Common Catalysts for a Medical Malpractice Claim
Patients trust physicians and licensed healthcare providers to provide skilled and appropriate care for their illness or injury. Unfortunately, mistakes and injuries are frequent occurrences in health care and account for a staggering number of patient injuries. A 1999 study by The Institute of Medicine, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, found up to 98,000 patient deaths due to medical mistakes. Injury caused by a provider’s incompetence or negligence is unacceptable, and injured parties are encouraged to seek remedies through a medical malpractice claim.
Criteria for Medical Malpractice Claims
For a patient to pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must first demonstrate that he was under the direct care of the provider. The advice given outside of a strict patient-physician relationship, such as general recommendations made by a physician to a friend while playing a round of golf, does not meet the physician-patient relationship level. Secondly, the physician’s actions or inactions must have fallen short of a reasonable standard of care. This means that the physician’s treatment failed to meet established practice protocols that a competent physician would follow. Finally, the provider’s negligence must have caused an injury. Sometimes, this can be difficult to prove, as patients may have underlying medical conditions that – despite the physician’s actions or negligence – may ultimately have resulted in the same outcome.
Categories of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims typically fall within one of several types:
- Failure of a physician to properly diagnose a patient is a common catalyst to a medical malpractice claim. In this situation, the physician fails to order or interpret medical information, such as laboratory tests, MRIs, or other diagnostic or clinical information in a competent manner to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. If the failure to accurately diagnose the patient in a timely manner affected the patient’s outcome or prognosis, the patient might have a medical malpractice claim.
- Failure of a physician to properly treat a medical condition may also spur a medical malpractice claim. For example, an OBGYN who fails to properly monitor and respond to an increase in maternal blood pressure that results in harm to the infant or mother may be found at fault for medical malpractice. Often, a medical expert in the field will be invited to testify how the practitioner’s treatment is differentiated from a proper medical standard of care.
- Failure of a physician to inform the patient of the potential risks and adverse events is a final reason that a medical malpractice claim may be pursued. Patients have the right to informed consent. This means that they have the right to know about the significant risks of a given procedure. A doctor who neglects to inform a patient of a significant risk, which if known may have influenced the patient’s decision to have the procedure, may be at risk for a successful malpractice claim.
If any of these scenarios apply to your unique situation, you should speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC, will take the time to listen and provide that skilled advice you need to take action and seek fair compensation for injuries, lost wages, and suffering.
To speak with a medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia, PA residents recommend, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC today to receive a free, no-obligation consultation.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice Cases
If you suspect that you have been injured by medical personnel, working with our medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia, PA victims recommend is the way to start taking action for your losses. Chances are your injuries have had a significant impact on your life, and in some ways, the effects may even be long-term or permanent. The prospect of taking legal action can be overwhelming for victims in recovery, and we know that you will have many questions. For the answers, you require, schedule a consultation with Wieand Law Firm, LLC. We are standing by to help you take immediate action.
How much is my medical malpractice case worth?
One of the first questions victims have is how much their malpractice case is worth. To get a specific value, it’s to consult with a lawyer. They will take the time to review your case and the damages you have suffered to determine the appropriate value. Many states have caps for compensation. In Pennsylvania, there are no caps for compensatory damages, which allows victims to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and more. However, it’s important to note that there is a cap for punitive damages that could be recovered.
Should I accept a settlement from the insurance company?
In some cases, the insurance company might approach you with a settlement offer. Be aware that you should never accept a settlement without first consulting with your Philadelphia, PA medical malpractice lawyer. Typically these initial settlements are much lower than what your case is worth. To ensure that you receive a fair settlement, you will need a lawyer to value your claim and represent you in your case.
How long will it take to resolve a medical malpractice case?
The timeframe in which it takes to resolve a medical malpractice case can vary. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that medical malpractice cases can be far more complicated than typical personal injury cases. In some cases, it can take years before a resolution is reached.
Do all medical malpractice cases go to trial?
Determining whether to settle a claim or pursue litigation can be a difficult decision to make and will likely depend upon the details surrounding your case. Much of the time, medical malpractice cases can reach a settlement before they go to trial. Settling out of court gives victims the highest likelihood that they will walk away with some form of compensation. Pursuing litigation can be riskier, yet yield higher levels of compensation. However, be aware that this could result in walking away empty-handed.
Following an injury that was a result of medical malpractice can be rife with the unknown. Malpractice cases are complicated and will undoubtedly require the resources that Weiand Law Firm, LLC, can provide. We offer complimentary consultations, which allows us to review your case and determine the next steps, while you get the answers to your case-specific questions. Contact our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer to get started.
The Challenges of a Medical Malpractice Case
If you’ve recently experienced an injury because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, can help you get the compensation you deserve. While it can be overwhelming to learn that the people you trusted with your health have actually caused you more harm, filing a medical malpractice claim can provide closure and much-needed money to help you out from any debt that might have been built while you were receiving treatment.
After you receive improper and insufficient medical care, you’ll still face steep bills. This is unfair, especially if the results were not what you expected after your medical care. Unfortunately, medical care in the United States is expensive, and all those checkups, consultations, and procedures can quickly swamp you. Receiving improper care is one thing, but being in debt because of improper care is a nightmare.
Compensation from your medical malpractice case can be a way out of crushing debt, but it’s never a simple process. Reaching out to a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, is your first step to building your case, but it’s important to fully understand all the challenges of a medical malpractice case – and how your lawyer can help.
