A Complete Overview of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits and Special Rules Applicable to Pennsylvania

By VSCP LAW

When you go to the doctor to treat a medical issue, you don’t expect to feel worse after. And you certainly don’t expect to suffer an injury from the doctor’s care. When a doctor – or any healthcare professional – fails to treat their patient with competent care, that failure is called medical negligence or medical malpractice. And if that incompetent treatment causes the patient to suffer an injury or to die, the patient and/or their loved ones likely have a viable medical malpractice claim, for which the patient and/or their loved ones may be able to compensated under Pennsylvania law.

NECESSARY ELEMENTS TO PROVE YOUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM IN PENNSYLVANIA

There are four main elements needed to prove a medical malpractice claim in Philadelphia and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Read this blog post for a complete overview of each necessary element that your Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney has to prove.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

The most common types of medical malpractice claims include delay in diagnosis, misdiagnosis, failure to act urgently, and surgical errors. Read this blog post for a description of each claim.

CATEGORIES OF COMPENSATION IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM

In a medical malpractice claim, your medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will fight to get you the highest compensation possible to help you regain your financial footing. Compensation is typically divided into “economic” (that is, quantifiable with documentation) or “non-economic” (that is, not quantifiable with documentation) damages. A third category, punitive damages, requires proof of malice and this is rarely applicable, although still possible, in medical malpractice claims. Economic damages include medical bills, pharmacy bills, and funeral costs. Non-economic damages include loss of the enjoyment of life, humiliation, and pain and suffering. For a more detailed overview of the categories of compensation, click here

WHAT ARE THE SPECIAL LAWS AND STATUTES THAT APPLY TO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS IN PENNSYLVANIA?

 *Statute of Limitations*

In the case of a surviving plaintiff, Pennsylvania law allows you two years from when you knew or should have known that your injury was the result of the defendants’ medical mistake.

In the case of a deceased party, Pennsylvania law allows you two years from the official death date to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute of limitations.  

In some exceptional cases, the plaintiff can show that the defendants “fraudulently concealed” their negligence (for instance, if they persuaded the plaintiff with false statements that their injury was not caused by their actions or inactions). In the case of fraudulent concealment, the plaintiff is granted two years from the time they discovered (or should have discovered) that the defendant’s actions or omissions could likely have caused their loved one’s death.

 *MCARE Act*

The Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (“MCARE”) Act requires that healthcare providers carry a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance coverage per lawsuit. This ensures that victims of medical negligence can be reasonably compensated for their injuries. As part of the MCARE Act, there’s a special fund that pays claims in excess of the $500,000 in required coverage.

By way of example, let’s assume your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia files a lawsuit against the doctor who treated you and the hospital where you received the treatment. Each party (the doctor and the hospital) are statutorily required to carry primary insurance for $500,000. On top of that, the MCARE fund can provide an additional $500,000 in recovery per provider. Unfortunately, the process of filing claims and working under the MCARE Act is not very straightforward and requires a medical malpractice lawyer who has vast experience in working under the MCARE Act.

The attorneys at VSCP LAW have worked hard to recover substantial compensation for their clients under the MCARE Act. To learn more, contact them at www.vscplaw.com.

 

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