New Jersey Medical Malpractice Laws

Each state has their own set of medical malpractice laws in place, and it is important for patients to understand those laws and how they could affect their case. The following are the basics of the laws in New Jersey.

Most of us cringe at the idea of medical malpractice. After all, in the United States, alone medical malpractice accounts for more than 100k deaths and even more injuries and damages. From the sponge left inside a patient after surgery to the negligence that may have delayed essential treatment, there are countless ways that medical malpractice might play out. That is why there are state malpractice laws for New Jersey claimants to follow when they need to take action against a health care provider or medical practice.

That last sentence may have made you wonder if you can pursue more than a single medical provider under state malpractice laws for New Jersey, and the answer is yes. However, the “joint and several” standards that appear in most state malpractice laws apply here too. However, state malpractice laws for New Jersey clearly establish that the joint and several rules apply only when someone is determined to be 60% or more responsible. Those beneath that mark are only severally liable (meaning that they can only be pursued for their specific portion of damages).

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Laws

The state malpractice laws for New Jersey also consider the comparative negligence of the claimant too. This law is a bit stricter than some other states and says that a claimant is going to be barred from the action if their negligence exceeds the total combined negligence of the defendants named. If not, then the amount awarded to the claimant is reduced by their recognized percentage of negligence.

The state malpractice laws for New Jersey also feature vicarious liability that says that hospitals are not liable for non-employees, however, “ostensible” rules apply. This is when a patient might naturally assume that a physician or medical provider does work for the hospital and is injured in their care.

Assert Your Legal Rights With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The injuries caused by negligent medical providers may seem obvious. However, proving that they failed to give you the appropriate level of care is more challenging. If you suspect you’re a victim of medical malpractice, assert your rights with an experienced attorney.

A well-versed medical malpractice lawyer knows how to get the maximum compensation you deserve. Visit The Personal Injury Center today for a free case evaluation, and we’ll connect you with the right lawyer.


Limits and Caps

Before the issue of liability is established, though, the action has to be started in the appropriate amount of time.  The state malpractice laws for New Jersey allow two years from the date of the incident that caused the loss or injury, or they use the discovery rule. This establishes that no limit accrues until the injured person might reasonably discover that there is an injury. The state also says that minors and the insane have the extended statute of limitations too.

When a claim can move forward, and liabilities are determined, there is still the need to prove that malpractice was at work. In New Jersey, the claimant has to receive a formal affidavit from a licensed professional demonstrating that the standard of care was not met and that it led to the injury or loss. This is fairly standard in almost all medical malpractice cases, and expert testimony is extremely important in proving your claims.

When you have proven the claims and actions move forward, the state puts a “five times” cap on a number of damages awarded. In other words, the claimant cannot ask for anything over five times the liability of the defendant (or $350k, whichever of the two is largest). The attorney, though, has no cap on what they can ask for their participation in a case.

Is it worth hiring attorneys? Absolutely! Although it may seem obvious to you that your medical providers were negligent and failed to give you or a loved one the appropriate level of care, it may be very challenging to prove this in court or arbitration. A skilled and experienced attorney or law firm is already well aware of the best tactics and can often work with you to avoid a trial and just use arbitration.


  1. Attorneys. Basics of New Jersey…

Damage Caps in New Jersey

The state does not have a cap for compensatory damages, including non-economic damages. However, it limits punitive damages to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

See Damage Caps by Each State

Limits on Attorney’s Fees in New Jersey Medical Malpractice Cases

New Jersey caps attorney’s contingent fees in medical malpractice cases. Under New Jersey Court Rule §1:21-7, the amount that lawyers can charge under contingent fee arrangements should not be more than the following limits: 

  • 33 and 1/3% of the first $750,000 recovered
  • 30% of the next $750,000
  • 25% of the third $750,000 
  • 20% of the fourth $750,000
  • 25% for minor or mentally incapacitated plaintiff

Limits on Medical Malpractice in New Jersey 

Currently, there’s no law setting a cap for economic and noneconomic damages arising from medical malpractice in New Jersey. However, Section 2A:15-5.14 of the New Jersey Statutes caps punitive damages at $350,000. 

Civil courts rarely award punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. A New Jersey judge may award it under Section 2A:13-5.12 if the claim meets specific conditions. One is proof that the defendant acted with actual malice or wanton and willful disregard for foreseeable harm.