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.
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.
Many people in the Philadelphia area suffer from a medical injury and they wonder, “What constitutes medical malpractice? Do I have a medical malpractice lawsuit?” To answer, it makes sense to first explore the following questions:
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Medical malpractice is a negligence claim in the context of medicine. This means that if you have been injured because of what a doctor or medical team has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. The medical malpractice might have occurred because your doctor gave you a wrong diagnosis or prescribed the wrong medicine. Or maybe the nurses injured you while administering medicine or wound-care. Maybe the hospital did not provide medical staff to address your medical issue in a timely manner. If a doctor, nurse, or any health care professional causes you to suffer an injury related to their treatment of you either by doing something or not doing something, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit.
HOW DO I FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Your first step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to contact a Pennsylvania-based medical malpractice attorney. The medical malpractice lawyer will walk you through the necessary steps which will include obtaining your medical records and hiring medical experts to determine whether you have a valid case. The medical malpractice attorney makes all of this as easy as possible for you – you simply have to sign the contingent fee agreement as well as a document that permits the attorney to collect your medical records from your doctors. Your medical malpractice lawyer will then review your records and consult with medical experts to determine if your case can be filed.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE AFTER THE INJURY TO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SUIT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
The rules in Pennsylvania are that you have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The name for this time restriction is “statute of limitations.” This medical malpractice statute of limitations rule means that you have two years after you knew or should have known that your medical injury was caused by your doctor or healthcare provider. The exception to this two-year rule is for children who are the victims of medical malpractice. For them, the statute of limitations runs two years after they become an adult (ie, two years after their 18th birthday).
WHAT IS NEEDED IN ORDER TO FILE THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE COMPLAINT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
In order to prove your medical malpractice claim, your attorney will need to hire an expert. The expert must be in the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who committed the medical malpractice. For instance, if your injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon. Assuming the expert agrees that a medical error took place and caused your injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit Letter. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will then need to file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in the court. And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.
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.
If a hospital discharges a patient before it’s appropriate to do so, you could sue the hospital and medical team for early discharge. Read on to learn more about this medical malpractice claim.
WHAT DOES “EARLY DISCHARGE” MEAN?
What does the term “early discharge” mean in the context of a medical malpractice case? Let’s start with the second term, “discharge,” which refers to the action of a hospital releasing the patient from their care and sending them home. “Early” obviously refers to the timing – being released prematurely or too soon from the hospital is what qualifies as early discharge. Other ways to describe this are “premature discharge,” “untimely discharge,” and “wrongful discharge.”
IN WHAT CONTEXT IS SOMEONE DISCHARGED TOO EARLY?
Many early discharge cases arise in the context of the emergency room. Emergency rooms (or ERs) are places where the hospital wants patients in and out – either the patient leaves the ER to go home or they leave the ER to be transferred to another wing of the hospital or an outpatient medical office. Either way, the hospital wants the patient in and out of the ER in quick fashion if possible so they can prioritize newly presenting patients.
Here are some examples of early discharge from the ER:
Not all early discharge cases happen in the ER. Sometimes a patient could be treated as an outpatient when they should be kept overnight for further observation. And other times, a patient stays for a few days in the hospital and is released before being in stable condition.
Whatever the exact circumstance, if you believe that you or a loved one was discharged from a healthcare setting too early, you may have a valid early discharge medical malpractice case. To learn important next steps, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
How can your Philadelphia personal injury attorney get you the best value for your injuries? Read on to learn the five best ways to increase the value of your personal injury settlement.
Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers know that one of the most important actions they can take to increase the value of a personal injury case is to aggressively pursue and preserve evidence. They know 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 might destroy them, even inadvertently. Thus, you need an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to pursue and preserve any and all necessary evidence.
Your personal injury attorney will aggressively seek as much evidence as possible, but the clients, themselves, need to do some work too. Personal injury clients usually have firsthand access to medical records, financial documents, police reports, photographs, and videos, and all of these items can be useful in increasing the value of your personal injury case.
Let’s say you coached your kids’ soccer teams for years until you were injured. You also played soccer on an intramural team. Now, as the result of your personal injury, you can no longer play soccer or even coach your kids’ teams. How do you prove that you were once a great player and coach? Photographs, trophies, etc. How do you prove that you’re too injured to play and coach? Document your physical struggles, journal your pain, take photos/videos of yourself on days you cannot get out of bed. How you were before your injury and how you suffer since your injury all help to increase the value of your personal injury case. And you are in the best position to attain and collect this evidence.
At times, insurance companies might reach out to you and try to settle the case early “before getting lawyers involved.” This is a mistake. Whatever amount the insurance company tells you they will settle the case for is typically far less than what a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can collect for you. Don’t be tempted to settle the case early with an insurance company. Get a lawyer involved so that your lawyer can get you the highest possible value of your case.
