Can You Sue a Doctor or Medical Facility If You Contract the Coronavirus?
You may have taken all recommended precautions throughout the pandemic—maintaining social distance, wearing a mask, and washing your hands on a regular basis—only to be exposed to the virus while seeking medical care for something unrelated to COVID-19. Can you bring a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare professionals who exposed you to COVID-19, or against the hospital or facility where you sought treatment?
The Higher Standard in Medical Malpractice Claims
Most medical malpractice claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that:
- the wrongdoer failed to use a reasonable amount of care;
- that failure caused an accident or exposure; and
- as a result of the accident or exposure, you suffered actual losses.
In most negligence-based claims, you must show only that the defendant’s behavior fell short of the standard of care reasonably expected of an “average person of ordinary prudence.” However, because of the importance of healthcare in our society and the specialized training medical professionals receive, the standard of care is different for medical malpractice claims. To succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must establish that the actions of the medical caregiver did not rise to the level of care that would have been provided by:
- a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare professional,
- with similar training and experience,
- working in the same medical community.
In most medical malpractice claims, the specific behaviors that meet the standard of care are established through expert witness testimony. Accordingly, a medical malpractice claim can be far more complex than other types of personal injury claims.
A number of states, including New Jersey, have enacted protections, either by statute or executive order, limiting the liability of healthcare facilities for COVID exposure.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a medical injury, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, and videoconference.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.