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New Jersey Medical Malpractice Statistics

January 4, 2021 By Cerussi and Gunn P.C. Legal Team

Medical malpractice occurs much more often than most patients realize. Studies have shown that medical malpractice accounts for as many as 251,000 fatalities each year in the US, making it the third-leading cause of death. Being aware of the existence and most common types of medical malpractice can help you control your care as a patient in New Jersey. You may be able to detect and even prevent malpractice at your local hospital.

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Statistics

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a caregiver’s failure to fulfill the accepted standards of patient care within the health care industry. It can describe many actions and omissions made by a health care professional that a reasonable and prudent provider would not have made in the same circumstances. According to national statistics, medical malpractice accounts for about 10% of all deaths in the US.

What Are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice in New Jersey?

Medical malpractice is a broad legal term that encompasses many different examples of preventable errors, mistakes or lapses in judgment by a professional in the health care field. Lawsuits filed in New Jersey each year list several common types of medical malpractice in the state.

  • Failure to treat or lack of proper patient care
  • Diagnostic errors (misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose)
  • Misinterpreted test results
  • Drug prescription or administration errors
  • Surgical errors, anesthesia mistakes and lack of postoperative care
  • Birth injuries and obstetric trauma
  • Defective devices and medical product liability

Any of these preventable mistakes can cause serious patient injuries, such as brain injuries, nerve damage, lacerations, internal bleeding, scarring or disfigurement, permanent disabilities and fatal injuries. Unfortunately, not every hospital in New Jersey takes the proper precautions to prevent these types of malpractice from occurring.

How Often Does Medical Malpractice Injure Patients in New Jersey?

Almost every hospital in New Jersey has reported a patient injury or death due to malpractice at one time or another. The State of New Jersey Department of Health keeps track of these events and publishes them each year for the public’s knowledge. The most recent data available shows thousands of adverse patient events due to medical malpractice in hospitals statewide in New Jersey in a single year.

  • 17 instances of retained surgical items left inside patients’ bodies after surgeries
  • 27 cases of postoperative wound dehiscence (splitting open)
  • 29 in-hospital falls with hip fractures
  • 93 accidental abdominopelvic punctures or lacerations
  • 104 collapsed lungs during surgeries
  • 225 birth traumas
  • 247 postoperative infections leading to sepsis
  • 382 postoperative hemorrhages or hematomas
  • 451 obstetric traumas involving deliveries with instruments
  • 684 postoperative pulmonary embolisms

The statistics for 2016 alone show 2,259 adverse patient outcomes due to preventable medical errors in New Jersey. The actual number of injured patients is likely higher, as these statistics only represent known cases of malpractice. Many physicians and patients do not recognize malpractice until later if the mistake caused delayed injuries, complications and symptoms.

How Many Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Are Filed in New Jersey Each Year?

A medical malpractice lawsuit offers an injured patient or surviving family members a means of obtaining justice and financial compensation for their losses. These civil claims are often all an injured patient has to repay medical bills, make up for lost wages, and acknowledge pain and suffering. In New Jersey, hundreds of patients come forward with medical malpractice claims annually.

In 2020 alone, 368 cases were filed in the State of New Jersey. Not all of these claims succeeded, as it can be difficult for a patient to successfully prove medical malpractice. National statistics show that only 143,713 payouts were achieved by patients in medical malpractice lawsuits over a 10-year period. The projected number of patients injured and killed by malpractice in the same period reaches into the millions.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice pervades dozens of hospitals, emergency rooms and health care centers throughout New Jersey. If you or someone you love has a serious injury or illness due to alleged medical malpractice, do not hesitate to contact an attorney near you for a consultation. You may be eligible for financial compensation. A Monmouth County medical malpractice lawyer can help you protect your rights and fight for a positive case outcome.