Has a Medical Professional Caused Injury to You or Your Family?
When you hire a medical professional to help you, you have the right to expect that the service you receive meets the appropriate standard of care. If it is not met, you may have the right to pursue compensation for any damage caused. An experienced Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney can help you determine whether your injury warrants medical malpractice and if so, can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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Choose a Top-Rated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Philadelphia with Experience and Dedication
At Carpey Law, we know how to handle medical negligence cases. We work with skilled experts to assist you in achieving positive results and compensation for your injuries. When you hire a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia, PA he or she must know what is needed to prove liability and damages in a malpractice case. The four main elements required as proof in a standard negligence case are:
- Breach of Duty / Breach of Standard of Care
Each of these elements is vital to the success of a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are many common forms of medical malpractice, including misdiagnoses, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, medication errors, hospital infections, incorrect prescriptions, and delays in treatment. If a medical professional has failed to provide the Standard of Care there is a chance that malpractice has occurred. In such a case, it is a good idea to speak with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.
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Table of Contents for Medical Malpractice Legal Issues
- What is Medical Malpractice?
- Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice
- The First Steps A Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Take In A Medical Malpractice Case
- Medical Malpractice FAQs
- What are some common examples of medical malpractice?
- What is the difference between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?
- How long after a medical malpractice case in PA can I file a claim?
- What do I have to prove in order to win a medical malpractice case?
- What does it mean that I must prove my case by a “preponderance of the evidence”?
- What is the “Standard of Care”?
- In my PA medical malpractice case, when my doctor is answering questions at the deposition, can I be present? Can I answer questions too?
- Will I have to go to trial?
- How Will I Afford a Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Handle my Medical Malpractice Case?
- Your medical malpractice case was denied, what now?
- How Much Will I Be Able to Recover for a Medical Malpractice Case In Philadelphia, PA?
- Legally, is there a very big difference between failure to diagnose cancer & misdiagnosis of cancer?
- Is it possible to sue someone other than my doctor for medical malpractice?
- Can medical students be sued for medical malpractice?
- Can a dentist commit medical malpractice?
- General Medical Malpractice Questions
- How We Get Medical Malpractice Settlements by Attacking the Defense Medical Expert’s Opinion
- What is Medical Malpractice Liability & Who Is Accountable for My Surgical Error?
- Other Medical Malpractice Questions
- How can I learn if my doctor or prospective doctor has been sued for medical malpractice?
- Is it important to get an autopsy in a medical malpractice case in which the doctor is accused of negligence resulting in the death of a patient?
- I heard objects can sometimes be left inside of a patient during surgery. What objects are most often left behind?
- A member of my family has died and I now need the advice of a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me what documents to bring to our meeting / how I can prepare?
- Medical Malpractice Websites & Useful Information
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is the failure of a medical professional to meet the standard of good medical practice in the field in which the medical professional practices. This means that a healthcare provider – doctor, hospital, HMO, nurse, other individual or entity licensed to provide medical care or treatment – does something that competent doctors would not have done, or fails to do what a competent doctor would have done, resulting in personal injury or wrongful death.
Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice
According to the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA), which provides insurance for more than 60% of America’s private practice physicians, the most common medical malpractice claims are:
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose– Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is the most frequent medical malpractice problem, accounting for over 40% of claims. In emergency rooms for example, doctors can be hurried and thorough examinations are sometimes not performed. Inadequate examinations and follow-up procedures are very serious medical matters and can cause significant delays in treatment or severe health complications. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include appendicitis, heart attack, and staph infections.
- Surgical Errors or Mistakes– Surgical errors can involve any number of problems such as anesthesia errors, incorrect incisions, accidental damage to an organ or body part, and complications associated with the surgery itself. Surgical mistakes and errors leave patients with serious medical problems and result in lengthy post-operative care, irreparable harm or possible death.
- Failure to Treat– Medical malpractice claims for failure to treat include conditions such as prematurely discharging a patient, failing to follow-up or re-evaluate, or failing to recommend or refer a patient to a specialist for further treatment.
