When the headlines announce big jury verdicts, some people are fooled into thinking that a jury verdict is to be an expected outcome of every lawsuit. But, in fact, 95% of lawsuits result in settlements rather than jury verdicts. That is to say, only about one in 20 lawsuits will end up with a jury verdict at trial, rather than a settlement.
What is it?
A settlement is an agreement in which the person who was injured agrees to accept personal injury compensation in exchange for dismissing a claim for damages against the defendant who caused the injury. A settlement is often exclusively an award of money, but settlements can also include non-monetary awards, such as an apology from the defendant or a change in policy and procedure.
When does it occur?
For a personal injury case, the settlement can occur at any point from the time the injured person contacts an attorney to the very end of a trial. The case could be settled even before the Complaint is filed. But it’s more common for a personal injury settlement to occur after the Complaint has been filed and before the case goes to trial. Sometimes, attorneys for both sides might not enter settlement negotiations until after they start trial. And the injury claim process is so variable that sometimes settlement negotiations may continue even after the point at which the jury has heard the entire trial and begins deliberating. There have been many frustrated juries that come back to the court after spending hours or even days deliberating, only to be told by the judge that the lawyers reached a settlement!
Why enter into a settlement?
Many cases resolve by settlement before trial begins. Indeed, a main motivation in settling the case before trial is that trials can be expensive and risky. Even if your case seems strong, you can never truly predict what the jury will think and what conclusion they will draw. Perhaps they agree that the defendant caused your injuries, but what if they think you’re not really that injured? They may grant you a very small award.
To eliminate that risk of a jury that doesn’t agree with your position, both sides have to give in a little to reach a settlement. Indeed, settlements are often compromises. President Dwight D. Eisenhower is attributed as saying, “Compromise is like the middle of the road; always safer to walk on than the edges.” Thus, settlement is a safe way to ensure that both parties walk away with something reassuring: for the injured person, they walk away with guaranteed compensation; for the defendant, they walk away with the relief of not risking a large jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
If you would like to consult with experienced personal injury lawyers, contact the attorneys at VSCP Law.
If you think you have been a victim of surgical errors, here are some ways you can maximize compensation in your medical malpractice case.
Often, victims of surgical errors inadvertently lose or destroy key pieces of evidence. It is imperative that you preserve all necessary records and items pertaining to your surgical errors medical malpractice case. If you are unsure whether a document is essential to your case, err on the side of holding onto it. Keep everything you can because you don’t know yet what item will become crucial to the success of your case.
Examples of evidence include medical records, intake forms, toxicology reports, labwork, prescription slips, photographs and videos, work records, financial statements, and physical objects that are related to the medical malpractice (e.g., prescription bottles, medical devices, etc.). Even media such as emails, text messages, and social media posts should be preserved in case they can help your case.
Again, the absence of these items could reduce the value and success of your surgical errors medical malpractice case.
KEEP UP WITH FOLLOW-UP MEDICAL CARE
An error that victims of medical malpractice often make is failing to go to their follow-up care. Whether it’s out of a distrust of doctors, inconvenience, or physical discomfort, some people just discontinue seeking medical treatment after their medical injury. This is a huge mistake. You may seek a second opinion, you may change doctors, but you should not skip your follow up care. Further, make sure to document and keep track of all out-of-pocket medical expenses. Extensive follow-up care helps establish your future care needs for your surgical errors medical malpractice case and, hopefully and most importantly, it also helps you recover.
DOCUMENT YOUR INJURY AND RECOVERY
In order to maximize compensation, it will be important to establish that the effects of the surgical errors are continually burdensome. Make sure to take photos and videos throughout your journey to give a visual picture of the scarring and disfigurement you’re suffering. Journaling is another way to keep track of your injury and the uncomfortable effects of it.
It’s also helpful to document your conversations with healthcare providers. With time, your memory may fade a little so try to write down conversations with healthcare and rehabilitation providers soon after they occur.
TALK TO A LAWYER
In addition to the above important steps, a step you should take early on in the process is to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer. This lawyer will be able to make sure you abide by all the necessary regulations, including the time-sensitive statute of limitations. Your lawyer also knows all the important steps you need to take to maximize compensation and will help guide you through them.
