Despite great advances in treatments and technologies, medicine is still not an exact science. A person could experience a negative outcome or diagnosis even when their physician does everything correctly. However, when an adverse complication results from an unjustifiable mistake, you have the right to hold your doctor or another medical professional legally and financially liable for the harm they caused.
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated and complex personal injury suits filed. You need a law firm with experience and a proven track record. The York, PA medical malpractice lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm have been aggressively representing injured patients for decades.
The physical, emotional, and economic costs associated with medical malpractice are significant. When a surgeon, doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider makes a careless mistake, a patient’s life could be forever altered or lost. If you believe you or a family member was the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.
What is Medical Malpractice in York, PA?
The first thing to understand is that every mistake a physician or another medical professional makes does give rise to a medical malpractice claim. For medical malpractice to occur, the error or conduct must cause harm and fall sort of what you would reasonably expect of a prudent practitioner under similar circumstances. If your doctor’s peers would not have made the same mistake or decision, it might constitute medical malpractice.
Because defining malpractice is subjective, medical malpractice claims are some of the most challenging and demanding personal injury cases. For instance, it is difficult for an injured patient to know that their doctor’s mistake would not be made by another medical professional. To be successful in an injury claim, our York medical malpractice lawyers will have to prove that a medical professional’s conduct deviated from the established and standard level of medical care.
To illustrate this point, imagine two physicians treating two similar patients suffering from type II diabetes. In the first case, the doctor prescribes a new but relatively commonly prescribed drug to regulate the patient’s blood sugar. Unfortunately, the patient experiences some very adverse side effects and wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In this case, a bad outcome probably does not rise to medical malpractice. The doctor’s decision was consistent with the treatments prescribed by other reasonable practitioners.
The other physician, presented with a similar patient, prescribes a daily treatment of high-fructose tablets. In a matter of weeks, the patient begins to develop ulcers and nerve damage. In this situation, an experienced York medical malpractice lawyer will explain that no reasonable doctor would prescribe such a regimen to treat type II diabetes. Given these facts, the patient has grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
It is not easy to know if you have a medical malpractice claim. However, if something seems wrong, you are experiencing unexpected complications, or if your doctor offered an apology, contact our York medical malpractice attorneys. Let us determine if you have a valid claim.
The Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in York, PA
Nearly every medical malpractice lawsuit is grounded in the legal theory of negligence. To hold a physician or other medical professional financially liable for their errors, an injured patient must demonstrate four distinct, yet interconnected, elements.
Duty of Care
To hold a physician liable for medical malpractice, a duty of care must exist between the two parties. Typically, this is established by a doctor/patient relationship. Absent a duty of care, an injured patient lacks grounds for a lawsuit. For example, if you hear a doctor on television discuss the positive effects of a new drug and decide to take it, you cannot hold the doctor responsible if you experience adverse side effects.
Violation of the Duty of Care
This element was discussed above. For a medical professional to be guilty of negligence, their decision, conduct, or inaction must deviate from the commonly accepted medical practice or standard of care. If other physicians would have made the same decision given the circumstances, the error probably does not constitute medical malpractice.
The Violation Must Have Caused the Harm
Your doctor’s conduct must have caused harm, injury, or negative complications. For example, if you contract an infection because a surgeon left a sponge in your body after a procedure, the violation of duty caused the harm.
The Patient Suffered Damages
The mistake your doctor made must have resulted in harm that entitles you to financial compensation, such as additional treatment, lost time at work, physical pain, or emotional suffering.
This legal standard works to ensure that frivolous lawsuits are not filed, especially where medical treatment is concerned. For example, a doctor could make an error that delays a cancer diagnosis for one month. Once properly diagnosed, the patient dies in a matter of days. While the family and loved ones of the deceased would argue that the doctor made a fatal mistake, the doctor would argue that, given the aggressiveness of the cancer, the delay made little difference in the eventual outcome. Proving that the doctor committed medical malpractice would be challenging.
York, PA Medical Malpractice Lawyers With the Experience and Resources to Handle Challenging Injury Claims
To establish the four elements necessary to prove negligence, our York, PA personal injury lawyers will rely on expert testimony from other medical professionals. This testimony will look to establish the standard of care and the relationship between the doctor’s conduct and the patient’s injuries. While medical malpractice cases are challenging, they are not impossible. Because of the complexity involved in these types of cases, you should consult with a law firm experienced in litigating complicated medical malpractice claims. What you should not do, is decide you do not have a case without speaking with one of the experienced attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm. Call (215) 709-6940 to discuss your potential claim.