Do I need a lawyer to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in NJ or PA?

First of all, why would you want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your own?!

Do I believe that an average, intelligent person can handle their own divorce or file suit in small claims court?  Absolutely.  However, when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, I firmly believe that a person must be represented by an experienced trial attorney.

Most licensed attorneys won’t even take a medical malpractice case because they are so complicated and risky.  Hospitals have deep pockets and hire only the best lawyers to handle their medical malpractice suits.  These attorneys have exceptional trial skills and comprehensive medical knowledge.  If the majority of practicing attorneys refuse to go up against these guys, why would an average, intelligent person want to do the same?

Furthermore, consider the expenses that go into a medical malpractice lawsuit.  Experts cost thousands of dollars.  Doctors charge thousands of dollars just to show up in court.  Medical records cost money.  Independent medical examinations cost money.  A lawyer may literally spend $100,000 before he/she even steps foot in a courtroom!  That’s a heavy burden for a small law firm, let alone an injured person living off of a disability check or SSI because of their injuries.

I’m sure the number one reason that someone would want to file their own medical malpractice lawsuit is because they do not have money to hire an attorney.  While that may be a legitimate concern in other areas of the law, medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis.  This means that we do not get paid unless the client wins.  If god forbid we loose, all of the expenses listed above come out of the attorney’s pocket– not the client’s.

So if you are truly hurt and are counting on a settlement just to get by for the next few years, why would you risk that chance by trying to handle things on your own?  I may have drills in my toolbox, but if I need a root canal, I’m going to the dentist!  I don’t have the skills or know-how to perform my own dental work.  The same holds true with medical malpractice lawsuits.  If you are hurt, don’t jeopardize your chances of winning your lawsuit and being able to put money aside to take care of yourself in the future.  The hospital or doctor you’re suing WILL hire a professional, and I suggest you do the same!

Hopefully now you’ve changed your mind about going at it alone!  If you are ready to contact an experienced medical malpractice law firm, we would be more than happy to help you with your case.  Either fill out the case evaluation form on the left side of the page, or call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.  A medical malpractice attorney and licensed nurse will contact you within 12 hours.

For further information on medical malpractice lawsuits in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, click on the following links:
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys.

Why Does a Trial Lawyer Say "NO" To Most Medical Malpractice Cases?

Finding a lawyer to handle a medical malpractice case is very difficult for many reasons. The first (and most obvious reason) is that many lawyers are not experienced, skilled or talented enough to handle such a complex case up and through trial. However, there are other reasons beyond the ability to find a capable lawyer.

Every day we meet with ordinary folks about potential medical malpractice cases. This is not surprising as statistics show that medical negligence kills and harms patients and families at an alarming rate. Many times, the same doctors commit the same error time and time again. As a trial lawyer, I wish I could hold every doctor accountable for the mistakes and harm they cause. Unfortunately, that is not possible. The medical malpractice insurance companies, lobbyist and doctors have spent millions of dollars to make ordinary people believe that there is a medical malpractice crisis in this country. Potential jurors see this propaganda every day in the media. Doctor’s offices are plastered with posters threatening to leave the state. These myths portray doctors as the victims of lawsuits. As a result, jurors are less and less likely these days to decide a case against a bad doctor who injures an innocent patient.

As a result, many times I have to meet with families and their loved ones who are victims of medical malpractice and tell them that I can not represent them. These people have cases that are not frivolous, but have true merit. Unfortunately, because it is very difficult to convince a jury to hold a doctor or hospital legally responsible even in clear cut cases, trial lawyers (including myself) are forced to be very selective in the cases they choose to bring.

Remember, a trial lawyer works for free. That is, a trial lawyer does not get paid unless his or her client gets a recovery. Malpractice cases cost on average, between $20,000 to $40,000 in out of pocket expenses. These are resources that the trial lawyer must pay “up front” and without any guarantee of being reimbursed. In addition, a trial lawyer will commit hundreds of hours in time in research, discovery, trial preparation and trial. When out of pocket costs and legal hours are combined, a trial lawyer must be prepared to commit $150,000 to $250,000 per case. More importantly, since there are only so many hours and so many cases a trial lawyer can work, if he commits to one case, he can not commit to others. As a result, the sad fact is that it is getting more difficult for true victims to get justice in the courts.

For further information on medical malpractice lawsuits, click on the links below:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Should Tainted Heparin and Trasylol Victims Be Concerned With The Upcoming Drug Case Before The Supreme Court?

There is no doubt that tainted Heparin victims, Trasylol victims and lawyers alike are concerned with the upcoming decision on Wyeth v. Levine, which is scheduled for a ruling by the Supreme Court this fall.