- Prescription Drug Errors– According to a comprehensive study by the Institute of Medicine, prescription, and other medication errors account for injuring nearly 1.5 million patients per year. Medication errors occur at all levels of medical care such as pharmacies, hospitals, and even long-term care facilities. The best way to protect yourself from prescription errors or misfiled prescriptions is to be aware and double-check the prescription to the medication.
The First Steps A Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Take In A Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice lawsuits are filed to seek compensation for the injured patient. This is known as damages for “pain and suffering.” Recovery of the medical bills related to any additional medical care or treatment as well as lost wages are also typically part of such a case.
One of the first steps an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia,PA will take is to obtain all the medical records, review and evaluate them, and determine if the injuries sustained arising from treatment that deviates from what is considered the medical “standard of care.”
What remains following inappropriate medical care that has violated the standard of care is your illness or injury. If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you have the right to take some steps to have your case evaluated by an experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney
Medical Malpractice FAQs
What are some common examples of medical malpractice?
Here are some of the more common examples of medical malpractice that could potentially lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- When an ailment goes misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
- When there is an unnecessary delay in treatment by a physician
- When medicine is incorrectly prescribed
- When an error occurs during surgery
- When errors are made in prenatal care or during childbirth
- When errors are made involving anesthesia administration
- Premature discharge
- Wrong-site surgery
What is the difference between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?
There is a difference between medical negligence and a provable medical malpractice case. Just because a doctor or a hospital has committed medical negligence, does not necessarily mean that there’s a provable medical malpractice case. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining if that medical case can be brought to trial and whether there actually is a medical malpractice case. It depends on what the medical records say, what the medical experts say about what happens, and most importantly what the degree of injury is based on that medical negligence. Not all medical negligence equates to a provable medical malpractice case.
How long after a medical malpractice case in PA can I file a claim?
Two years from the date of the malpractice under Pennsylvania law. If you feel you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, it is usually best not to wait long before speaking with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.
What do I have to prove in order to win a medical malpractice case?
- A duty on the part of the medical provider to render services based on the standard of care of similarly situated practitioners
- A breach of that duty
- The breach causes the injury
- Damages resulting directly from the injury or injuries
What does it mean that I must prove my case by a “preponderance of the evidence”?
What is “Standard of Care”?
All doctors and medical providers are required to provide medical care which is consistent with appropriate medical care. This is defined as the reasonable care standard; in other words, what would a reasonable doctor in a similar specialty have done in similar circumstances. If the doctor’s care who is alleged to have committed malpractice fell below that standard, then it may equate to malpractice.
In my PA medical malpractice case, when my doctor is answering questions at the deposition, can I be present? Can I answer questions too?
Yes, you can and should be present. After a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, the normal course of the discovery process is to have the depositions of all parties and witnesses be taken. This includes the questioning of the defendant’s doctor in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is the opportunity for your Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, when deposing the defendant doctor, to get the doctor’s version of the events leading up to your injury on the record. As a victim of malpractice, sitting in on deposition of the defendant, in any case, can be an emotional experience. Nevertheless, it is your attorney’s role, not yours, to ask the questions of the defendant, or of any other witnesses. You can however discuss questions you feel are important with your PA medical malpractice attorney before the defendant doctor’s deposition, and you can always get a copy of the deposition transcript afterward. But your Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney will take the lead in the questioning.
Will I have to go to trial?
It is very possible that your PA medical malpractice case may have to go to trial. Insurance companies do not like to settle cases, and much of it will depend on the facts, injuries, and medicine at issue. Although many cases settle well before going to trial, some even before the complaint is filed, there are many cases, particularly those involving medical malpractice, that do in fact go to trial.
How Will I Afford a Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Handle my Medical Malpractice Case?
Many clients worry about how they will pay for legal representation in their medical malpractice cases. In reality, you do not take on any financial risks. The answer instead is the contingency fee arrangement. If you’ve been involved in an incident that you think you’re a victim of medical malpractice, the arrangement that you should enter into with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney is the contingency fee. A contingency fee is an agreement that says out of the settlement of the case or the jury verdict, the medical malpractice lawyer will get paid a percentage of what the settlement or the verdict is. This way you, the victim, is not paying your attorney by the hour or a retainer and your lawyer assumes all the risk of proceeding forward and none of the financial risks is on you.
Your medical malpractice case was denied, what now?
