Here’s a stunning thought … studies at John Hopkins suggest that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It’s topped only by heart disease and cancer. Some 250,000 deaths reportedly happen each year stemming from medical errors. That’s why it pays to have a good medical malpractice lawyer in the event of such a tragedy.
With those many deaths, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that medical malpractice lawsuits are rampant. But that’s hardly the case. The actual percentage of malpractice payouts is only around 5%. That percentage has been confirmed by the National Center for State Courts. Numbers-wise some 85,000 suits are filed annually.
What constitutes medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or healthcare professional causes an injury to a patient through medical negligence or omission. That negligence may stem from diagnostic errors, treatment, aftercare or health management. Our medical malpractice lawyers can help determine if there are grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
There five major reasons for medical negligence claims:
- Failure to diagnose a patient’s medical condition
- Patient injury during treatment resulting in disability or death
- Failure to treat a patient’s condition
- Poor documentation
- Medication errors
How do I prove medical malpractice?
With the advisement of a malpractice attorney, you’ll go through a discovery process to make sure these factors are in place:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor was negligent in some way
- That negligence caused the injury
- The injury caused harm in the form of pain, mental stress, costs or lost wages
With Pennsylvania law, you must file a claim within two years. That timeframe is connected to the time you actually know the malpractice caused your injury. Effectively that means you might only understand the malpractice caused your injury several years after the occurrence. For that reason, Pennsylvania also mandates that you can’t file any medical malpractice lawsuit after seven years following the date the injury was identified.
Another feature of Pennsylvania laws relating to medical malpractice, unlike many other states, is that there is no cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded, either economic or non-economic.
A large majority of medical malpractice issues go unclaimed. Don’t be scared off. If you’ve been harmed by the actions of your physician you owe it to yourself to at least look at your options. Our malpractice attorneys can give you an honest assessment and advise whether you have appropriate grounds to file a malpractice lawsuit.
Will I have to deal with a lengthy court case?
The reality is that only about half the malpractice lawsuits filed get to trial. Of those that do, only five percent end in a verdict. The vast majority of medical malpractice claims are settled. The hospital and doctor most times want to avoid potentially greater costs if a jury rules against them, and plaintiffs often prefer to just get paid quickly and avoid court altogether.
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. We can give you sound legal counsel on how to handle your claim. Talk with one of our medical malpractice lawyers in our Doylestown and Norristown law offices today.
Call Rich Sokorai at 610.275.0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll take the time to talk through the potential malpractice details with you.