Physicians are human; they make mistakes. However, if that mistake is due to carelessness, lack of skill, or failure to follow the accepted standards of practice and the profession, it could result in a catastrophic injury to a patient. When this happens, healthcare providers ─ including physicians, hospitals, and staff ─ could be found liable for the damages caused.
Medical negligence can result in new or worse injuries as well as permanent health conditions that could have been prevented with proper care, or even wrongful death. However, doctors rarely tell patients what went wrong. Our medical malpractice lawyers can demand your medical records and gather other evidence. Even if we cannot represent you in a medical malpractice case, we will try to get you answers about what happened to you or your loved one.
Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers can help you hold negligent doctors and medical staff accountable for the injuries they cause. Our law firm has the resources and experience necessary to investigate catastrophic medical negligence cases. In one case, for example, our attorneys obtained a $14 million recovery against a hospital and doctors for a woman who suffered permanent spinal cord injury due to a delay in performing an MRI. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Not all medical mistakes are grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. You may be able to prove that your doctor made an error in your treatment, but this alone is not enough for a case. In order to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice, you must prove these four things:
- Doctor-patient relationship. You must show that you went to the doctor or medical institution as a patient for treatment. This is usually easy to prove.
- Negligence. Doctors and other healthcare professionals have a duty to provide all patients with a reasonable standard of medical care. Therefore, in order to have grounds for a medical malpractice case, you must show that your doctor did not provide the same level of care that another, capable doctor would have. Misdiagnosis, medication errors, and unnecessary or botched procedures may all add up to negligence. Our attorneys work with medical experts who can testify about current treatment standards and protocols.
- Causation. Even if a doctor is negligent, medical malpractice cases often hinge on whether or not this negligence caused actual harm. This means that the doctor’s actions must directly cause an injury or wrongful death. In some medical malpractice cases, such as those involving delayed diagnosis of cancer, medical negligence allows a condition to worsen, possibly beyond hope of treatment.
- Harm. The last requirement for medical malpractice cases is that the injury caused by the medical negligence resulted in material damages. This could mean a physical injury, such as disfigurement, preventable amputation, infection, or wrongful death. You may also suffer non-physical damages such as lost wages, mental suffering, and additional medical bills.
If you believe you have been harmed due to medical error, please do not hesitate to speak with a highly qualified medical malpractice lawyer today. An attorney from our law firm can meet with you in a free consultation to go over the details of your case, answer all your questions, and outline a strategy for moving forward.
Compensation in Medical Malpractice Claims
When you have suffered a catastrophic injury, debilitating illness, or death of a loved one due to medical error, pursuing a medical malpractice claim can help you demand justice for the immeasurable loss you are coping with. Although every case we handle is unique due to the nature of the injuries and the circumstances, our attorneys always aggressively pursue the maximum amount of compensation that our clients need to move forward with their lives.
Some of the common types of compensation we seek to recover include:
- Current and future medical expenses. This can include the cost of surgeries, hospitalizations, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, diagnostic tests, medication, etc. It can also include future anticipated expenses you will face as you continue in your recovery.
- Long-term care needs. If a catastrophic injury has left you or a loved one unable to live alone, we can demand payment for long-term care needs. We may also demand money to cover the costs of modifications to your home to accommodate your needs.
- Lost wages. Many of our clients have been forced to miss a lot of time from work as they struggle to recover from a devastating injury or illness. When a medical error leaves you unable to work, you should be compensated for that lost income.
- Reduced earning capacity. Unfortunately, some of the people we represent are not able to return to the same jobs they had before their medical malpractice injury. In some situations, victims of medical malpractice may be permanently disabled. You should be compensated for any reduction in your earning capacity for the future.
- Pain and suffering. Although many of the losses you suffer can be tracked and tied to specific economic losses, our attorneys will also help you estimate your non-economic losses ─ those damages that are intangible but no less devastating. You should be compensated for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have endured and will endure in the future, the loss of the ability to enjoy your life, disfigurement, and embarrassment and humiliation.
- Punitive damages. In rare cases, a jury may also award punitive damages in a medical malpractice case. These damages are intended to punish the at-fault doctor, healthcare facility, or other defendants for severe misconduct.
- Loss of consortium. If you are married, we can seek loss of consortium damages on behalf of your spouse, for the loss of your love, support, comfort, and companionship, due to harm the malpractice caused you in the first place.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims
Every state places a time limit on how long victims have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations has run out, you are barred from recovering compensation in your claim. This is why it is so important to speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect your injury or illness is due to malpractice.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the patient knew or reasonably should have known that the conduct of the healthcare provider led to their injury. Ultimately, though, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within seven years of the date of the injury, with some exceptions.
When medical malpractice leads to a wrongful death, the family has two years from the date of the death to file a lawsuit.
Because the statute of limitations can be complicated, and building a strong case takes time, you should seek legal advice immediately.