What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania occurs when a health care provider such as a doctor, nurse, hospital, nursing facility, etc., fails to deliver an acceptable standard of care. If the standard of care is not met, that person or organization is negligent.
Medical malpractice spans all sorts of medical mistakes, including misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose, failure to treat, failure to monitor, lack of informed consent, and failure to communicate, to name just a few. Medical malpractice can result in birth injuries, spinal cord injuries, unnecessary amputations, infections, and tragic losses of life.
Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
To prove a medical malpractice claim, you must show that a health care professional or organization fell below the accepted standard of care. Keep in mind, not every unfavorable outcome is due to medical malpractice because there may be risks associated with surgeries or procedures. However, in general, if you have an unexpected outcome from which you are unlikely to make a full recovery, you should contact an attorney.
Informed Consent Does Not Release Liability
Informed consent means that a physician must inform you of all material risks, complications, benefits and alternatives of proposed non-emergency treatment, including surgical procedures. This is an important part of the patient-physician relationship because it lets you make an informed decision.
Doctors in Pennsylvania must obtain a patient’s informed consent, and this duty cannot be delegated to anyone else. Unfortunately, people sometimes believe they cannot pursue legal action if they signed a consent form. However, a signed consent form does not release the medical provider of liability for negligence, so you may still pursue a medical malpractice claim even if a consent form was signed.
What Is a “Certificate of Merit?”
The medical industry would have the public believe that most medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous. But in Pennsylvania, that is not the case.
According to state law, in order to proceed with a medical malpractice case, a “certificate of merit” from an appropriate licensed medical professional must be filed. The certificate of merit verifies that an appropriate medical professional has reviewed your claim and concluded that it’s reasonable to believe the care fell outside the acceptable standard and caused your injuries.
With our medical experts and resources, we can have your situation reviewed by an independent professional and provide the clarity you need to move forward with confidence.
There’s a Time Limit to File Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Generally, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of injury. Failure to file a case within this timeframe may bar you from recovering any compensation for your injuries. There are some exceptions where the deadline may be extended if you did not discover the injury until later or if a minor was injured. It’s essential to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so he or she can determine, based on the facts in your specific case, when the statute of limitations expires.
Medical Malpractice Damages & Setting Things Right
In Pennsylvania, when you or a loved one have been wronged because a doctor or health care professional was negligent, justice typically comes in the form of financial compensation.
While these settlements and verdicts are intended to make you financially whole, they also force large hospitals and organizations to change their ways. By demanding justice, you’re not only fighting for what you need to recover, you’re also helping to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Recovering What You Lost
In Pennsylvania, compensation for medical malpractice (referred to as damages) is broken down into the following categories:
- Economic Damages – Economic damages consist of your past and future lost monetary expenses. This includes medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages – These are not tangible losses. Instead, non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, embarrassment and humiliation, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful Death & Survival Damages – Wrongful death damages can be recovered by surviving family members, such as a spouse, child, or parent. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include medical, funeral, and estate expenses, as well as an amount for the loss of a loved one’s future support. Survival damages are recovered on behalf of the person who passed away and include that person’s pain and suffering before death and his or her lost earnings.
- Loss of Consortium – This is designed to compensate the injured person’s spouse for the loss of services, support, comfort, assistance, companionship, and the ability to engage in sexual relations.
At Atlee Hall, our job is to hold negligent medical professionals accountable and make things better for you. That’s why we go above and beyond to assess your damages and paint a vivid portrait of what it will take to set things right.