Professional negligence describes what happens when a person who was hired for their specialized skill set fails to perform what they were hired by their client to do. Typically, professional negligence arises in the context of services by accountants, architects, financial advisors, and realtors. Another industry in which professional negligence cases arise is medicine.
Thus, medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence.
But medical malpractice is arguably not as straightforward as other industries in which professional negligence can occur. Below are some of the special requirements and rules that make medical malpractice more complicated than other instances of professional negligence.
NECESSARY ELEMENTS OF A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE
In order to prove medical malpractice, you have to prove the following four necessary elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Read this blog post (LINK TO POST RE 4 ELEMENTS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM) for a complete overview of each necessary element that your 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 (LINK TO “What Kind Of Cases Does A Medical Malpractice Attorney Handle?” post) for a description of each claim.
CATEGORIES OF COMPENSATION IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM
In a medical malpractice claim, your medical malpractice lawyer 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 (LINK TO CATEGORIES OF COMPENSATION POST).
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 their loved one two years from the official death date to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit.
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 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.
To consult with attorneys who are experienced in the highly specialized area of medical malpractice law, contact VSCP LAW.
If you suffer an injury after being treated by a healthcare provider, how do you know whether you have a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania? Here are five signs you may have one.
While it’s rare, healthcare providers do sometimes admit to having made a mistake in the treatment of their patients. If your doctor or other medical provider apologizes for their actions or omissions – or otherwise admits to having erred in their treatment of you — that’s an obvious sign that you may have a medical malpractice case.
More common than your doctor admitting an error in their treatment of you is when your doctor notices that a different doctor who treated you made a mistake. In other words, your current doctor is looking at your medical records and notices that a different doctor erred. For instance, your primary care doctor could see that your cardiologist ignored the warning signs of your heart attack. If your doctor thinks that a different doctor made a mistake in treating you, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia to discuss whether you have a medical malpractice case.
While there are some risks to procedures and surgeries, often the first sign of a potential medical malpractice case is that there was an unanticipated outcome. For instance, let’s say you went to your doctor for a routine stent placement. The stent is intended to open up one of your arteries that was blocked. But when the doctor was inserting the stent, they punctured the artery, which caused internal bleeding or “hemorrhaging.” This hemorrhaging episode was an unexpected outcome of the stent procedure. If you suffer an injury that is not a normal risk to a procedure, you should contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer to discuss the possibility of a medical malpractice case.
There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. If you do not receive that prompt intervention, you could suffer catastrophic consequences. For example, a stroke is when blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced. This is an urgent medical issue and requires a timely diagnosis. When the healthcare professional recognizes the signs of stroke and acts quickly, they can help restore blood flow to the brain. Failure to do so will lead to oxygen and nutrient deprivation in the brain, which can lead to brain damage, disability, and even death. If a healthcare professional delays diagnosis of stroke and/or fails to act urgently, thereby delaying or withholding lifesaving treatment and disability-preventing treatment, you may have a medical malpractice case.
Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to serious injury or death. Misdiagnoses can be based on ignorance of family history, race, or gender. For instance, a woman may present to an emergency room with nausea and stomach pain and the
emergency room team completely ignore the possibility that she may be suffering a heart attack. Because doctors only tend to know the signs of heart attack in men (weakness in the left arm, chest pain, etc.), they completely miss the different signs of heart attack in women. So, they’ll chalk up the stomach issues to menstrual cramps or indigestion; that error qualifies as a misdiagnosis. Misdiagnoses can be a sign that you may have a medical malpractice case.
Don’t ignore the signs of a medical malpractice case. To find out if you have one, contact the lawyers at VSCP LAW.
It is hard to prove medical malpractice for attorneys who do not routinely practice this highly specialized area of law. Medical malpractice is not simple and “cut and dry.” Rather, it’s very technical and, because it involves science and medicine, it can be extremely complicated. Here are some reasons medical malpractice is an area of law best left to experienced medical malpractice attorneys.
