If you believe you have been injured because of what a doctor has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical 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 medical malpractice claim is by contacting a medical malpractice attorney for a consultation. Below are some more reasons why you should hire a medical malpractice lawyer.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FILE THE LAWSUIT IN THE FIRST PLACE
In every medical malpractice case, time is of the essence. If your Pennsylvania 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 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 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.
YOUR COMPLAINT WILL INCLUDE ALL NECESSARY CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION
An experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for damages. For example, here <hyperlink to categories of compensation in birth injury case> are the various forms of compensation you can collect in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice case in the context of a birth injury. Also, there are special statutes in Pennsylvania that apply to certain cases. An experienced Pennsylvania 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.
Your medical malpractice attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries and, with the assistance of medical experts, make a professional determination as to whether the healthcare provider was negligent and thus liable to you for your injuries. Whether the medical malpractice attorney decides to file a lawsuit on your behalf or not, you still owe no money to the lawyer for doing all of the initial legwork before making that determination. And your medical malpractice attorney never gets paid unless they win your lawsuit either by a jury verdict or settlement.
If you believe you have been injured as the result of a medical error in Pennsylvania, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP LAW.
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.