We all rely on the competent care of medical professionals when we are at our most vulnerable. However, the reality is that doctors and other medical care providers are human as well and therefore prone to mistakes or improper motivation. When your doctor’s behavior falls short of what is required to care for you as a patient, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover for your damages.
When people in Allentown are sick, they are often at their most vulnerable. However, the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional can quickly lead to adverse physical, emotional, and financial consequences. When this occurs, you are entitled to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit filed in the Pennsylvania court system.
The Reiff Law Firm has been fighting for the rights of individuals who have suffered harm due to a healthcare professional’s negligent conduct for decades. Our Allentown medical malpractice lawyers bring a combination of extensive legal experience and aggressive representation to help our clients. Call (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation.
Medical Malpractice in Allentown
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed through the negligent act, decision, or omission of a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other entity or individual licensed to provide healthcare services.
Negligence could include a wide variety of conduct, including treatment errors, misdiagnoses, medication mistakes, breaches of doctor-patient confidentiality, or any other grievous error by a medical professional that results in harm to the patient.
While not every medical error or tragic outcome constitutes medical malpractice, there are some common mistakes our law office sees in Allentown and the surrounding counties.
When a doctor misdiagnoses a medical condition or fails to diagnose one, the patient is unlikely to get the necessary treatment they require. Furthermore, a potentially deadly illness could be allowed to get worse.
Surgery is invasive, and there are inherent risks in every procedure. Unfortunately, surgical errors add to the risks patients face. From operating on the wrong body part, making an incorrect incision, and leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient, surgical mistakes place people in dangerous situations and are sometimes fatal.
Sometimes, the mistake occurs on the administrative level. When a hospital is improperly staffed or equipped, mistakes could happen that severely harm a patient. Additionally, if a hospital has questionable hiring practices or inadequate safety protocols in place, it could result in a preventable injury.
The birth of a child should be a wonderful event for a family. However, pregnancy and deliveries often present challenges and difficulties. When a problematic birth is mismanaged, a child could suffer a life-altering birth injury.
Negligent medical malpractice claims are not limited to the few types of cases stated above. If you believe you have suffered an injury because of your healthcare provider’s actions, decisions, or inaction, contact our knowledgeable Allentown medical malpractice attorney immediately.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice in Allentown
There are numerous ways in which your medical care provider’s improper behavior can cause you harm and lead to a medical malpractice case. Below are just a few of the most common instances of medical malpractices where victims may recover compensation in a lawsuit.
Surgeries always carry an element of danger, even for the most commonplace of conditions. It is the responsibility of the surgical team, from the surgeon to the anesthesiologist, to take proper care in preparing for and executing the surgery. Failing to do so can lead to serious complications of preexisting conditions or the development of new ones.
Failure to Inform
Prior to any substantial medical action, a doctor is obligated by law to gain informed consent from their patient. In order to validly give informed consent, the patient must have all of the information about the proposed course of treatment. This information includes details about potential side effects and any known risks of complications. Failure to obtain consent is a clear cause of action for a personal injury lawsuit.
Many conditions, if left untreated, can become substantially more serious over time. Further, if a patient receives treatment for the wrong condition, that treatment could potentially exacerbate the true cause of the patient’s symptoms. Unfortunately, a negligent physician may take shortcuts or conveniently ignore troubling symptoms when diagnosing a patient, putting the patient in additional danger.
Defective Medical Equipment
You could suffer injury while receiving medical treatment where the doctor is not the one at fault. If a medical tool or machine malfunctions and creates damage, you may have a personal injury case. You might be able to sue the hospital for failing to inspect or maintain their property. You may also have a case against the manufacturer of the defective piece of equipment. Pennsylvania allows you to name multiple defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit. To find out who can be held liable for your damages, speak to one of our experienced Allentown medical malpractice lawyers.
Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Allentown
As stated above, a medical malpractice case involves many legal complexities, one of which is establishing negligence on the part of one or more medical professionals whose conduct resulted in harm. However, every mistake is not negligence, and every poor outcome is not medical malpractice.
To prevail and recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove several elements.
First, there must be a doctor-patient relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. Our office will typically be able to prove this through medical records.
Next, the medical professional’s conduct, decision, or omission must have been a breach of the acceptable standard of medical care. This breach means that the decisions or actions deviated from what a similarly skilled professional in the same field would have done under the same circumstances. In nearly every medical malpractice case, this is the most challenging element to prove. Experienced medical professionals could reasonably disagree as to what should have occurred. Our office will turn to expert medical testimony to try to demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct constitutes a breach of the acceptable level of care.
Once a breach is established, it must be proven that the harm or adverse medical complications resulted from the negligent conduct. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient’s condition is so dire, the end result would have happened no matter what the doctor did.
The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Allentown
There is a limit on how long you can wait to file your medical malpractice lawsuit in Allentown. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims runs for two years after the cause of action accrues. In other words, you typically have two years from the malpractice incident to file your lawsuit.
However, medical malpractice is complicated because patients may not realize that they were the victim of malpractice until months or even years after the incident. This often happens because of fraud or hidden effects. For this reason, the clock only begins to run once the victim discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) the connection between the negligent or reckless medical care and the harm they sustained.
There are also other exceptions to the statute of limitations on Allentown medical malpractice cases. For instance, if the malpractice victim was a minor at the time of the incident, the clock usually will not start to run until the victim reaches the age of maturity (which is 18 in Pennsylvania).
Regardless, preparing to file a medical malpractice lawsuit can take a substantial amount of time, particularly where the nature of the malpractice or the injuries sustained as a result are complex. It is in your best interest to reach out to one of our respected Allentown medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible.
Challenges in Medical Malpractice Claims in Allentown Courts
To receive compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit, a victim must prove the elements listed above by a preponderance of the evidence. The jury must believe that it was more likely than not that a medical professional’s conduct caused the injury.
Many factors make litigating a medical malpractice case difficult. For example, the primary evidence in a medical malpractice case is extremely complicated. A jury can easily understand that a car speeding through a red light was an act of negligence. However, when confronted with a complex medical misdiagnosis or complications, the answer is rarely as clear. Our skilled Allentown medical malpractice attorneys will work to present detailed expert medical testimony in such a way that jurors are engaged and understand the evidence provided.
As mentioned earlier, proving that the defendant’s negligent conduct directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries is difficult. Many other factors could have contributed to the harm the patient suffered, including the victim’s genetic makeup, medical history, lifestyle, and general health. A competent defense attorney will attempt to present evidence to the jury to show that the defendant’s conduct might not have contributed to the injury. The plaintiff’s attorneys and staff at the Reiff Law Firm will aggressively combat any argument offered by the defense.
Allentown Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When our trusted medical professionals and healthcare providers make inexcusable errors that result in harm, they should be held accountable. Our medical malpractice lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm are committed to helping victims of medical negligence. Victims of medical malpractice deserve to be compensated for their physical, mental, and financial damages. If you or a loved one was a medical malpractice victim, call (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free appointment.