If you or a loved one suspect negligent medical care resulted in injury or illness, the law affords remedies. Studies indicate that medical errors are the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and victims who do survive a misdiagnosis or treatment delay are often left with life-altering repercussions.
At The Rothenberg Law Firm, we advocate for people harmed by the negligent actions of healthcare professionals. We are well-versed in Pennsylvania laws regarding medical malpractice and have a proven track record of winning difficult cases. When navigating the legal system, an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney is your ally and advocate. Find out if you have grounds for litigation by scheduling a free case review and evaluation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Healthcare providers have a duty to provide patients with a certain standard of care. When their treatment falls below this standard of care and preventable harm results, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.
Both actions and omissions can be deemed negligent and result in malpractice. If a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare practitioner deviates from the standard of care that is reasonably expected in similar situations, the provider can be held responsible for subsequent damages.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice takes many forms, but some mistakes and negligent actions are more prevalent than others. Here are some common examples that give rise to valid lawsuits.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
An estimated 30 percent of all malpractice claims stem from a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Take, for example, a heart attack sufferer wrongly diagnosed with acid reflux. Mistakes like this can leave patients vulnerable to more serious harm, delay much-needed treatment, or exacerbate a pre-existing condition. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are cancer, appendicitis, and heart attacks.
Surgeons of all specialties make grave mistakes that can leave patients with long-lasting complications. Besides instruments and other surgical tools left inside the patient’s body, there have been instances of surgery performed on the wrong body part, as well as technical errors leading to wound infections, major postoperative bleeding, and permanent organ or nerve damage.
A medication error is a failure in the treatment process that leads to preventable injury or death to the patient. Medical professionals who prescribe and dispense the wrong medication or dosage or fail to recognize drug contraindications may be found negligent when patient harm occurs.
Sub-standard and negligent care in hospital settings happens in many ways. Patients can suffer serious injuries when staff fails to take a full medical history, obtain informed consent, fail to monitor a patient’s condition or discharge the patient too early without adequate instructions.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To bring a medical malpractice case, your Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer must prove the following elements. This typically requires extensive documentation of your injuries and losses and testimony from medical experts.
- Duty of Care: The doctor-patient relationship demonstrates that the medical provider owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must prove that their healthcare provider breached that duty of care through unreasonable and negligent conduct. This is the most challenging element to substantiate and requires testimony from expert witnesses.
- Injury was Sustained: Because of the physician’s negligent treatment, the plaintiff has suffered a documentable injury.
- Causation: The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the doctor’s actions or failure to act in a competent manner was the direct cause of injury. For example, a delayed cancer diagnosis caused the disease to spread, reducing the chances of successful treatment and recovery.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are routinely stretched to their limits, but chronic fatigue isn’t the only factor behind malpractice claims. Communication breakdowns, insufficient staffing, alcohol or drug abuse, and gross incompetence are also cited. If you’ve endured the disastrous effects of negligence in a hospital or medical setting, it’s essential to have a skilled medical malpractice lawyer who can fight for your rights to fair compensation. We have decades of experience handling these claims and will work diligently to secure the best possible outcome.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations and Filing Deadlines
The deadline for filing a medical malpractice suit in Pennsylvania is generally two years from the date the alleged malpractice occurred. By law, this statute of limitation starts from the day a plaintiff realizes negligence occurred or when a reasonable person under similar circumstances should have discovered the error.
Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
Pennsylvania does not cap the amount of recoverable compensatory damages in medical malpractice claims which will account for losses such as:
- Medical expenses – past and future
- Lost income and benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of future earnings
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
Schedule a Free Consultation with Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pennsylvania
If you are looking for a veteran medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania who puts clients first, contact us at The Rothenberg Law Firm for a complimentary consultation. We are passionate about securing justice for our clients and take cases on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees. We have over fifty years of experience, winning and collecting billions of dollars for our clients.