There are various types of medical malpractice claims including:
The above list describes what the doctor or other healthcare providers did wrong. (For more detailed information about each of the above claims, see
Here is a mere sampling of literally hundreds of different circumstances in which a healthcare provider can be negligent:
And while the variety of contexts in which a healthcare provider can make a medical mistake vary exponentially and the types of errors healthcare providers can make also vary, imagine how much more complicated it becomes when you consider the variety of victims. From babies to senior citizens and everyone in between – with their own variability of age, biological gender, genetic predisposition, comorbidities, previous illnesses, etc. – there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all approach to the handling of their medical malpractice claim. And your experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia knows to treat every client as the individual person that they are.
Lastly, medical malpractice law involves heavy research into past practice of medicine. While it’s wonderful that the art and science of medicine are always advancing, a medical malpractice lawyer’s focus has to be somewhat historical in nature. Indeed, what was the standard of care in a certain area of medicine ten years ago might no longer be the standard of care now. But the medical malpractice attorney needs to evaluate the medical negligence claim from the perspective of the time of the injury. For example, if the medical malpractice took place in 2020, the case will focus on what the standard of care in 2020 was – not what the current standard of care is. In that way, the medical malpractice attorney must play the role of historian as well.
No one would doubt that the practice of medicine is specialized. Nor should one doubt how specialized the practice of medical malpractice law is. For that reason, it can be difficult to prove medical malpractice unless the attorney is experienced and willing to take on the many challenges and hurdles that accompany these highly complex cases.
To find an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case, contact VSCP Law.
Let’s start with this inquiry: would you hire a math teacher to help your child learn how to play the piano? No! Just as there are specialists in education, so, too, are there specialists in law. Thus, for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania, you should hire a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer. And not just anyone. You need to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Here’s why.
In every medical malpractice case, time is of the essence. If your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer does not act efficiently and swiftly, critical information could be permanently lost or worse: You could lose the opportunity to file a lawsuit at all! You need to hire an experienced attorney who appreciates the time-sensitive nature of your medical malpractice claim.
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. Again, if you miss this crucial deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records including hospital intake forms, nurses’ logs, doctors’ notes, lab results, diagnostic orders and test results, etc.
Other examples of evidence that needs to be gathered in a timely fashion include witness statements, photographs and videos, and physical objects that are related to the medical malpractice claim such as prescription bottles and medical devices.
The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could dictate whether your lawsuit is successful or not.
Despite aggressive advertising to the contrary, many attorneys do not actually have experience working on medical malpractice cases. Many law firms list “medical malpractice” on their websites because they want people to come to them with medical malpractice cases, but they don’t actually have any significant experience trying these types of complicated cases. Make sure you find a personal injury who practices the very specialized medical malpractice area of law.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for damages. For example, here
If you believe you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a medical error, contact the experienced medical malpractice specialists at VSCP Law.
Wrongful death attorneys in Philadelphia wear many hats as they represent their clients. Here is just a sampling of the many roles your wrongful death lawyer takes on for you:
In order to determine whether you have a valid wrongful death claim, your wrongful death lawyer must investigate the circumstances before, during, and after your loved one died. The attorney has to talk to you, other family members, and review countless records. They often have to hire experts to help them investigate your claim.
A wrongful death attorney needs to gather as much evidence as possible to prove your case. Examples of such evidence include: autopsy, toxicology lab reports, police reports, witness statements, photographs and videos, death certificate, and physical objects that are related to the wrongful death.
Once the attorney has collected a sufficient amount of evidence, they then have the difficult task of piecing all of these items together to establish liability on the part of the defendants, as well as to build the damages portion of the case.
