If you’ve been injured by a mistake made by your doctor, New Jersey law places limits on how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and on the amount you can recover for your injuries.
The law places a time limit on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim against your doctor. That time limit is referred to as a statute of limitations. Under New Jersey law, you must file your medical malpractice claim within two years of the date your doctor made the mistake that injured you.
In some cases, your clock for filing a New Jersey medical malpractice doesn’t start to run when the doctor made the mistake. If you could not have realized that you were injured until some time after the mistake was made, the statute of limitation may not start running until you should have been reasonably aware that a mistake was made.
In addition to the time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim in New Jersey, there is also a limit place on how much a plaintiff can be awarded in a medical malpractice case. These limits are called damage caps.
Fortunately, only certain types of damages are capped. The primary damages that a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice case are compensatory damages. Those damages are generally the cost of your injury. That includes the medical bills resulting from the injuries your doctor caused you. There is no limit on compensatory damages in New Jersey.
In addition to the concrete financial injury resulting from your medical bills, a medical malpractice injury typically causes other, less easily measurable, damages. One type of damages falling into this category is non-economic damages. These include, for instance, pain and suffering damages, which compensate you for the physical and emotional pain you suffer as a result of your injuries. Like compensatory damages, non-economic damages are not capped by New Jersey.
The last types of damages that can be awarded in New Jersey are punitive damages. These damages are awarded only when a doctor’s behavior is particularly bad. As the name implies, punitive damages don’t necessarily compensate you for your injuries so much as punish the doctor. Punitive damages are limited by New Jersey law to the greater of five times your compensatory damages or $350,000.
Photo Credit: phalinn via Compfight cc