The reality is that most medical malpractice cases do not go forward for a variety of reasons. At our firm, we reject far more cases than we accept. However, it never hurts to get a second opinion on a case. One medical malpractice lawyer may look at your case one way, and the next lawyer may see an approach to the case that the first lawyer did not see.
How Much Will I Be Able to Recover for a Medical Malpractice Case In Philadelphia, PA?
There is no way to tell exactly how much a patient-client will be able to recover because there are many different factors at play. Of course, the amount will vary with the nature of the injury sustained as a result of the healthcare provider’s negligence. Also considered are the victim’s medical expenses, lost earnings before and after the event, and the extent of the pain and suffering as well as the permanency of the injury. As an experienced medical malpractice Attorney, I am very familiar with the pain and anguish associated with medical malpractice in Philadelphia, PA. I try my best to get you the maximum possible compensation for your case.
General Medical Malpractice Questions
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an umbrella term that may apply to an array of neglect inflicted on a patient by healthcare professionals. It occurs when a physician or other medical professional fails to adhere to the appropriate standard of care and as a result of that failure, causes an injury to someone else.
What does it mean that I must give “informed consent”?
Doctors and medical providers are required to make sure patients are informed of all facts regarding medical decisions, including the known risks of a medical procedure. An informed patient has the right to refuse a doctor’s care at any time, and a doctor who does not provide vital medical information is vulnerable to a medical malpractice lawsuit for violating the informed consent rule.
If I signed a consent form before surgery, have I waived my rights to a medical malpractice case?
The answer is no. Just because you’ve signed a consent form does not mean you’ve given up all of your rights in the event your doctor or the hospital did something wrong that injured you and there was medical malpractice that caused that injury. If the medical professional acted negligently or otherwise acted outside of the standard of care, that person may be found liable. The consent form is generally fairly broad but the specific negligence that caused medical malpractice is typically not covered by that consent form. So even if you’ve signed that consent form pre-surgery, doesn’t mean you’ve given up your rights. What an Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney will do is look at your medical records, see if you have a case and give you an opinion on whether you have a medical malpractice case.
What is wrong-site surgery?
Wrong-site surgery is a very serious and potentially life-threatening form of medical malpractice. Wrong-site surgery is when a surgeon does one or more of the following:
- Performs surgery on the wrong body part
- Performs surgery on the wrong side of the body
- Performs the wrong surgical procedure
- Performs surgery on the wrong patient
Wrong-site surgery should never occur. Before performing a procedure, all medical professionals involved are supposed to verify the procedure being performed, the name of the patient receiving the procedure, and the part of the body on which the procedure will be performed. This should then be re-verified immediately before surgery.
Can a mammogram contribute to a misdiagnosis of cancer?
Mammograms are an oft-used tool for breast cancer detection. It is commonly advised that women of a certain age make regular mammogram appointments. This is suggested even for women who are not showing signs of having breast cancer and especially for women who have a history of breast cancer in their families.
And while mammograms are undeniably important to a woman’s continued health, there are reports (such as the one described in this Harvard School of Public Health press release) suggesting that routine mammograms may actually be contributing to over-diagnosis of breast cancer.
Having regular mammography screenings is still very important to catching breast cancer early — but be aware that a diagnosis of breast cancer may be incorrect and calls for a second opinion.
I was treated by a physician, and my symptoms have gotten worse, not better. I think I may have a claim against my doctor. What should I do?
First, the best thing to do is to see another doctor to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Under these circumstances, you may want to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia, PA. By putting it off any longer, you may be jeopardizing your health, as well as your chances of recovering damages caused by the doctor’s negligence.
Does a bad medical result from surgery mean that I have a medical malpractice case?
If your surgery returns unexpected or unsatisfactory results, does that mean you have a medical malpractice case? Stuart Carpey explains what you need to know.
Learn more about what medical malpractice is, who is responsible, and how you can best avoid it in this medical malpractice infographic.
Legally, is there a very big difference between failure to diagnose cancer & misdiagnosis of cancer?
Whether a doctor has failed to diagnose your cancer or has misdiagnosed your cancer, he or she may have committed medical malpractice. Of course, both cases depend on the details. For both, it is necessary to prove that a reasonable doctor should have been able to accurately diagnose your cancer. Failing to make that diagnosis, or misdiagnosing, can be seen as medical negligence.