If you believe you are a victim of surgical errors, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, you may be overwhelmed at the complexity of the law and medicine involved. Read on to learn some legal and medical basics and how a birth injury lawyer can help you navigate your complex birth injury case.
PRESERVING YOUR RIGHTS TO FILE A CLAIM
In Pennsylvania, you can file a birth injury claim up to two years after the child turns 18 (i.e., up until their 20th birthday). But you should never wait that long to consult an attorney. If your baby suffered a birth injury, you need to contact a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your claims.
While your child’s case doesn’t expire until your child turns 20, YOUR case expires two years after you knew or should have known that your child’s birth injury was someone’s fault. Your claim as the parent could be for, e.g., out of pocket expenses, emotional suffering, etc. Parents lose their individual right to sue the healthcare providers after those two years expire.
A Philadelphia birth injury attorney, with sufficient notice, can ensure that you and your child don’t lose your rights to file a lawsuit.
GETTING YOUR CHILD ACCESS TO CRITICAL CARE
If your child has suffered a serious birth injury, you may be so overwhelmed that you don’t know what to do next. You don’t know how to deal with this massive injury that is afflicting your child. You don’t know whom to talk to, how to navigate various hospital systems, and how to obtain the appropriate medical care for your child. Philadelphia birth injury lawyers can help by connecting you with the proper healthcare professionals who can provide thorough medical evaluations, early intervention, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other critical care.
COLLECTING CRUCIAL EVIDENCE
Another way a birth injury attorney can help you is by collecting evidence that could be crucial to your birth injury lawsuit. The medical terms may seem complicated and the medical records may be hard to understand; this is where your birth injury lawyer comes in. Your attorney will review and digest all of the necessary information because it is essential to your birth injury lawsuit – it supports the argument that the healthcare professionals’ actions or omissions caused your child’s injuries. This evidence will also help establish the extent of your child’s injuries, detailing every related issue whether it’s physical or emotional.
OBTAINING MONEY DAMAGES
In Pennsylvania, there are two main categories of compensation: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable, the specific figures can be established, or at least reasonably estimated, with documentation. Examples of economic damages include: medical expenses, loss of future earnings, and lost wages (for parents who had to stop working to care for their injured child).
Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of the sad consequences of a birth injury. Examples of non-economic damages include: loss of companionship, loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, humiliation and embarrassment, and disfigurement.
It goes without saying that no amount of money will take away the pain your child and your family feel after a birth injury. But, with the right birth injury attorney in Philadelphia, you can at least rest assured that you will get the most compensation possible for your complex birth injury case.
There is no birth injury case that is too complex for the lawyers at VSCP Law.
When people learn that our firm is specialized in medical malpractice in Philadelphia and Scranton, they often want to know about the various types of medical malpractice claims (also referred to as medical negligence claims). Of course it would be impossible to examine all possible medical malpractice claims. Below is a sampling of fairly common medical malpractice claims that our medical malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia and Scranton often encounter.
Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to death. For example, a woman may come to the emergency room with symptoms of nausea and fatigue. The poorly-informed doctor incorrectly concludes that she’s suffering from menstrual issues or indigestion. The doctor prescribes some antacid and/or a painkiller. In fact, the woman was suffering a heart attack. When women suffer heart attacks, they don’t have the same symptoms as men suffering heart attacks. Most doctors only know the typical male symptoms and often misdiagnose women, leading to serious cardiac injury or death.
There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. For example, when a patient is suffering a stroke, time is of the essence. A stroke is when blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced. This is an urgent medical issue and requires a timely diagnosis. Sometimes medical staff will mistake a stroke for a migraine and prescribe pain killers. Unfortunately, during a stroke, every minute that passes is a minute that the brain is losing precious oxygen. And if the proper diagnosis is delayed for too long, the person could suffer brain damage, disability, and even death.
Another type of medical negligence claim that our medical malpractice attorneys in Philadelphia and Scranton handle frequently is birth injury. These cases focus on the injuries a child could suffer during childbirth. There are often medical issues that arise for the mother of the child as well. Types of birth injury include:
There are several other examples of birth injury. For a complete list, see this article <hyperlink to What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?>.