This role may seem obvious, but it should not be overlooked because it’s one of the main reasons you sought help from a wrongful death attorney. Lawsuits cannot take place without specialized knowledge of the various laws in Pennsylvania, including the statute of limitations, the laws of intestacy, medical negligence, evidentiary rules, procedural requirements, and the wrongful death statute. That your attorney has a Juris Doctor degree is what separates them from literally anyone who doesn’t – your attorney is legally qualified to represent you in a court of law (your cousin Joe who thinks he knows everything is not).
Throughout your wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to make significant decisions that will affect the outcome of your case. Your wrongful death attorney can guide you and advise you so you can make the best possible decision at every turn.
Insurance companies, hospitals, defendants’ lawyers – these are just some of the parties your wrongful death attorney will speak to on your behalf. Your attorney will represent your interests in these various important conversations that occur during the course of your lawsuit.
Your wrongful death attorney will be your zealous advocate throughout the case. During depositions, hearings, and trial; while filing motions; or while talking with defendants’ lawyers on the phone – before, during, and after your lawsuit, your attorney has your back. They will advocate for you so that you win the case and collect the greatest possible amount of wrongful death damages.
Your lawyer is on your side. They want to help you achieve justice and get compensated to the full extent of the law. They will help you and support you and encourage you. They will be accountable to you. And they will expect you to help out when you can (for instance, when they ask for information, you give it to them). Together, you and your wrongful death attorney can look forward to a successful outcome of your case.
To consult with a wrongful death attorney who will zealously advocate for you, contact the attorneys at VSCP Law.
If you or a loved one have been injured, you should absolutely contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer so they can give you a free consultation. There are some instances in which the personal injury lawyer will decline to take your case. Here are the top five most common reasons a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case.
Pennsylvania law allows you two years from when you knew or should have known that your injury was the fault of the defendant. In the case of death, Pennsylvania law allows you two years from the official death date to file a wrongful death personal injury lawsuit. This law about timing is called the Pennsylvania statute of limitations. If you contact the personal injury attorney in Philadelphia or Scranton, Pennsylvania beyond the time allowed to file a lawsuit under the Pennsylvania statute of limitations, that attorney will not take your case.
Your Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer practices personal injury law. If you contact that lawyer with a case in an entirely different area of law, e.g., a criminal defense case, a contracts case, a child custody dispute, or an administrative action, they may not take the case. It’s still worthwhile to promptly contact the personal injury lawyer because they may be able to refer you to the proper legal expert to handle your case.
A personal injury case is successful when it meets four criteria:
If your case fails to meet one of the above essential criteria, the personal injury attorney in Philadelphia may not take your case.
Let’s say your cousin, who is married, has been seriously injured and you want to help them file a lawsuit. If you contact a personal injury attorney, they will tell you that you have no legal right to file the lawsuit on your cousin’s behalf. Your cousin may file a lawsuit and even your cousin’s spouse may file the lawsuit, but you are not closely enough related so you do not have a right to file the lawsuit.
When a personal injury attorney represents you in a lawsuit, they will pay for all the expenses upfront. They will pay for records. They will pay for experts to review the case. They will pay for their own travel to and from meetings with the defendant’s lawyers. They will pay for the court reporter who records the deposition transcripts. This is all at no initial up-front cost to you. When the lawsuit results in a payment by the defendant, the lawyer gets their costs reimbursed and their time compensated from that payment. Thus, because lawsuits unfortunately are expensive to investigate and bring to resolution, personal injury lawyers have to be selective with what they choose to take on. If your injuries are nominal, taking your case unfortunately would be cost-prohibitive.
Again, if you or your loved one suffers a personal injury, your first step should be to call a personal injury firm like VSCP Law (www.vscplaw.com) so you can get a risk-free evaluation of your case, at no cost to you.
Birth injuries can cause financial hardship on a family as the cost of future care for the child can be unexpected and excessive. In this article, we will explore the financial impact of a birth injury on a family and how a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer can help the family recover treatment costs.
