Medical malpractice is a complex issue and our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers are here to help you or a loved one who may have been injured due to medical negligence. If you or someone you love has been the victim of what you believe is the result of a medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately to find out what really happened, get closure and to find out about your rights.
Discussing Your Rights with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP represent clients from all over Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area specifically, and they will help you understand your legal rights. Let the experienced legal professionals at our firm help you obtain the benefits and the money you deserve. ****Your initial consultation is always free. ****Find out for Free if you have a valid Medical Malpractice Case. ****Our firm never takes a fee or costs unless we’re successful in recovering money for you.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
The most common types of medical malpractice can be caused by doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Hospitals, nursing homes, or long-term care facilities can also be liable for medical malpractice. Common types of medical malpractice include:
- Anesthesia error
- Hospital infection
- Intubation error
- Catheter (“line”) error
- Surgical or procedural error
- Medication error
- ER mistakes and delays
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Laboratory errors
- Childbirth errors
Negligence is the most commonly encountered tort for all health professionals. It is a significant factor in most personal injury actions.
ER Mistakes and Delays
In the emergency room, malpractice can occur when acute illnesses are misdiagnosed or take too long to be diagnosed. This can happen with, for example:
- Heart Attack
- Blood Clot
In addition, negligence in the ER can include–failure to prescribe the right medication or correctly interpret scans and test results and discharging a patient without a precise diagnosis and treatment plan.
Despite advances in prenatal care and fetal monitoring, malpractice remains a significant issue. A child’s birth injuries can result from:
- Failure to monitor fetal distress
- Oxygen deprivation
- Improper use of forceps/extractor
- Failure to perform C-Section
The injuries to the child can include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Fractured Collarbone
- Shoulder Dystocia injury
- Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy)
- Hyperbilirubinemia (Infant Jaundice)
Childbirth malpractice also can cause injuries to the mother, such as uterine rupture, pelvic floor muscle injury, and perineal tears. Failure to diagnose a form of maternal high blood pressure known as preeclampsia endangers the life of the mother and the baby. It is the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S.
Missed or Late Diagnosis Claims
When a doctor fails to diagnose or is late to diagnose, a patient may lose the opportunity to fight their disease. A medical malpractice lawyer can bring a claim for missed or delayed diagnosis resulting in disability, unnecessary pain and suffering, or death. Among the illnesses often missed or diagnosed late are:
- Celiac Disease
- Lyme Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Polycystic Ovary Disease
Thousands of patients die each year as a result of medical errors. Protect your rights by consulting with us if you or someone you love has been harmed.
How Much Money Will My Medical Malpractice Claim Be Worth?
When it comes to medical malpractice damages in Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to receive several different kinds of damages. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will always look at all of the factors of your injury when handling your case. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Generally speaking, damages fall under two different categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. What’s the different between the two?
I. Compensatory Damages: These kinds of damages are exactly what they sound like-they compensate victims for injuries they’ve suffered as a result of a medical professional’s negligence. The law classifies these damages as those that are aimed at making the victim whole. In other words, they’re supposed to return the plaintiff to the position he or she would have been in but for the medical malpractice. Compensatory damages fall into two separate categories: Economic damages and non-economic damages.
a) Economic Damages: Economic damages are intended to cover losses that have a specific dollar amount attached to them. Sometimes, these are out-of-pocket expenses that a victim has to pay, such as for medical care and treatment, hospital bills, medications, and medical equipment. These damages also refer to lost wages due to the malpractice. In other words, you can also recover the wages you’ve lost or will lose because of the injury you suffered.
b) Non-economic Damages: Non-economic damages can be a little bit trickier because there is no precise dollar amount attached to them. These kinds of damages are intended to compensate victims for harms that do not have a concrete monetary value, such as loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of companionship or consortium.
II. Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are a lot more controversial than compensatory damages. Rather than compensating the victim for his or her injuries, these damages are aimed more at punishing the perpetrator and acting as a deterrent for potential perpetrators in the future. In order to receive punitive damages, the jury must decide that the negligent medical professional did something so terrible that she deserves to be punished, and that it’s worth sending a message to other medical professionals. Usually, punitive damages are only imposed when medical malpractice shows signs of maliciousness, bad faith, or a sheer indifference to the life of the patient.
Frequent Questions That May Arise with a Medical Malpractice Claim:
1. What Exactly is Medical Malpractice?
For many patients who have suffered an injury after receiving a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment, it’s difficult to know exactly what lawyers mean when they refer to medical malpractice. In short, it’s a legal term to describe the negligence committed (or omitted) by a medical professional, such as a doctor, dentist, nurse, technician, or a hospital. These claims can take many forms, including misdiagnoses, the failure to diagnose or treat a condition, delayed or incorrect treatment, and other medication errors. In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice claims are governed by the Medical Care Available and Reduction of Error Act, which you may have seen referred to as the MCARE Act. In short, if a medical professional did something wrong or forgot to do something while treating a patient, the patient may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. However, the elements of each medical malpractice claim can depend entirely on the victim and the type of injury sustained, so it’s important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
2. If I’m Not Happy with How My Surgery Turned Out, Do I Have a Malpractice Claim?
The short answer to this question is maybe: surgery always comes with certain risks, and surgeries can have unexpected or unpleasant consequences even when the medical professionals involved in the surgery didn’t do anything wrong. A “bad outcome” does not immediately mean that any malpractice has occurred. There are known risks to surgical procedures that patients should have been made aware of, and given consent to, prior to undergoing the surgery. In cases where a patient was not correctly made aware of the risks that they were consenting to, or the surgical procedure performed was not the same as the surgical procedure that was explained to the patient and that the patient consented to, the medical professionals involved may have committed malpractice. If you suspect that your injury did not turn out to your liking was because of a malpractice that occurred, it’s essential that you contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced attorney can advise you about your situation and the likelihood of a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, and remember, our law firm will let you know for free whether or not you have a case.