If you believe you have suffered a medical injury and would like to explore whether what you experienced constitutes medical malpractice, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death across all ages and genders. Timely detection of lung cancer determines how successful a patient will be in surviving it.
How can a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer help you if you’re diagnosed with lung cancer? The lawyer can help determine whether your lung cancer was apparent and ignored by your healthcare professionals. If so, you could be compensated for the physical and emotional injuries you sustain from your lung cancer.
There are two main types of lung cancer medical malpractices cases we see.
The patient is asymptomatic for most of the time she has lung cancer. The majority of lung cancer medical malpractice cases that are handled involve a patient who lived with lung cancer for months or years prior to feeling any related symptoms. Their doctors, however, should have seen the lung cancer on radiology studies of the patient’s chest and missed it. Due to this malpractice, the lung cancer was allowed to progress to an advanced stage.
For example, let’s say, a patient was diagnosed with a heart condition years ago and needed to have a cardiac surgical procedure. Prior to the procedure, her cardiologist (heart doctor) ordered for her to have a chest MRI taken. The MRI at this time showed tumors in the patient’s lungs and the cardiologist who reviewed the MRI never identified the tumors and/or told the patient about the tumors. Then, a year later, the patient fell while skiing and had to go to Urgent Care where she had a chest x-ray taken. The x-ray confirmed that she broke her sternum but did not diagnose her tumors. A year after that, after suffering from a flu that resulted in a chronic cough, the patient’s primary care physician ordered that she have an x-ray taken to rule out pneumonia. On that x-ray, the physician noticed that the patient had tumors all over her lungs and she was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. In this case, the patient’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney could and would sue various responsible parties, such as the patient’s cardiologist and the Urgent Care staff, for missing the clear signs of lung cancer on the earlier MRI and earlier x-ray.
In other words, even where someone doesn’t have symptoms of lung cancer, the lung cancer may be detected by various diagnostic tests such as MRI, x-ray, and CT scans when the healthcare providers are scanning the patient’s chest for other reasons. And if they fail to observe the tumors or they do see the tumors and just fail to communicate to the patient about the tumors, they have caused an unnecessary delay in treatment and can be held liable.
Another type of case Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers see is where the patient is symptomatic. In these cases, the patient was coughing a lot or spitting up blood or wheezing or losing weight rapidly and they go to see their doctor who fails to order diagnostic scans which would have showed lung cancer.
As in the first example, the doctor is liable for medical malpractice because the doctor failed to diagnose lung cancer early and get the patient in a proper cancer treatment program (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.).
It’s imperative to detect and treat lung cancer as early as possible to maximize the patient’s chance for survival. Failure of a healthcare provider to do so is medical malpractice.
If you or your loved one need help with a lung cancer case, contact the Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.
Note: For purposes of this article, the terms “medical malpractice” (referring to negligence in the context of the practice of medicine) and “hospital malpractice” (referring to medical negligence specifically in a hospital setting) will be used interchangeably as “hospital malpractice” is a subset of “medical malpractice.”
If you believe you have been injured because of what happened to you while you were at a hospital in Philadelphia, then you might have a valid hospital malpractice lawsuit and you may be able to be compensated for your injuries. The only way to know if you do, in fact, have a valid claim is by contacting a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney for a consultation.
Below are some ways a lawyer can help you navigate a hospital malpractice lawsuit.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FILE THE LAWSUIT IN THE FIRST PLACE
In every hospital malpractice case, time is of the essence. If your hospital malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia 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 hospital malpractice claim and who files the lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. If the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to file a lawsuit in the first place.
YOU’LL BE ABLE TO RETAIN CRUCIAL EVIDENCE
An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia 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 hospital malpractice claim such as prescription bottles and medical devices.
The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.
YOUR COMPLAINT WILL INCLUDE ALL NECESSARY CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will know whom to sue – which entity (sometimes hospitals are part of huge healthcare conglomerate corporations), which doctors, and which hospital employees, including nurses, specialists, hospital administrative staff, technicians, etc. The attorney will evaluate the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for damages. Also, there are special statutes in Philadelphia that apply to certain cases. An experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney knows which statutes apply to your case and how to craft your claim in the way that puts you in the best position to win.