Is it possible to sue someone other than my doctor for medical malpractice?
Yes. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against any and all medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and medical technicians.
Can medical students be sued for medical malpractice?
Yes. Medical students are not seasoned doctors or nurses, and they certainly need the knowledge of hands-on training to complete their education, but if a medical student makes a mistake that puts a patient in harm’s way, he or she can be held accountable.
In fact, medical students are insured with medical malpractice coverage in case a mistake occurs during their training. Either the school at which the students are enrolled will supply this coverage or the facility in which they are training will supply the coverage.
Can a dentist commit medical malpractice?
Yes. A dentist who has failed to provide good dental care to a patient or has caused injury to the patient due to his or her negligence has committed dental malpractice.
What is Medical Misdiagnosis and how can I protect myself?
Misdiagnosis is when a doctor comes to false conclusions about the causes of a particular ailment. Thousands of injuries and deaths each year are attributable to doctor misdiagnosis. The best way to prevent a misdiagnosis is to be an informed patient and disclose everything to your doctor. If you are unsure, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion and to consult a specialist.
How We Get Medical Malpractice Settlements by Attacking the Defense Medical Expert’s Opinion
We start with the thinking that everything the defense expert is saying in his or her report is false, and we then force the expert to prove each and every portion of the opinion. This is done at the defense expert’s deposition or at trial by way of cross-examination. We research the background of the expert, find prior written opinions or depositions from other cases, and scrutinize what the expert has said before, and utilize that to destroy the expert’s opinion at trial.
What is Medical Malpractice Liability & Who Is Accountable for My Surgical Error?
Surgical errors happen often and in a number of ways. Examples of surgical errors include making an erroneous incision, operating on the wrong part of the body, administering an incorrect amount of anesthesia or other medication, and even leaving a surgical implement inside a patient. If a surgical error happened to you, there are multiple entities that may be blamed, including the surgeon, a nurse or other medical assistant, the anesthesiologist, a pharmacist, or the hospital itself. There are a number of ways in which a hospital and its staff can be found negligent in the event of a surgical error. Speak with a personal injury attorney to learn more.
Other Medical Malpractice Questions
How can I learn if my doctor or prospective doctor has been sued for medical malpractice?
If your doctor was sued for malpractice your state licensing board should have a record of it. You can submit a request for the information.
Is it important to get an autopsy in a medical malpractice case in which the doctor is accused of negligence resulting in the death of a patient?
Yes, an autopsy is necessary in such a malpractice case. It is important to show that the doctor’s negligent actions were the direct cause of the patient’s death, and one of the only ways to accomplish this is to have an autopsy.
I heard objects can sometimes be left inside of a patient during surgery. What objects are most often left behind?
With so many objects being put to use during certain surgeries, it is possible that, occasionally, one is going to get left behind. Objects which may, unfortunately, are most commonly left inside a patient can include:
- Cotton Swabs
A member of my family has died and I now need the advice of a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me what documents to bring to our meeting / how I can prepare?
Losing a loved one is the hardest thing to deal with and you have our sincerest sympathies. To help make your meeting with a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney go as smoothly as possible in this trying time, do your best to collect some or all of the following:
- An original death certificate, which can be provided by the funeral home
- A bill from the funeral home
- If an autopsy has been performed, let us know and we can look into it
- Some basic information on any doctors the loved one has visited in recent years
- Some basic information on family members
- A copy of your loved one’s will, if one was made
- Any and all of your loved one’s medical records
There is more information you can bring but this is a fine start. If you have any questions regarding these materials and anything else you’d like to bring to your meeting, call your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. He or she will be glad to offer guidance.
Contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Today!
Our reputation for success and unmatched attention to the needs of our clients has made Stuart Carpey one of the most trusted Medical Malpractice lawyers in the greater Philadelphia & Plymouth Meeting area. If you’re in need of a medical malpractice attorney, we recommend that you pursue your claim as soon after your incident as possible. Contact Stuart Carpey today for a complimentary consultation in which he will examine your case in detail and advise you on how to proceed and ultimately recover the compensation you deserve!