January 5, 2017
Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims in Philadelphia
When you go to a doctor or other healthcare professional seeking care, you rightfully expect that the care you receive will make your condition better, not worse. Unfortunately, not all doctors are created equal and some fail to provide the standard of care expected in the medical profession.
Medical malpractice is a widespread problem that can happen to any patient when they least expect it. While medical malpractice laws recognize that injured patients should have the right to seek financial recovery, such laws are strict and can be confusing. For this reason, if you have been injured by poor medical care, it is time to consult a medical malpractice attorney. With the help of a skilled medical malpractice lawyer, you can be compensated for the injuries you received at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or hospital.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many different ways that medical malpractice can occur, as there are many different mistakes that doctors can make in many different situations. Some common causes of medical injuries can include the following:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Cosmetic/Plastic surgery errors
- Infections contracted in a hospital or due to a doctor’s care
- Mistakes during C-sections
- Cerebral palsy1 due to errors during labor and delivery
- Cardiac catheterization
- Birth defects that went undiscovered or result from poor medical care
- Surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong site in the body
- Foreign objects left in the body after surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery mistakes
- Bile duct injuries
- Gallbladder surgery errors
- Performing surgery while fatigued or intoxicated
- Severed nerves
- Severed arteries
- Punctured arteries
- Medication errors in the hospital
- Prescription errors
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law
It is important for injured patients to understand that medical malpractice claims are significantly different and often much more complicated than ordinary personal injury claims. This is why it is important to find an attorney who is familiar with the process and the laws, which can vary significantly from state to state.
Statute of Limitations – This is the time limit that you have to file a claim with the civil courts. In many situations, this time limit is fairly straightforward. However, in medical malpractice claims, many variables can affect what the statute of limitations may be in your case. For example, the following may apply:
- Two years from the date you reasonably discovered that you suffered an injury due to a medical professional;
- Seven years from the date of the injury even if you did not discover it until late (this time limit does not apply if you had a foreign object left in your body);
- For minors, seven years from their 20th birthday, regardless of when the injury happened or was discovered;
- For cases resulting in death, two years from the wrongful death.
Damage Caps – Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not have laws that limit the economic damages or non-economic damages2 in medical malpractice cases, which can be for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Instead, the law only limits the amount of punitive damages you can seek, which are damages awarded to punish the doctor. While punitive damages are rare, they can be awarded in cases involving particularly egregious or intentional actions on the part of your doctor. Punitive damages are capped at twice the amount of the economic damages you suffered.
There are also laws that address when damages must be paid periodically, the requirements for the testimony of experts, contributory negligence, and many other legal issues that may be present in a medical malpractice case. If you have been injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence, you have a limited time to act. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner the process can start.
Contact Us to Speak with a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at The Levin Firm will review your case and be able to discuss damages you may be entitled to and how the damage caps and other Pennsylvania laws will affect your case. Our medical malpractice law firm has worked on claims representing the rights of patients injured by medical professionals in many different ways. We understand your rights after a medical injury and will fight for the highest possible amount of financial recovery in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 314-647-8910.