3. Who Determines the Precise Amount of My Medical Malpractice Damages?
You may have heard that many states have statutory damage caps when it comes to medical malpractice claims. Indeed, many U.S, states have special laws that limit the amount of compensatory damages for which an injured patient can be eligible. However, Pennsylvania is a little bit different: in PA, there are no compensatory damage caps. That means when a patient files a medical malpractice claim, the jury will look at the individual elements of his or her claim (i.e., the type and severity of the injury she suffered), and it will decide how much the defendant will have to pay the victim. Because there’s no cap on compensatory damages, Pennsylvania victims of medical malpractice can be more adequately compensated if they have a dedicated and experienced medical malpractice attorney on their side. A jury also decides whether to impose punitive damages, but there are some limits on what the jury can do here.
Under Pennsylvania law, a jury can’t impose punitive damage amounts that exceed 200 percent of the victim’s compensatory damages unless the defendant has exhibited deliberate misconduct or reckless disregard for the patient’s life. And, the plaintiff isn’t going to receive all of these damages-according to PA law, 25 percent of punitive damages have to be paid into Pennsylvania’s MCARE fund. 4. If I Signed a Consent Form Before My Surgery, Did I Waive My Right to File a Malpractice Claim? A medical malpractice lawyer will want to make sure that you actually consented to the procedure that caused your injury. In other words, did the medical professional have valid consent from you before performing a procedure? Informed consent can be a tricky issue, but it’s intended to make sure that a patient has the capacity to consent to a medical procedure, and that she has all of the relevant information about its associated risks. If there was no valid consent, then you may have a medical malpractice case. It’s important to know that even if you validly consented to a medical procedure; your consent does not give the doctor the power to act negligently when conducting your treatment or surgery. In short, even if you validly consented to a procedure, if the medical professional acted negligently, you still may have a medical malpractice claim. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP have been handling these cases for years, and they know the difference between a case where a patient consented to the possible risks of a surgery and when a surgeon acted negligently and caused a patient’s injury without her consent. A patient can consent to probable risks of a surgery, but she can never consent to a doctor’s negligent behavior.
5. What Are the Elements of a Successful Malpractice Claim?
In order to have a successful medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must prove elements of her case. It’s important to know that the burden of proof is on the injured patient, so it’s essential to have a trustworthy medical malpractice lawyer who can present the evidence of the case in a clear and convincing way to the jurors.
6. What are the elements that a plaintiff must prove? Duty: The medical professional owed a duty to the injury patient. The doctor-patient relationship usually shows that this duty exists. Breach of Duty:
When a doctor owes a duty of care to a patient, the patient must prove that his or her doctor breached that duty of care by failing to meet a certain standard of care expected by the medical community. In other words, if the patient can prove that the doctor’s care or treatment didn’t live up to the required standard of care, then the doctor breached the duty owed to the patient.
Injury: Because of the doctor’s breach of duty to the patient, the patient can prove that he or she suffered an injury.
Causation: In addition to proving that he or she suffered an injury, the plaintiff will also have to prove that the doctor’s negligence was the clear cause of the injury. In other words, would the injury have happened if the doctor hadn’t been negligent? Each element of a medical malpractice claim requires the expertise of a medical malpractice attorney. If you’ve suffered an injury because of a doctor’s negligence, it’s essential to have an experienced advocate on your side that can fight for your legal right to compensation.
7. Can I Handle My Medical Malpractice Case on My Own, Or Do I Need an Attorney?
With the complicated elements of a medical negligence claim, it’s important to have a medical malpractice lawyer on your side. In Pennsylvania, most medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, or the date by which a reasonable person would have discovered the injury. The law is different in the case of minors who are injured any time before their 18th birthday, because unlike the usual 2 year limitation, minors have until their 20th birthday to bring a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice attorney can ensure that your case is filed within the statute of limitations. You do not want to end up in a situation where you’ve missed your chance to receive compensation for your medical malpractice injury just because you failed to file your claim within the required amount of time. Why else do you need a medical malpractice lawyer? Under Pennsylvania medical malpractice law, plaintiffs also must obtain the support of a medical expert before his or her case can go forward. The medical malpractice lawyers at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP have extensive experience with medical experts and will work tirelessly to ensure your case moves forward on time.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of a medical mistake, consider getting in touch with the experienced team of legal professionals at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP. We have decades of experience representing medical malpractice claims in the Philadelphia area. Contact us today to discuss your case: 1-800-624-8888 Remember: ****Your initial consultation is always free. ****Find out for Free if you have a Medical Malpractice Case ****Our firm never takes a fee or costs unless we’re successful in recovering money for you.