Malpractice is More Common Than You Think
Here's a stunning thought. Studies at John Hopkins suggest that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. As a result, only heart disease and cancer rank above malpractice. Indeed, some 250,000 deaths reportedly happen each year stemming from medical errors. Another study by BMJ found that medical errors impact one out of every 20 patients. So that's why it pays to have an experienced malpractice lawyer near you in the event of malpractice concerns.
It wouldn't be surprising to learn that medical malpractice lawsuits are rampant with those many deaths. But that's hardly the case. Interestingly, the actual percentage of malpractice payouts is only around 5%. The National Center for State Courts has confirmed that percentage. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, in the United States, there are between 15,000 and 19,000 malpractice suits against doctors every year.
Talk with a Malpractice Lawyer to See If You Have Grounds
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or healthcare professional causes an injury to a patient through medical negligence or omission. In addition, negligence may stem from diagnostic errors, treatment, aftercare, or health management. The medical malpractice lawyers at our injury law firm can help determine if there are grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. Common grounds for medical malpractice claims include:
- Failure to diagnose a patient's medical condition
- Improper or failed treatment
- Prescription drug errors
- Surgical or procedural error
- Childbirth injuries
- Patient injury during treatment resulting in disability or death
- Failure to warn a patient of known risks
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Poor follow-up or aftercare
- Premature discharge
- Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history
- Failure to order proper testing
- Failure to recognize symptoms
How Can My Malpractice Lawyer Prove Medical Malpractice?
With the advisement of a malpractice lawyer, you'll go through a discovery process to make sure these factors are in place:
1. Doctor-patient relationship
You must prove that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to the hiring thereby creating a doctor-patient relationship. Issues arrive proving malpractice if a physician did not treat you directly.
To file a lawsuit, you and your malpractice lawyer must prove the doctor harmed you in a way a competent doctor wouldn't have. Reasonably skillful and careful care become the critical determinant. Most states require that you present a medical expert to present how your physician deviated from the medical standard of care.
3. The Negligence Caused Your Injury
You must show that the doctor's incompetence more likely than not caused your injury. Again, a medical expert must support that conclusion.
4. Specific Damages Occurred
Even if a physician falls short of medical standards of care, you must present harm in the form of pain, enduring hardship, disability, mental stress, additional medical bills, lost work, or lost earning capacity.
Medical Malpractice Claims in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law includes a statute of limitations for malpractice claims requiring filing within two years. So if you believe you have a personal injury claim, it's best to enlist a malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Pennsylvania's deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years following the date when the defendant committed the medically negligent act that injured the patient. However, an exception occurs for people failing to discover and are reasonably incapable of discovering their injury until a later date.
In that situation, the statute of limitations relates to the date of the discovery of the injury or the date that the negligence should reasonably have been discovered. And that leads to another statute called the stature of repose.
Under this statute, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit more than seven years from the date of the medically negligent action. Again, an exception applies if a physician leaves a foreign object inside a person’s body that's discovered later.
Another feature of Pennsylvania laws relating to medical malpractice, unlike many other states, is that there is no cap on the amount of awarded damages, either economic or non-economic. Consequently, make sure you talk with a malpractice lawyer, a local personal injury law firm that understands PA laws.
A majority of malpractice issues go unclaimed. Don't be scared off. If a physician's actions have harmed you, you should review your options with a malpractice lawyer. Our attorneys will give you an honest assessment and advise whether you have appropriate grounds to file a malpractice lawsuit.
Typical Damages for a Malpractice Claim
Let's start with the fact that only about half the malpractice lawsuits get to trial. Of those that do, only five percent end in a verdict. Instead, the vast majority of medical malpractice claims get settled. Most times, the hospital and doctor want to avoid potentially higher costs if a jury rules against them, and plaintiffs often prefer to get paid quickly and avoid court altogether.
If a case goes to trial, you may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages include economic damages, such as lost earning capacity, life care expenses, and medical expenses. Usually, past and future losses are assessed. They may also include non-economic damages relating to the injury itself, including psychological and physical harm for example losing vision or legs, extreme pain, and emotional distress.
Punitive damages are only awarded if the defendant is found guilty of malicious or willful misconduct. Punitive damages are a form of punishment and include compensation in addition to actual damages.
Talk to a Malpractice Lawyer at our Personal Injury Law Firm
If you think you've been a victim of medical malpractice, it's worth your time and effort to give us a call and let us help you decide what your options are. In addition, we can provide you with sound legal counsel on how to handle your personal injury claim. Today, talk with one of the malpractice lawyers near you at our injury law firm in Doylestown and Norristown, PA.
Call Rich Sokorai at 610.275.0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll take the time to discuss the potential malpractice details with you.