If you believe you have been injured as the result of negligence in a Philadelphia hospital, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP LAW.
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world as we know it, hospitals and doctors’ offices had to scramble to transform traditional medical practice into one that could survive widespread shutdown orders. And thus, telemedicine – for the first time in history – became the primary way doctors and patients interacted with each other for most outpatient appointments. “Telemedicine” – also referred to as “telehealth” – is the delivery of healthcare using electronic information and technology, such as computers, videoconferencing, wireless communications, and the internet.
DEFICIENCIES IN TELEMEDICINE
While this form of virtual healthcare is inarguably more convenient than in-person healthcare, it is not necessarily better. Indeed, both doctors and patients will concur that some in-person visits are essential for proper care, diagnosis, and treatment. For instance, a dermatologist would have a difficult time establishing whether a mole is cancerous simply by looking at it on the small screen on her laptop. Instead, she’d have to look at it in person, from different angles and distances, tap it, squeeze it, and measure it to truly know whether it should be biopsied to check for cancer.
TELEMEDICINE AND PERSONAL INJURY LIABILITY
As to how telemedicine affects personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits, it operates under the same laws as traditional, in-person medicine. That is to say, if you have been injured because of what a doctor or medical team has done or not done, then you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. This is true whether the treatment took place in the same room or across the telecommunications highway. Even when the doctor is communicating with you and rendering medical treatment through electronic means, they must provide you proper care and if they don’t, they could be liable for your injuries.
TELEMEDICINE AND PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS
As in traditional personal injury lawsuits, telemedicine lawsuits will require the thorough preservation of evidence. Evidence includes health summaries, hospital notes, prescription slips, lab results, and other medical reports. When the doctor or hospital provides virtual care, they have the same duties to make an adequate record of their treatment of the patient. Even though the setting is different, their obligations to their patients are the same. Notably, it can be argued that the virtual healthcare setting is ripe for more medical mistakes. Indeed, as mentioned above, how can anyone be certain of a proper diagnosis when it’s rendered through a video conversation rather than through a thorough in-person screening?
Telemedicine cases can open up new issues for personal injury lawyers such as, where should the Complaint be filed if the patient was in one state and/or county and the doctor rendering care was in another? This and other confounding issues make the need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer that much greater.
To consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your potential telemedicine personal injury case, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.
According to the John Lewis Institute for Social Justice, “social justice” is “a communal effort dedicated to creating and sustaining a fair and equal society in which each person and all groups are valued and affirmed.” Further, it seeks to end “all systems that devalue the dignity and humanity of any person.”
Given that social justice is an effort at the community level, how are personal injury lawyers advancing it? In order to understand that, first let’s explore a sampling of contexts in which certain persons are devalued, thereby creating the need for social justice advocacy.
In workplaces across the country, companies may engage in racist hiring, retention, compensation, and termination practices. Other unfair practices may include, for example, not providing proper safety equipment to a subgroup of workers, rendering them more likely than their colleagues to suffer serious injury from workplace accidents. Personal injury lawyers advance social justice when they fight on the behalf of these injured workers and ensure workplace safety is prioritized over company profit.
Disability rights are social justice rights. In other words, those in the disability community are included in the group of marginalized people who seek a fairer and more equitable society. There are various circumstances where a personal injury lawyer can help fight for disability rights. For instance, let’s say a company fails to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA mandates that public accommodations (whether owned by the government, a non-profit organization, or a private company) must meet certain minimum standards for accessibility. Failure to meet these guidelines can cause people in the disabled community serious injury. A personal injury attorney can sue the company on behalf of the injured person.
Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides an individual the right to sue state government employees and others for civil rights violations. Prisoners can use Section 1983, for example, to sue the prison for inhabitable living conditions, faulty healthcare, or the failure of a security guard to protect a prisoner during an assault. Other possible claims against a prison include false arrest, wrongful conviction, false imprisonment, abuse of process, and the use of excessive force. A personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit against the prison and other government entities for the personal injuries they caused to the client.