The issue in this case is whether drug companies should be immune from product liability suits concerning dangerous or defective products if they had prior approval from the FDA. Specifically, the appeal filed in Wyeth v. Levine seeks to overturn a $6.8 million judgment awarded to a Vermont woman that lost part of her arm after doctors injected her with a nausea drug. The lawyers for the drug manufacturer claim that the company is not liable for her injuries because the drug met all necessary FDA requirements and ultimately received FDA approval.

One can only hope that the Supreme Court will see this argument for what it is-just another attempt by a billion dollar drug company to avoid responsibility for a defective product. I heard someone recently put it this way, “So because I passed my driver’s test and the State gave me a license, you can’t sue me if I carelessly wreck your car.” I think that analogy shows just how ridiculous this argument is. Even if you break it down to the issue of “fairness”– no person in their right mind can justify how a woman who is permanently disabled because the FDA and a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company released a dangerous product on the market should be faced with economic hardship because her disability check barely pays the bills. Where is the justice in that?

Furthermore, lets consider the people who’s loved ones were killed after receiving a lethal injection of contaminated Heparin. Consider the anxious mothers who became seriously ill after they were placed on a Heparin regiment during pregnancy and are now scared to death of the effects it may have had on their unborn child. How about the patients that sailed through heart surgery, only to die in the recovery room after a lethal dose of Trasylol?

Clearly, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the drug companies will be nothing more than a license to push questionable drugs through the understaffed FDA and make billions of dollars at the expense of the American people. This is not justice and we can only hope that the Court rules in favor of the little guy in this situation.

Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice

How Long Do I Have to File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New Jersey (NJ)?

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations for Adults
Medical malpractice lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations, or a specific time limit on when you can file a claim. In the case of an adult, a medical malpractice lawsuit in NJ must be filed within two (2) years from the actual date of the incident, or two (2) years from when the patient actually discovers the injury (or should have reasonably discovered the injury).

New Jersey Statute of Limitations For Minors and Birth Injury Cases
The statue of limitations for medical malpractice in New Jersey involving a minor is also two (2) years. However, the two-year statute of limitations starts on the minor”s eighteenth birthday. If a malpractice lawsuit is not filed by the age of twenty (20), the minor is barred from ever bringing that claim. Similarly, in the case of a New Jersey medical malpractice suit involving a birth injury, a claim must be filed by a minor”s thirteenth birthday.

For further information on Medical Malpractice in New Jersey, click on the following links:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Your Opinions on the Recent Trasylol and Heparin Recalls

I wanted to highlight a comment posted by one of our readers over at My Fox Philly regarding our recent post, “Lessons Learned From Vioxx: Why Trasylol and Heparin Victims Must File Suit To Ensure Honest Marketing and Safer Drug Products. I believe this comment reflects most of the feedback that we have gotten concerning the recent drug recalls and the questionable inspection standards of the FDA. The comment is as follows:

“I”m not a fan of trial lawyers, but when it comes to the FDA and drug companies, you go for it! Clindamycin is another dangerous antibiotic drug in which the FDA and drug companies know there are serious and potential side effects, yet they will do nothing about it. And those who have suffered are often no longer in any condition to be able to sue or to afford to sue. It”s pretty odd that nurses would all know as common knowledge the risks of prescribing this drug and see the potential results first-hand. But the FDA, doctors, drug companies and pharmacies are in denial. And the side affects are most often not reversible. Same with Lipitor. Many have no problem. But those that do find that once they experience side effects, they are irreversible, even if they stop taking the drug, which again doctors, drug companies, pharmacies and the FDA will deny! It”s a racket. I know they do lots of good, but they”ve created an over-drugged and unnecessarily drugged society in which many times the cure is worse than the disease itself they are trying to treat.” – Stever2258

I find this comment to be such an honest and genuine assessment of the drug crisis happening in our nation. This is more than a “get rich quick scheme” by “sue happy people and lawyers“. The real “get rich quick scheme” is an invention of the multi-billion dollar drug companies who produce a questionable product, offer incentives to doctors to market the drug and issue a recall as soon as people start dying. So remember, the next time drug companies post record high profits from drug sales, real people are suffering irreversible and permanent injuries at their expense.

So thank you to our readers for sharing your comments. Hopefully trial lawyers and consumers can work together to put an end to this problem in the near future.

Free Legal Advice: Mininno Law Office

Dennis Quaid Takes on Medical Errors & Baxter Heparin

In addition to facing lawsuits for contaminated heparin, pharmaceutical giant Baxter, is now facing a lawsuit from actor Dennis Quaid after his newborn babies almost died from a fatal heparin overdose. Apparently, a labeling mistake was to blame for a nurse injecting his twins with full-on heparin instead of Baxter’s Hep-Lock (which is a weaker form of the blood-thinning drug). And although Baxter changed the confusing labels after they were linked to other mix-ups and the death of three infants, the company did not recall the existing vials that were still being used in maternity wards across the US.