When a family has been impacted by a birth injury, they can suffer financially. Babies who are injured during the birthing process require medical care that the parents of the child hadn’t anticipated. Some costs they didn’t plan for are related to physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine and medical supplies, subsequent surgeries or medical procedures, and special equipment. Many of these costs are only partially covered by insurance or not covered at all. It’s essential for the family to keep track of all out-of-pocket expenses to add to their financial claim against the defendants.
In addition to treatment costs, the family may need the help of a variety of professionals, including a family therapist, social worker, counselor, psychiatrist, house cleaner, nanny, cook, tutor, physical therapist, disability specialist, etc.
For a birth injury case, these expenses could amount to millions of dollars over the lifetime of the child.
Filing a lawsuit against the medical team and establishment responsible for a child’s birth injury can help the family recover financially. The family’s birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia will fight to get them the highest compensation to help them regain their financial footing.
In Pennsylvania, there are two main categories of compensation: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are quantifiable; the exact figure can be established with documentation. Economic damages could include a parent’s lost wages and future earnings if they had to stop working to help manage the child’s care after the birth injury. This category of damages also includes all the medical expenses and fees incurred leading up to, during, and after the child’s birth injury.
Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of the sad consequences of a birth injury. Non-economic damages include loss of companionship, comfort, and society or “loss of consortium.” This could include the parent’s loss of the opportunity to witness their injured child achieving certain milestones like riding a bike or playing sports. This could also include the parent’s loss of emotional connection with the child possibly because the child is unable to give hugs or verbal affirmation. Lastly, this category includes pain and suffering, humiliation or embarrassment, and disfigurement.
It goes without saying that no amount of money will take away the pain a child and their family feel after a birth injury. But, with the right birth injury attorney in Philadelphia, the family can at least rest assured that they will get the most compensation possible for their case.
If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury, contact the lawyers at vscplaw.com.
Wrongful death cases can be complicated and thus they can be time-consuming. There are many steps that your wrongful death attorney must take to resolve your case, including:
Setting up an estate. If your loved one died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a personal representative called an “administrator.” If your loved one died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Gathering essential documents. Your wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia need to collect the evidence that will help your case succeed. Such evidence includes medical records, autopsy report, death certificate, toxicology lab results, witness statements, and physical objects related to the death.
Retaining the best experts. Your wrongful death case will likely require expert review and analysis. Your wrongful death attorney has access to the best experts in the country and they will ensure that the most qualified experts review your case and write an ironclad report to bolster your claim in court.
Evaluating the value of the case. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for Pennsylvania wrongful death damages.
Filing a timely lawsuit. Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, you have two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute or the statute of limitations. Your wrongful death attorney will file the lawsuit within this timeframe.
Conducting discovery. Discovery is an information-gathering process. It includes collecting and reviewing all medical records, doctors’ notes, hospital summaries, discharge instructions, etc. from the defendants. It also involves interviewing witnesses in what are called “depositions.” Both parties – that is, your lawyer and the lawyers on the other side – engage in this process, trying to collect as much information as possible to truly understand what happened that led to the wrongful death at issue.
Going to trial. Many wrongful death cases settle before the case is tried in a court of law. But not all. Thus, a trial may add anywhere from one to five weeks to the timeline of your wrongful death case.
All of this takes time. At a minimum, your wrongful death case will be resolved after several months. But in most cases, it will take several years before the case resolves.
And while that may sound disheartening, rest assured that the above process is handled by your wrongful death attorney to ensure that you collect the highest amount possible for the wrongful death of your loved one.
To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP LAW (www.vscplaw.com).
The question often arises: if I suffer a personal injury, how will I know if I should consult with a personal injury attorney? In other words, what circumstances might require the services of a personal injury attorney? The answer is simple: every circumstance. Read on to learn why your best course of action after suffering a personal injury is to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
No matter how straightforward your case seems, it’s actually not. Let’s say you were driving and the car behind you rear-ended your car, causing you to suffer neck and back injuries. You may think this is a straightforward auto accident because you learned that people who rear-end the drivers in front are always at fault. But there are many factors to consider in auto accidents including the usage of handheld devices (like your cell phone) while driving, whether there were other distractions, whether the cars involved were compliant with state inspection laws, whether there were any recalls of parts on either of the cars, etc.