As may be obvious, in many examples of social justice violations, there’s a corporate greed that seems to be valued over human safety. Often, injuries happen to people because the company is more concerned with their bottom line than the health, wellbeing, and safety of others.
Personal injury lawyers can help drive societal and systemic change by holding profit-hungry corporations, companies, agencies, and organizations accountable for their actions and inactions. And, notably, change happening at the court level operates at lightning-fast pace compared to change happening at the congressional or legislative levels.
To fight inequality and further social justice, hire the personal injury lawyers and social justice advocates at VSCP Law.
If you believe you’ve been injured as the result of someone else’s actions or inactions, you should consult with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney. Read on to understand the two main things you can do to prepare for the consultation.
When you meet with a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, try to have with you documents that will be necessary in determining whether you have a viable case. Documents that may be necessary include: your work history, medical records, cell phone records, photos, emails, medical records and reports, statements from eyewitnesses, contact information for eyewitnesses, police report, and other information that helps establish what was happening immediately before you got injured as well as how you got injured and what happened after you were injured.
The more evidence you bring to your initial meeting with the Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, the better. And personal injury lawyers will always appreciate it if you organize the notes and records to make the review of them that much easier.
Notably, sometimes, your attorney might tell you not to do things that you think you probably should. For instance, if you were in a car accident, you may be inclined to have your car repaired immediately. But your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney would advise against that. How your car looks and how damaged your car is due to the accident are crucial elements of evidence and should not be altered. Thus, before the car is repaired, your lawyer may want to take a look and send an automotive expert to do so as well.
BE READY TO SIGN FORMS
Before the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can review all of the crucial evidence for your case, you need to sign a Contingent Fee Agreement with them. This agreement establishes the
client-attorney relationship. It stipulates that you, the client, do not need to pay the lawyer anything upfront. The lawyer will assume all the costs and expenses to build and try your case. The lawyer only gets paid back for all of those costs and expenses if the lawsuit is successful.
To find a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania who will review the evidence you collect, thoroughly evaluate your case, file a complaint, and win a successful outcome for you, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at VSCP Law.
If you are wondering, when is the best time to file a lawsuit? A Philadelphia personal injury attorney would tell you: “sooner, rather than later!”
Before examining why filing your lawsuit as-early-as-possible is the best approach, it’s important to understand Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations law.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations allows you two years from when you knew or should have known that your injury was caused by what the defendant did or didn’t do.
For example, 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.
Timeliness of Evidence
Think of all the evidence a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer may need to present at trial to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. In the case of an auto accident: police reports; eyewitness statements; photos of the car prior and immediately after the accident; statements from the tow truck company, the automotive repair company, and the insurance adjuster; records of the defendant’s cell phone activity immediately prior to the accident; emergency room and other medical records, including x-rays, CT scans, radiology reports, blood labs, toxicology reports, intake notes, and vitals for both you and the defendant. This list is in no way exhaustive.
What is essential to understand is that some evidence is finite in quality. That is to say, some evidence is more fresh closer to the date of the incident. Witness statements, for example: the testimony of eyewitnesses to the accident that caused your injury will not be fresh forever. With time, the crispness of the memory fades and the details become blurry. That’s why it’s essential to collect witness statements as soon as possible after the injury.
Timeline of Most Personal Injury Cases
Even if you file your lawsuit promptly, there will still be a wait time of at least a couple of years before your case goes to trial. Between the time your attorney files the Complaint and the actual trial is a lengthy period called “Discovery,” in which both sides to the lawsuit request, exchange, and examine information and evidence pertaining to the case. This includes depositions of parties, experts writing reports, and often a series of motions and hearings on evidentiary issues.
And notwithstanding the considerable length of the discovery period, another delay looms large in Philadelphia: cases are backlogged due to the closure of courts during the early months of the COVID pandemic. So, there is a long line of postponed trials that get priority over recently-filed cases.
In sum, the sooner you file your lawsuit, the less time you’ll have to wait until the trial. To talk with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to help you file your lawsuit in the most timely manner, contact VSCP Law.