What Does a Medical Malpractice Suit Require?
If you want your medical malpractice suit to really have a chance, you need to prove it has both of the following: Negligence, and injury. But what makes these both so important, and how can you really prove you suffered from both?
Negligence means your healthcare provider (whether it was a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or other specialist) neglected their responsibilities as a medical professional. It can also mean that your healthcare provider acted unreasonably. In either case, it helps to get an outside opinion from another medical professional, but be warned – some are less willing to pin the blame on a colleague than others.
Injury sounds like it would be straightforward enough, but it can actually be quite complicated if you were receiving medical care for an injury already. You may have gone to the hospital because of an injury, but you would need to prove that the negligent medical staff injured you further than what you were originally presenting when you first checked in. As with negligence, you might need the input of another medical professional to support your claim.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help Me?
At the Wieand Law Firm, we understand your situation, and we know you’re frustrated. At the end of the day, you thought you could rely on a medical professional to provide you with the care you really needed, only to receive improper, ineffective, and neglectful treatment. To add insult to (a potentially serious) injury, you’ve also been slapped with serious bills.
Getting the right compensation starts with building the right case. It takes thorough investigation, and it takes patience. And more importantly, it takes the right legal counsel. You shouldn’t have to suffer any more than you have already, and you can take steps to make sure your negligent care never happens to anyone else. Get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, and see how the Wieand Law Firm can help you.
Common Myths About Medical Malpractice
Patients who have suffered harm under a medical professional’s care have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, with so many myths surrounding medical malpractice, some people are reluctant to take action. Here are some common misconceptions that a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, PA doesn’t want you to believe.
- Medical malpractice lawyers will take any case. Some people falsely assume that all medical malpractice lawyers are money-hungry and will take on any case to make a buck. The truth is, however, that these lawyers are very particular in the type of cases they take. In fact, they reject most of the requests they receive for representation. Medical malpractice lawyers want to take on cases that they have a good chance of winning.
- Medical malpractice settlements are always high. Another common misconception about medical malpractice is that the settlements are always millions of dollars. However, this is actually very rare. Most medical malpractice victims are only compensated for their medical bills that resulted from the negligence.
- The majority of medical errors can’t be prevented. In rare cases, medical errors are no one’s fault. However, they can be prevented most of the time if the proper procedures are followed. For instance, most surgical errors can be avoided if the surgical staff communicated better with one another. Misdiagnoses could be prevented if doctors took more time to conduct more tests.
- Medical malpractice lawyers are too expensive. Unfortunately, some people shy away from hiring a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, PA because they don’t think they can afford the legal fees. However, it’s important to understand that most of these lawyers work on a contingency fee. What this means is that your lawyer will take a percentage of your settlement. If you don’t win your case, you won’t owe your lawyer money.
- Only doctors and surgeons can be guilty of malpractice. It’s true that many medical malpractice cases involve doctors and surgeons. However, all medical professionals can be sued for malpractice. For instance, if your dentist removed the wrong tooth from your mouth, he or she may be guilty of malpractice.
- Many medical malpractice cases are filed out of greed. While some medical malpractice cases are frivolous, most of them are legitimate. The majority of people who file these lawsuits are seriously hurt and just want to be compensated for their losses.
Understanding Medical Malpractice Damages
If you have recently been injured as a result of negligent medical care, you may be wondering what types of damages you could be entitled to in a medical malpractice claim. Damages tell the court system, in terms of a dollar figure, what the patient has lost as a result of the injury sustained. Check out the information below on economic and non-economic damages that could be awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit. For more detailed information about your particular situation, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia PA.
Economic damages are easiest to calculate because they have an actual dollar value. Typically, these damages include medical costs incurred by the claimant as a result of the negligent healthcare provided. Any medical treatments, surgery, tests, medications, hospital stays, etc., are all damages that should be included in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If the patient was unable to work while they recovered from the malpractice, they are also entitled to those lost wages, as well as any lost benefits. If they used sick days, vacation time, and/or personal days in order to receive that income, that amount would also be a damage they could collect in their lawsuit.
If you were unemployed at the time of the incident, typically you will be permitted to use previous earnings as your earning capacity if you had only been out of work for a short period of time. However, if you were unemployed for a lengthy timeframe, the other party could dispute your earning capacity. If this is the situation you are in, develop a strategy for claiming lost earnings with your attorney.
In the unfortunate event the victim will need medical care for the duration of your life as a result of a medical error, the loss of future income is also included in a malpractice lawsuit.
As a Philadelphia PA medical malpractice lawyer can explain, non-economic damages can be trickier to calculate as there is no straightforward dollar value associated with these losses. Instead, these losses are subjective and can include things like loss of consortium and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can include physical, mental, and emotional impacts of the injury on the patient. It can be difficult to translate these losses into a number. There may also be scarring, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of consortium damages awarded. Loss of consortium is a legal term referring to intangible losses experienced by the victim’s spouse or children.
Limits Imposed on Damages Claimed
Some states have laws limiting the non-economic damages that can be granted in a medical malpractice case. The caps vary and some states grant exceptions for special cases involving catastrophic loss or death of a patient.
To learn more about what your legal options may be, contact Wieand Law Firm to speak with a Philadelphia PA medical malpractice lawyer.