Medical malpractice is one of the most dangerous forms of negligence because doctors and other healthcare professionals have a duty to practice the highest standard of care. Their failure to do so can easily result in significant harm, or even death, for patients.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of malpractice by a healthcare provider, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries and suffering. The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC have decades of experience navigating the complex issues involved in these cases and are prepared to review your potential case at no cost and to help you seek justice.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?
The National Institutes of Health defines medical malpractice as improper acts or failure to act by a physician or other provider during treatment. This act is a deviation from standard practice norms and results in serious harm to a patient. Some aspects of medical malpractice claims vary from state to state, such as the statute of limitations, or deadline for filing a lawsuit.
The list of situations that could lead to malpractice is as long as the list of conditions, diseases, disabilities, and many other reasons people choose to see a doctor or end up in hospitals. As with all types of personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawyers must prove negligence on the part of the defendant—in these instances, medical providers—in order to successfully claim damages.
To support their side of a case for medical malpractice, plaintiffs must prove four essential elements: a duty of care, that this duty was breached, that severe injuries were caused, and that substantial damages resulted. Categories of damage claims may be both economic, such as the actual money an injury costs, as well as intangible losses like pain and suffering, quality of life, and loss of consortium.
Medical malpractice cases are typically complex, expensive, and may require a trial. A malpractice injury can leave victims with life-altering physical damage, psychological trauma, extensive medical bills, and many questions about their rights under the personal injury laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our team’s quality of legal representation can help our clients focus on their recovery.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury as a result of improper treatment by professionals you trusted with your medical care, our firm’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys can use their knowledge and resources on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Injury Claims
As one of the most heavily populated cities in the United States, Philadelphia’s presence in medicine also lends it to holding one of the nation’s higher rates of medical malpractice claims. The number of hospitals, physicians, surgeons, and residents alone contributes greatly to the hundreds of lawsuits filed for malpractice every year in Pennsylvania.
But when does a mistake amount to malpractice? What errors and interactions are happening in our healthcare facilities to result in so many medical negligence claims? Every malpractice claim is vastly different, so a free consultation with our attorneys may provide more information and advice specific to your situation.
However, the following are some of the broad variety of the common causes of medical malpractice claims our lawyers handle:
- Misdiagnosis or Missed Diagnosis – Incorrectly diagnosing a patient is one of the most dangerous mistakes a doctor can make. While misdiagnosis does not always constitute medical malpractice, a provider’s negligence may require them to compensate victims. Missed diagnoses like cancer, strokes, sepsis, and terminal illnesses may also amount to negligence.
- Incorrect Treatment/Failure to Treat – A practitioner’s failure to properly treat a medical condition can result in serious illness, worsening injury, or even death. When their actions cross over into negligence, victims may be able to recover compensation for the unnecessary damages caused by a healthcare provider’s carelessness.
- Errors in Surgery – If a surgeon or hospital does not exercise proper care to ensure hygiene, medication management, and accurate operation, patients can quickly become victims of devastating injuries. Their recklessness may require insurance companies to pay malpractice settlements for harm caused during surgeries.
- Medication Mistakes – When a doctor or pharmacist isn’t careful to administer medication correctly, or hospital staff let their monitoring duties slip, the consequences can be painful or deadly for patients. A physician ignoring signs of negative side effects, for example, could constitute negligence and entitle a victim to compensation in some cases of medication error.
- Anesthesia Errors – Similarly, mistakes made in the administration of anesthesia can lead to serious injuries and deaths. Victims may experience brain damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, heart injury, and significant psychological trauma.
- Birth Injuries – A doctor’s negligence during childbirth can have traumatic results. Any type of injury during birth is terrifying for the parent, the child, and the whole family. A birth injury can include failure to recognize or treat fetal distress, uncontrolled bleeding, brain injury to the baby, spinal cord injuries, lifelong medical conditions, and even death.
- Medical Device Failure – When a doctor, nurse, or other professional misuses medical equipment, or a device such as a pacemaker malfunction, patients can be at risk of serious injury or death. These cases sometimes fall under the area of practice known as product liability, but contributing or causal negligence by staff may allow for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Not every mistake made by a healthcare professional constitutes malpractice. However, when standards of care are not met during a procedure, the use of medical devices, during a hospital stay, or when giving medication, a patient can quickly become a victim. In these situations, victims may have the right to compensation with the help of a law firm of experienced professionals in medical malpractice.
Who Do I Hold Accountable for My Medical Injuries?