Your best chance of getting the most value out of your personal injury settlement is to listen to your lawyer and follow their advice. Your personal injury lawyer has years of experience trying similar cases, has worked against many defense firms and insurance companies, and knows the ins and outs of the Pennsylvania judicial system.
To find an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.
If your loved one has died as the result of someone else’s error, you may have a wrongful death claim. You may be wondering, does your wrongful death case require an autopsy? The short answer to that question is not necessarily.
To start, and most importantly, no two cases are the same. One cannot blanketly say that an autopsy is required in a medical malpractice wrongful death suit or that it’s not required in a wrongful death suit. The facts of the case, the causation claim, the damages, whether evidence needs to be preserved, and various other factors will determine whether you should get an autopsy of your deceased loved one. Because the answer is, essentially, “it depends,” you should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine whether an autopsy is required.
Read on to understand the factors your wrongful death attorney will consider in determining the necessity of an autopsy as well as some general ways an autopsy gets ordered.
STRAIGHTFORWARD CAUSE OF DEATH
If there is no real question as to the cause of death, an autopsy is generally not necessary. Let’s say, for example, that your loved one was a healthy person with no underlying health concerns. And he gets in a serious car accident in which the other person’s car drives head-on into his car; he dies at the scene. In that wrongful death action, it will be obvious to all parties that the car crash is what caused his death. An autopsy, thus, would not give much more information than what is already evident to all involved.
UNKNOWN CAUSE OF DEATH
On the other hand, if it is completely unknown what exactly caused your loved one’s death, then an autopsy could be informative. For example, if you think your loved one died due to being prescribed the wrong medicine and the doctor you’re suing suggested your loved one died from an unrelated pneumonia, an autopsy could help resolve the issue. An autopsy would clarify whether the wrongfully-prescribed medicine caused your loved one to die or whether the unrelated lung infection did.
HOW DO YOU GET AN AUTOPSY OF YOUR LOVED ONE’S BODY?
There are different ways an autopsy can be ordered. In some instances, a government agency and/or official could order one to be performed. For example, it could be ordered by the local county coroner or the local medical examiner’s office. Alternatively, the family of the decedent could request one from the county coroner or the medical examiner’s office and/or the hospital where a loved one died. Lastly, you can, through your lawyer, order a private autopsy, performed by a professional forensic pathologist hired by your lawyer.
As to whether to order and/or request an autopsy for your wrongful death suit, you should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who will weigh all the factors in determining whether an autopsy is necessary for the potential case. Find an experienced wrongful death attorney at VSCP Law.
When a doctor – or any medical provider – 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, the patient likely has a viable medical malpractice claim, for which the patient and possibly their family may be compensated.
In order to prove a medical malpractice claim, the medical malpractice lawyer will have to prove the following four essential elements:
A professional duty is the first element in a medical malpractice claim. The medical malpractice attorney has to establish that there was a doctor/patient (or healthcare staff/patient) relationship. They might ask: was this medical provider charged with taking care of the patient and/or accepted the responsibility of caring for this patient? If the answer is yes, then duty has been established.
The next element in the medical malpractice claim is breach of duty. Once the attorney has proven that the medical professional had a duty to care for the patient, the attorney must next prove that the medical professional breached that duty. In other words, they have to prove that the medical professional failed to provide the standard of care expected of them. An example of breach of duty is when a surgeon leaves a surgical tool inside the patient’s body during surgery. Surgeons are expected to remove all surgical tools used during surgery from the body cavity. If they fail to do so, they have breached the duty they owed to their patient.
The next element the medical malpractice attorney must prove is causation. If they can establish that the patient’s injury would not have occurred if it weren’t for the defendants’ actions or inactions, then they have proved causation. In other words, in order for the medical malpractice claim to be successful, the attorney must prove that the medical provider’s mistake – their negligence – led to the patient’s injuries and/or increased the patient’s risk of harm of sustaining their injuries. It’s not necessary to prove that the medical provider’s negligent actions were the only cause of the patient’s injuries. It’s only necessary to prove that the medical provider’s negligence increased the risk of harm to the patient.
The last element the medical malpractice attorney must prove is damages. The attorney will need to establish that, as the result of the medical professional’s medical negligence, the patient suffered injuries. These injuries may be new injuries or they may be an old injury that has been aggravated or worsened due to the medical professional’s mistake.
If the medical malpractice attorney can prove the above four elements, the client’s medical malpractice claim will have all the essential elements to move forward in a court of law.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a medical provider’s mistake, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP LAW.