may arise without one slip made by the surgeon. For this reason, one cannot jump to a connection between a surgical complication and negligence.

The diagnosis of certain conditions, if delayed or altogether incorrect, may cause a worsening of that condition, but this is not always the case. Cancer requires extensive treatment, and cancer patients die at a high rate, so the death of a cancer patient cannot necessarily be linked to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

Cases involving orthopedic injuries may run into obstacles, too. A doctor may properly reset a broken bone, yet the patient may still experience mobility limitations and other problems. It would be wrong, then, to say that wherever there is negligence, there are these problems.

For those who think they have the basis to claim doctor negligence, these facts may encourage victims to consult with a lawyer. Most lawyers don’t want to waste their own or others’ time, so they may be able to say accurately if a case is worth pursuing or not. A strong case might end in a settlement covering all the victim’s economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, the need for rehabilitative care, lost wages and a compromised earning capacity.