Liability can be a complicated issue in a medical malpractice lawsuit since multiple parties are typically involved in patient care. However, if almost any type of medical provider has failed to take proper precautions and their negligence results in harm to a patient, their responsibility can be established with the guidance of experts.
Some of the professionals who can be liable for malpractice injuries include:
- Hospital staff
- Certified nursing assistants
- Doctors’ or pediatricians’ offices
- Physician assistants
- Home health aides
- Nursing home staff
You shouldn’t need to decipher who’s responsible for a medical injury to you or a family member as you focus on recovery. A free case evaluation with our attorneys may begin to answer some of those questions, and they will be prepared to hold the right people accountable for your injuries and fight for the award you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania?
Like other cases involving various forms of personal injury, claims for medical malpractice are subject to a two-year statute of limitations in the state of Pennsylvania. Malpractice situations are somewhat unique in that the two years may begin on the date of the injury, the date the malpractice was discovered, or the date it should have been discovered, depending on the facts of a case.
The statute of limitations is one of the most complicated aspects of a malpractice claim. This is part of what makes the assistance and dedication of experienced medical malpractice attorneys like the ones of Baratta Law, LLC so vitally important for victims to obtain as soon as the malpractice is discovered. Our clients can focus on returning their lives to normal while we handle the details.
What Damages Am I Entitled to as a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
When our lawyers negotiate settlements and go to trial for their medical malpractice clients, they pursue various forms of compensation—and they get results. But what financial damages do you have rights to when a medical provider causes injuries and losses?
Though there are many differences between one case and the next, here are some of the types of compensation our attorneys recover for Philadelphia victims:
- Medical bills resulting from the injury
- Bills and expenses for home and other modifications or medical equipment
- Physical, occupational, and psychological therapy or counseling
- Loss of income, whether you are temporarily out of work or suffer permanent disabilities preventing work
- Other damage to your earning capacity, such as bonuses or retirement plans
- Reduction in your quality of life
- Pain and suffering, trauma, and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death as a result of medical negligence
- Punitive damages
The lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC have the knowledge and experience to help victims of malpractice navigate Pennsylvania law. Our clients never doubt our firm’s commitment to ensuring they receive the awards they deserve.
Common Questions Our Clients Have about Philadelphia Medical Malpractice
After an instance of medical malpractice for yourself or a loved one, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by questions, and hospitals, doctors, and nurses may not be very forthcoming with information. A free, initial consultation can provide a better look at your unique situation and potential claim, but here are a few of the most common questions we answer about Philadelphia medical malpractice claims:
What if I Can’t Afford an Attorney?
Like personal injury claims, medical malpractice cases are taken on a contingency basis, meaning clients pay no fees upfront. If our lawyers don’t successfully achieve a winning outcome for you, you will never pay our office anything. Contingency fees are percentages of your final settlement or verdict amount that is agreed upon with your lawyer at the beginning of your case.
Will My Case Have to Go to Trial?
Our attorneys work diligently to reach reasonable settlements with malpractice insurance companies out of court. However, sometimes litigation becomes necessary to achieve complete justice for their clients, and the attorneys of Baratta Law, LLC are never unprepared to fight for a case in court if needed.
Will My Case Take a Long Time?
While each case is different, claims for medical malpractice are often complex and have a reputation for taking time to be resolved. Although we can’t guarantee an exact time frame, we can guarantee both consistent work on your case and consistent communication throughout the process so that you never feel uninformed. Client communication is of the utmost importance at Baratta Law, LLC.
Does Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Law Apply to Medical Malpractice Cases?
Although the short answer is, yes, because these are personal injury cases, a patient’s contribution to any form of medical negligence presents complicated issues in a legal claim. Because your recovery may be reduced by these laws, it is even more important to consult with the experts as soon as possible to begin determining liability and protecting your rights.
How Can Informed Consent Factor into a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Before a procedure or surgery, a patient should be informed of the risks involved and formally agree to undergo it. If a surgeon fails to obtain this informed consent, they may be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit if the procedure results in serious harm to the patient.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a severe injury resulting from medical negligence, we understand you’re already dealing with too many things. The first step toward establishing your claim and recovering your losses is to get the representation of an experienced malpractice attorney on your side, backed by a law firm that will handle the details so that you can focus on your recovery.
There’s no charge for a consultation with our attorneys, and there are no fees unless we win for you. Start the path toward peace of mind by reaching out to a trusted, experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at Baratta Law, LLC. Give us a call at 215-914-8132, or fill out the contact form below to get started.