Baxter, however, continues to blame the staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for the error. Debra Bello, a senior director at Baxter, told reporters for CBS that the hospital bears full responsibility for the incident “because the product was safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system.”

I probably would buy that excuse if it weren’t for the fact that Baxter redesigned the label prior to this incident for the very reason that mix-ups were occurring. Obviously, they knew that the similarities in the labels were causing major problems, yet they failed to issue a recall to take the drug off the shelves. Not too smart in my opinion- and now they have to deal with a lawsuit from Dennis Quaid and all the negative publicity that comes with it.

In other Dennis Quaid news, the actor has also decided to tackle the medical malpractice crisis by setting up a foundation to fund efforts to reduce medical errors. “We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they”re doing. This mistake occurred right under our noses…the nurse didn”t bother to look at the dosage on the bottle,” Quaid told CBS. “It was avoidable, completely avoidable.”

It’s really sad when Dennis Quaid can see there is a problem in the medical community, yet our trusted lawmakers and officials do not. If they did, they would silence the cries for tort reform legislation and tell the doctors to deal with the problems by cleaning up their act. Maybe once a politician falls victim to medical malpractice, Washington will be singing a different song.

For further information on the recent heparin deaths or medical malpractice, click on the following link:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney

Chamber of Commerce – True "Blue Blood” Colors

This past week, the Chamber of Commerce tried to kill a proposed New Jersey law that would give employees up to six (6) weeks of paid emergency leave for family emergencies. Under the law, the money for the program would come from employees, not employers. Nevertheless, the Chamber of Commerce opposed the measure because it would create an inconvenience to businesses that may temporarily be without the services of an employee who is home caring for a sick child, spouse or parent. The Chamber’s lobbying efforts come as no surprise, as it has a long history of showing little sympathy for workers, consumers, and accident victims and are huge financial supporters of pro-business and anti-consumer legislation.

For example, the Center for Responsible Politics shows that in 2006 the Chamber of Commerce spent over $72,000,000 lobbying Congress in order to keep ordinary citizens and consumers out of the courthouse, and to prevent juries from deciding cases against big business. The Chamber of Commerce routinely spends millions of dollars and uses slick marketing to impugn trial lawyers by claiming they are responsible for the problems of the health care system while refusing to acknowledge that medical malpractice cases are caused by the few doctors who do not follow safety rules.

Each election, the Chamber funds “tort reform” political candidates (i.e. Rick Santorum) whose only agenda is to protect the interest of big business. Despite campaign finance reforms, big business and insurance companies contribute millions of dollars to organizations like the Chamber of Commerce who then use this cash to support tort reform candidates. In many countries, the giving of cash by lobbyists to candidates would be considered corruption. But in our society today, the practice is legal and called “politics.”

The Chamber of Commerce and insurance company lobbyists will spend billions of dollars to change our court system and pollute the minds of the ordinary citizens who make up our jury pool. They spend cash lobbying for politician to put “Caps” on the amount a jury can give for pain and suffering for victims of negligent doctors, companies that make defective products, pharmaceutical companies that give us defective drugs and chemical companies that pollute our waters. The Chamber insists that $250,000 is enough for a child who was killed by a negligent doctor; $250,000 is enough for a family whose father was killed by a drug company that makes billions of dollars selling defective drugs; and $250,000 is enough for a woman to go through life disfigured because a negligent doctor failed to diagnose breast cancer.

Although the Chamber continues to use clever marketing and lobbyists who push their “pro-business’ message, the lobbying in Trenton shows they are ‘anti-consumer.’ Why would an organization spend its considerable resources trying to kill a plan that would offer New Jersey workers paid leave at their own expense? Because insurance companies and big business pay them millions of dollars to do so. Keep this in mind the next time you see an advertisement sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Click on the following link: Medical Malpractice

Who Is Really To Blame For Contaminated Heparin?

I read an interesting post by a fellow blogger regarding the dangerous Chinese import saga. While I don”t entirely agree with his argument, I think his thoughts are worth re-printing in their entirety:

Ask yourself this question, How important is the health, safety, and well being of my family?

First it is toys from China being recalled because of various safety issues, but more specifically from lead in the paint. Now there is a recall on blood thinner [Heparin] manufactured in China, which is causing deaths in patients.

It is obvious in the Chinese quest for money it is willing to put our health and the health of our children at risk. When will the world community say acquiring cheap goods is not enough and demand quality in those goods? Do you support inhumane and unethical treatment of human beings just so you can by more “stuff”? The Chinese should be scrutinized and held to our safety and health standards.

ABC News reports, FDA Links More Deaths to Blood Thinner:

Heparin is derived from a mucous obtained from pig intestines and other animal tissues, often processed by small, unregistered workshops in China.

