Has a Medical Professional Caused Injury to You or Your Family Member?
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 compensate you deserve.
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.
Choose a Top 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 Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, 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 a malpractice has occurred. In such a case, it is a good idea to speak with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.
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 misfilled prescriptions is to be aware and double check the prescription to the medication.
The First Steps 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 Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney will take is to obtain all the medical records, review and evaluate them, and determine if the injuries sustained arise 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.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney 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 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 happen 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 case of medical malpractice 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 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 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 doctor in a medical malpractice suit. 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 a 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 attorney before the defendant doctor’s deposition, and you can always get a copy of the deposition transcript afterward. But your medical malpractice attorney will take the lead in the questioning.
Will I have to go to trial?
It is very possible that your 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 Lawyer to Handle my Medical Malpractice Case?
Many clients worry about how they will pay for legal representation in their medical malpractice case. In reality, you do not take on any financial risks. The answer instead is the contingency fee arrangement. If you’ve involved an incident that you think you’re a victim of medical malpractice, the arrangement that you should enter into with a 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 attorney 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 risk 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 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?
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 Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney, I am very familiar with the pain and anguish associated with medical malpractice. I try my best to get you the maximum possible compensation for your case.
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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!