Are You Suffering from Medical Negligence?
According to Pennsylvania Malpractice Law, medical malpractice is when a doctor or other healthcare professional commits medical negligence. Medical negligence occurs when the healthcare professional breaches, or violates, the standard of care.
Standard of care is generally accepted medical standards recognized by the profession as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances.
The laws regarding medical malpractice are stiff, and it can be very difficult for a patient to win a case, particularly without outstanding legal counsel. If you suspect that medical errors or negligence caused your injuries or greatly worsened your condition, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer in Bucks County, Penn., to evaluate your case.
SHOCKING! According to Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a landmark Harvard Medical Practice study found that only a small percentage of medical errors result in lawsuits, letting doctors benefit from a claims gap. Harvard researchers using a sample of hospitalizations in New York State compared medical records to claims files. They found that only one in 7.6 instances of medical negligence committed in hospitals results in a malpractice claim.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
There are numerous actions that may be considered medical malpractice, such as:
- Surgical Errors, e.g., operating on wrong body part or wrong person or leaving an instrument inside the patient.
- Unnecessary Surgeries
- Hospital-acquired Infections
- Delayed Diagnosis
- Laboratory Errors
- Lack of Informed Consent
- Birth Injuries
- Air Bubbles in the Patient’s Blood
- Anesthesia Errors
- Prescription Drug Errors (e.g. wrong drug, wrong dosage)
Why do so many medical mistakes occur?
Working in the professional field requires prodigious schooling, training and continuing education. Medical facilities and practices are highly regulated by the government and accrediting institutions, and they have rigorous company safety protocols. So why do so many medical errors occur?
Many mistakes occur due to simple reasons, such as heavy patient load, harried workplace practices and oversights. Others may be related to faulty reasoning and cognitive biases. Still other mistakes may be related to inattention, lack of sleep, practicing under the influence, poor follow-through, using outdated treatments or equipment, or poor training.
Satisfying Elements of Proof for Medical Malpractice
A lawyer in Bucks County, Penn., can help establish a medical professional’s liability for your injuries. Keep in mind that if a patient’s condition worsens, if the patient experiences a side effect or if the treatment doesn’t go as expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean malpractice has occurred.
In order for the case to be considered malpractice, the doctor must have acted in an unreasonable, substandard way, i.e., in a manner that differed from the way similar doctors in the same scenario would have acted.
There are several elements that must be present in order to prove a medical malpractice case:
- Duty – the doctor must have owed you a professional duty. There must be an established patient-doctor relationship.
- Breach – the medical professional must have breached his/her duty, deviating from the standard of care.
- Causation – the medical professional’s breach of duty must have caused your injuries.
- Damages – you must have sustained measurable and verifiable injuries.
Types of Damages for Which You Can Collect Compensation
If you or your loved one is the victim of medical malpractice and you and your attorney can compile sufficient evidence to support your claim, you can seek reimbursement for both your economic and non-economic damages, also referred to as special and general damages.
Special damages are monetary losses that are easily calculable using bills, receipts, and paystubs. They include losses such as lost wages, medical bills, lost benefits and rehabilitation expenses.
General damages are the intangible, harder-to-quantify losses you experience as a result of your injury. If applicable, you may be able seek compensation for general damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional damages, and the effect the injury has had on your life and overall sense of well-being.
Act Quickly to File an Accident Claim
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations limits the amount of time an injured patient has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in court. In Pennsylvania, the time to file such a claim expires two years after the date the plaintiff knows or reasonably should know all of the following:
Statute of Limitations
- an injury has occurred
- the conduct that caused the injury, and
- the relationship between the injury and the conduct that caused it.
However, regardless of those three factors, a medical malpractice claim must be brought within seven years of the date the injury occurred, unless it involves a foreign object left inside the body.
If medical malpractice results in wrongful death, a case must be filed in court within two years of the date of death.
A person who is injured by medical neligence while still a child has seven years from the date of his or her 20th birthday to bring a case to court, regardless of the date on which the injury actually occurred.
Call us now at 215-642-2335 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation. To begin the process of recovery, speak with an medical malpractice lawyer at our Newtown location today. We are prepared to discuss the specifics of your case, and help educate you on your options.