And what about your injuries? What was your health like prior to the accident? What problems do you suffer now because of your neck and back pain? Did you have to take time off from work to deal with your injuries? Are you totally healed or are there permanent injuries? There is no shortage of important factors to consider and only an experienced personal injury attorney can identify all of them. And only an experienced personal injury can undertake a proper analysis of each and every one of them.
And what about the various laws and rules of procedure in the Pennsylvania courts? No layperson is expected to understand how the law and procedure work in any particular case. Sadly, even many practicing attorneys who spent three years in law school don’t understand all of Pennsylvania’s complicated rules and regulations. Often, a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia won’t be as knowledgeable about the particular whims of, e.g., the Lackawanna County court system as well as a personal injury lawyer in Scranton would be. So, you may think your case is simple, but it’s not. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you.
People who suffer an injury and don’t consult with a lawyer often learn after it’s too late that they made critical errors early on. Often, it’s that they failed to preserve key evidence that would have helped their case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records; reviewing police reports; and collecting witness statements, photographs, and videos. The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.
Much of the critical evidence is in the possession of the defendant and if those items aren’t requested early in the process, the defendant could destroy them.
Thus, you need a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to help you avoid common missteps that could otherwise hinder the success of your lawsuit.
When you file a claim with your insurance company, the insurance company may try to convince you that they can handle everything. More often than not, an insurance company will undervalue your case. In other words, they will tell you that they can only collect a certain amount of money (because that is the maximum amount they’d be able to collect for you). Whatever amount the insurance company tells you is typically far less than what a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can collect for you.
Your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia knows how to build a case that is designed to help compensate you for your suffering and make sure that you get the most money possible for your injuries.
Your personal injury attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries – at no cost to you. If your personal injury lawyer determines that there is no negligence that caused your injury and there is no one to sue, you won’t have lost any money. Your attorney undergoes all that investigation at zero cost to you.
To find an experienced personal injury to represent you, contact the attorneys at VSCP LAW (www.vscplaw.com)
It is essential to know who represents the estate prior to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Connect with your wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia so they can help guide you through the confusing rules. Below is a selection of frequently asked questions (and corresponding answers) about wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania.
If the decedent died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” or “executrix” represents the estate of the decedent. This executor or executrix may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the decedent died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member would be assigned personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a close friend or someone else to be a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Whether a family member or not, the personal representative appointed by the court is called an “administrator” or “administratrix.” This administrator and administratrix may file a wrongful death suit.
No one. Other than the court-appointed administrator or the will-stipulated executor (both referred to as the “personal representative”), no one else may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Before filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the administrator or executor must “raise an estate” (or “open an estate”). They must go to the Register of Wills, armed with various documents such as a death certificate, a will (if there is one), valid ID, etc. The process can be complicated depending on whether there is a will, whether the will is contested, etc. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia can walk you through the necessary steps so that you have what you need to file the wrongful death lawsuit.
Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, the personal representative has two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute or the statute of limitations.
Two years may seem like a long time, but the wrongful death attorneys will need ample time to investigate the circumstances surrounding the decedent’s death. They will need to order records such as medical records or employment records. They will need to talk with various individuals who were involved in or had substantial knowledge about the circumstances leading up to the death. Thus, in order to comply with the wrongful death statute of limitations, the personal representative should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, there is a limited selection of individuals who can collect wrongful death damages in Pennsylvania. The beneficiaries, and the specific percentages, are set by Pennsylvania statutes.
You should hire a wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia to help you with all of the difficult stages of the claim, including these very preliminary ones. To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.