Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice cases often involve painful physical injuries alongside significant mental trauma and anguish. You deserve justice for the harm caused by medical professionals you trusted, and an attorney can help you.
Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses various injuries inflicted by negligent medical professionals. Surgical errors, failures to properly diagnose, and birth injuries are just a few possible claims. When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must submit a certificate of merit for your case to move forward, which our attorneys can help you obtain. When to file your case is tricky, as the statute of limitations can vary between different cases. The general statute of limitations imposes a 2-year deadline, although you might have more time under certain circumstances. Your damages should include your economic and non-economic injuries, and punitive damages might also be recoverable.
Medical malpractice might leave injured patients with debilitating injuries and long-term psychological scars. Our medical malpractice attorneys can help you fight for fair compensation. For a free case evaluation, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.
Examples of Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
While patients might not fully recover from their injuries after treatment, that does not mean they have suffered malpractice. There must be such negligence on the part of medical professionals that they have failed to meet standards of care.
A commonly cited example of medical malpractice is surgical error. Even the most routine surgery is a delicate operation; one wrong move could spell disaster for the patient. In some cases, surgeons leave medical equipment inside a patient’s body, causing significant pain and medical complications. Not all surgical mistakes rise to the level of malpractice, but they might if the mistake constitutes a failure to meet standards of care.
In other cases, malpractice stems from a failure to act. Failure to diagnose is one such negligent omission that might constitute a failure to meet standards of care. While not every diagnosis is correct, mistakes made because of substandard care might be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
Birth injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities and complications for children, and they often stem from substandard levels of care.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Medical malpractice cases involve special knowledge of the medical field that the average lawyer, judge, or juror might not have. As a result, the court might need help to ascertain whether your case involves substandard levels of medical care. To verify that your case involves substandard care, a certificate of merit from a qualified medical professional is required under 231 Pa. Code § 1042.3(a).
Our medical malpractice attorneys must help you file a certificate of merit no later than 60 days after filing your lawsuit. The certificate must include a written statement from a qualified, licensed medical professional that there is a reasonable probability that the defendant’s skill, care, or knowledge used during treatment fell outside acceptable standards of care. Additionally, the substandard care must be the cause of your harm.
If you are suing more than one medical professional, a separate certificate of merit and a statement from a licensed professional must be included for each defendant. This is not uncommon, and many patients are treated by teams of doctors and nurses.
When You Should File a Medical Malpractice Case in Pennsylvania
According to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2), the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is 2 years. If you do not file your case within 2 years of when the injuries occurred, you might lose your right to sue. This is particularly challenging in medical malpractice cases because patients often do not realize they’ve been injured for quite some time.
Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5533(b), the statute of limitations may be tolled for minors. If you were younger than 18 when a doctor’s substandard care injured you, you have 2 years from the day you turn 18 to file your case. Additionally, a unique rule applies to cases where surgeons leave foreign objects in a patient’s body. Since these injuries are often not discovered immediately, the statute begins to run from the date the foreign objects are discovered rather than when they were left behind.
A statute of repose is a different deadline that is stricter than a normal statute of limitations. The statute of repose imposes a hard deadline after which the deadline cannot be tolled, even if a good reason exists. In medical malpractice cases., the statute of repose is 7 years. However, this time limit was deemed unconstitutional under Yanakos v. UPMC, at least regarding cases involving minors and foreign objects left in the body.
Possible Damages You Can Recover in Medical Malpractice Cases in Pennsylvania
Damages in medical malpractice cases can be significant, especially when plaintiffs are left with long-term pain, complications, or disabilities. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic losses, and punitive damages may apply depending on the defendant’s behavior.
Economic losses are ways in which you lose money because of your injuries. For example, you might have needed to see multiple other doctors to correct the mistakes made by the defendant, incurring high medical bills. You might have also lost income because you were too injured to return to work. Such losses should be accurately tallied up and claimed in your economic damages.
Non-economic damages do not always come with a monetary cost but can still be financially compensated. Your physical pain might have been great, and you should be compensated for what you endured. On top of that, you might have experienced severe mental or emotional trauma, which also deserves compensation.
Punitive damages might be paid if the defendant’s actions were particularly shocking or abhorrent. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and serve as a deterrent for future malpractice. According to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act, punitive damages might be awarded if your injuries were caused by the defendant’s willful or wanton misconduct or reckless indifference to your rights. Keep in mind, this is a high burden to meet.
Punitive damages are usually limited to no more than 200% of your total compensatory damages. However, punitive damages might be greater if the defendant engaged in intentionally harmful conduct.
Call Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Assistance
If you were injured by a negligent doctor or another medical professional, call our medical malpractice lawyers for help immediately. For a free case review, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.