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Understanding Medical Malpractice Cases in Pennsylvania

Understanding Medical Malpractice Cases in Pennsylvania

At Justice Guardians, we represent people who believe they have been harmed by medical negligence. We have the experience and resources to thoroughly evaluate your claim and help you understand your rights. Our team of attorneys is dedicated to helping injured people get justice.

Whether you were injured because of a doctor's failure to diagnose a disease, a surgeon's failure to remove a tumor, or a hospital's failure to provide proper care, our medical malpractice attorneys can help you understand your rights and the steps you need to take to recover damages.

Local hospitals:

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice happens when a doctor fails to provide appropriate medical care to his patient. This may happen due to negligence, incompetence, or intentional misconduct. At least 21% of the U.S. has experienced a medical error, according to the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 

In most cases, patients file lawsuits against doctors after suffering injuries caused by medical errors.

However, medical malpractice does not necessarily mean that the doctor was negligent. There are several types of medical malpractice claims, such as battery, fraud, failure to obtain informed consent, lack of informed consent, professional negligence, and wrongful death.

Types of Medical Malpractice

There are several types of medical malpractice. According to NCBI, approximately 4,000 surgical errors occur each year. However, the top cause of medical errors are from prescribing the wrong medicine. Some other examples are:

  • Failure to Diagnose
  • Improper Treatment
  • Negligence
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to Treat
  • Failure to Refer
  • Failure to Perform Surgery
  • Failure to Prescribe Medication

What is Medical Malpractice Under Philadelphia Law?

In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice claims fall under two categories: professional negligence and ordinary negligence. Professional negligence involves the failure of a physician to follow accepted standards of medical practice. Ordinary negligence refers to any negligent act committed by a physician that causes harm to a patient.

Professional negligence cases involve allegations that a physician failed to exercise reasonable care and skill in treating a patient. For example, a physician may fail to perform a procedure correctly or administer medication appropriately.

Ordinary negligence cases arise when a physician performs a task negligently, causing injury to a patient. Examples of such tasks include administering anesthesia incorrectly, giving the wrong dosage of medicine, or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient after surgery.

Both types of medical malpractice claims are subject to strict statutes of limitations. If you believe that you were harmed due to the actions of a physician, contact our law firm immediately. 

What are the Elements of a Successful Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove. If you were injured due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. 

In most cases, these claims arise due to negligence. Negligence occurs when a doctor fails to exercise reasonable care and skill in treating his patient. This failure may result in harm to the patient.

Negligent acts include failing to diagnose, treat, prescribe medication, perform surgery, order tests, or follow treatment plans properly. Medical malpractice claims are usually filed against hospitals, physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and other health professionals.

There are several elements involved in any successful medical malpractice claim. Here are some key components of a successful medical malpractice case.

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are critical to winning a medical malpractice lawsuit. An expert witness is an individual who has specialized knowledge regarding the subject matter of the case.

An expert witness is often called upon to testify in court about the standard of care required of a physician under similar circumstances.

Damages

Damages are compensation awarded to the injured party. These damages compensate the victim for financial losses caused by the negligent act.

Compensation can come in the form of money, property, services, or anything else that makes the victim whole again.

Damages are calculated using two methods. First, the jury determines the amount of monetary damage suffered by the victim. Second, the judge uses a mathematical formula to determine nonmonetary damages such as pain and suffering.    

Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations for filing such cases. This means that you have a limited amount of time to file a claim against a negligent doctor or hospital.

In order to protect yourself, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident occurs. An experienced lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have grounds for pursuing a lawsuit.

If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you may still be eligible to receive damages. For example, if you filed your claim too late, you may still be entitled to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their malicious conduct. They are meant to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

However, punitive damages cannot compensate you for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the incident. Instead, these damages are intended to serve as punishment for the defendant's actions.

Generally speaking, the statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice claims. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if you suffered permanent injuries as a result of the alleged malpractice, the statute of limitations does not apply. Likewise, if the defendant was convicted of criminal charges related to the incident, the statute of limitations will not apply.

It is critical that you consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible following your injury. Waiting until the last minute to file a claim may jeopardize your ability to collect damages.

Choosing the Right Firm Can Make All the Difference

If you or a loved one was seriously injured as a result of a doctor's medical error, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help you file a personal injury lawsuit.

Our lawyers have a proven track record of successfully representing individuals throughout Pennsylvania who have been the victims of medical malpractice. At Justice Guardians, our medical malpractice lawyers have the skills and experience to help you understand how the system works and how to prepare a solid medical malpractice claim. Contact us today for a free case evaluation if you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice.

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David Petrone
Date Published: September 28, 2022
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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