Medical malpractice attorneys have to prove that the physician whom their client accuses of having committed malpractice actually made a mistake. But medical malpractice attorneys also have to satisfy many other legal requirements to successfully represent their clients. A recent New Jersey appeals court decision illustrates these points.
Mr. Medina accused several eye doctors of committing medical malpractice. They allegedly failed to remedy a treatable eye condition in a timely manner. As a result, Mr. Medina became blind.
Mr. Medina hired New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys to sue the doctors. The lawyers filed a lawsuit in time.
As required by law, the medical malpractice attorneys also hired an expert witness. The role of an expert witness is to explain to the jury exactly what the malpractice consisted of.
By law, the victim’s expert in a medical malpractice case in New Jersey must be a physician. The expert must practice in the same specialty as the accused doctors. The medical malpractice attorneys thus made sure to retain an ophthalmologist or eye doctor for Mr. Medina.
Trouble was, New Jersey law also requires that, during the year immediately before the claimed medical mistake, the expert witness must have devoted a majority of his professional time to active clinical practice. However, the expert hired by Mr. Medina’s medical malpractice attorneys had retired about nine months before the date of the claimed medical mistake. Whoops!
As a result, the judge permanently dismissed Mr. Medina’s lawsuit. The medical malpractice attorneys filed an appeal. But the appeal failed. The appellate judges upheld the dismissal. Unless the victim’s attorneys successfully appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Mr. Medina will not receive any compensation from the doctors.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS MUST USE ONLY QUALIFIED EXPERTS
This case shows why it is crucial for victims of medical malpractice to hire experienced medical malpractice lawyers. Lawyers who are familiar with the many technical requirements involved in bringing a medical malpractice case.