FDA determined last month that Baxter”s drug was contaminated with an unnatural chemical during production at a plant in China.

This in part is our own fault. Demanding a bargain, the willingness to look the other way, and greed. The Wal-Mart economic plan (cheap second rate goods), which many of Americans support is jeopardizing our safety and economy. When will your family”s well being become more important than getting a good deal? It is your greed which is driving the Chinese economy?”

Ouch. That”s a bit hard to swallow, yet there is a lot of truth to it. Obviously there is something that is hindering the American public from speaking out against dangerous imports. Could it very well be our desire for cheap “stuff”?

While I believe that may be true with regard to the recent influx of toxic toothpaste, dog food and lead paint toys from China, I think the Heparin recalls fall outside of that box. My personal opinion is that most Americans feel helpless against the pharmaceutical giants (such as Baxter) who practically play puppet master with our politicians. They have an endless amount of resources, a tremendous amount of clout and because of this people just give up and accept whatever they dish out.

I just read an article about the rise in Heparin deaths by journalist Stanley Bing. Sadly, he decided to name his article “More Good News For Lawyers”.. Apparently, what he doesn”t realize is that people depend on trial lawyers for help when things like this happen. It is our job to take on these giants when they unleash their garbage (ex Heparin, Vioxx) on the public. Without the ability to file a lawsuit and affect the only thing that matters to these companies (i.e. their money), nothing will change and the despair will continue.

There needs to be some fear instilled in these drug companies. They need to realize that if they fail to keep the American public safe, there will be consequences. There will be lawsuits filed and they will loose a ton of money. It”s just that simple–and it”s our only hope.

For further information, click on the following links below:

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Information

What Makes Fish Swim Weirdly And Not Eat? PROZAC IN THE WATER! A NJ & PA Study of Pharmaceutical Drugs in the Drinking Water.

Philadelphia and New Jersey made national headlines last month as scientists questioned whether the vast amount of pharmaceutical drugs found in our water supply could have long term effects on health and wellness. Now, new studies show “abnormal behavior” in human cells and wildlife after exposure to the same prescription drugs that we are consuming on a daily basis.

Locally, Philadelphia was found to have 56 different pharmaceutical contaminants (including medicine for pain, epilepsy, heart problems and mental illness), while water supplies in North Jersey were found to have significant amounts of metabolized angina medicine and psychiatric drugs.

Researchers believe the drugs entered the water supply through human waste. Apparently, when people take prescription drugs, whatever is not absorbed by the body is naturally eliminated and flushed down the toilet. And, although water is treated before public use, most treatments fail to completely remove pharmaceutical drug residue.

While health officials continue to insist that the amount of prescription drugs found in public water supplies are too small to have a therapeutic effect; they do not, however, dismiss the fact that frequent consumption of contaminated water can have long term health effects. EPA administrator, Benjamin Grumbles says that the situation is a “growing concern” and that they are taking these findings “very seriously.”

Furthermore, while it is too early to track the long-term effects of pharmaceutical contaminants in drinking water, scientists have

John R. Mininno, Esq. is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in medical malpractice, defective products and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning patient safety. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. For further information visit our our medical malpractice and injury website.

Why New Jersey Should Extend the Time Limits of Its Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that effectively places a time limit on suing another party. While there are some important reasons for having statutes of limitations, there are also some good reasons why these time limits in New Jersey are too short. In New Jersey, the limitations on suits for Personal Injury, Negligence, Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice are all two years after the discovery of the injury. The date of the discovery of the injury is included in the two year period. While at first two years may seem like a reasonable amount of time for some injuries, it certainly is not for many others.

Consider a hypothetical situation where a patient, with no family to act on his/her behalf, suffers from some kind of substantial medical malpractice that makes a short hospital visit into one taking months. This incapacitated patient discovered the malpractice as soon as it occurred, leaving him two years to bring a suit against the doctor or hospital. Because of the hospital stay and because this patient has no family to act on his/her behalf, s/he is left with very little time to bring a lawsuit, for which preparations can be time-consuming. Choosing the right lawyer in itself can be a difficult task and is the most important part of bringing a successful lawsuit. A victim, such as the one in this hypothetical, is left with little time to act, because of this short time period from the New Jersey statute of limitations.

In some states, these statutes of limitations are even shorter for medical malpractice than other types of professional malpractice suits, such as suing lawyers or financial advisors. New Jersey ought to do two things for its citizens. First, they must disseminate these laws to the public. Many people in New Jersey have no idea that a time limit exists on these types of law suits and, therefore, fail to bring them within a timely fashion. Second, the politicians should reconsider the time limits that these laws create. While total abolishment of the Statutes of Limitations would not be a perfect solution to this problem, extending the time limits to a more reasonable amount of time for a victimized party is necessary. It appears as though these limitations protect the party who has caused harm to another, rather than the other way around.

Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice