Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical Malpractice: Mistakes, Misdiagnosis, and Medications
Guidance from a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
As a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer from The Wieand Law Firm, LLC, can tell you these accidents can have devastating consequences. Slip and fall injuries are some of the most common injuries, accounting for nearly three million emergency department visits a year. About 1 in 5 falls results in serious injury, such as a traumatic fracture or head trauma. As a result, falls are also one of the top twenty expensive medical conditions with an average hospitalization cost of approximately $30,000.
The circumstances surrounding your slip and fall accident will be unique to your situation, which can lead a lot of people to feel frustrated not knowing if they can file a claim or receive compensation. These accidents can happen almost anywhere including slipping on a puddle in a hotel lobby or tripping over uneven pavement outside of a hospital. However, there are many common questions after a slip and fall accident that can help you determine the steps for filing a claim and what you should do immediately following the accident.
It is extremely common to come across certain signs in department stores, at restaurants, or even the produce aisles of your groceries stores. “Caution: Wet Floor” or “Warning: Slippery When Wet” are signs many stores have on display. These signs can be incredibly helpful to people who would not otherwise notice a puddle of liquid or a patch of ice that can cause serious damage. However, not all dangerous areas like these are marked, and when they are left for the pedestrian to notice on their own, many people become the victim of a slip and fall accident. These types of accidents can be extremely dangerous.
You may think you are left with a simple bruise on your hip or a small cut on your hand, but a doctor should properly check out any type of injury sustained after a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property. Below, we have common questions regarding slip and fall accidents and the next steps after the accident has occurred. If you would like to speak with a slip and fall lawyer today, contact Wieand Law Firm, LLC now!
What Defines Medical Malpractice?
The vast majority of doctors are amazing people who will always go the extra mile to take care of their patients; however, there are some situations where patients can be victimized by medical malpractice. In this situation, it is important for you to reach out to a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer, such as a member of the Wieand Law Firm, who can help you. What defines medical malpractice?
A Duty to the Patient
For medical malpractice to take place, the plaintiff has to prove that the doctor had a duty to take care of him or her. For example, if a doctor runs up to someone on the street following a car accident, he or she does not necessarily have a duty to help the people involved. The doctor is simply being a good samaritan. On the other hand, if you can prove that you had an appointment scheduled with that doctor at the time the incident occurred, then you may be able to prove medical malpractice.
A Deviation From That Duty
Next, the plaintiff has to prove that the doctor deviated from the accepted standard of care. Just because you had a poor outcome doesn’t necessarily mean medical malpractice took place. Sometimes, doctors follow the best practices of the field and do not get the desired outcome. You need to previous at the doctor deviated from the established standard of care.
A Deviation That Caused Damages
Finally, you also have to prove that the deviation of that doctor from the established standard of care led to your damages. Sometimes, a doctor deviates from the standard of care; however, it does not necessarily lead to a worse outcome. You need to prove that the damages you experienced were caused by a doctor who had a duty to help you and that the doctor deviated from the field’s standard of care.
Contact a Trained Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you can prove these elements, then you may have a successful medical malpractice case. It is incredibly difficult to prove medical malpractice has occurred, which is why it is important for you to work with a trained lawyer. A Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer, such as a member of the Wieand Law Firm, can stand up for your rights and interests. If you are concerned that you may have suffered medical malpractice, reach out to a lawyer who can help you and protect your interests.
Was It My Fault?
This will, of course, depend on the circumstances revolving around the slip and fall accident. If there was appropriate signage to warn you to stay away from the dangerous area until management properly assessed and fixed it but you chose to put yourself in danger anyway, you might not have a claim to make. However, if there was no warning about the dangerous area and your accident injured you, it likely was not your fault.
What Commonly Causes Slip and Fall Accidents?
A serious medical event with significant medical costs requires a seasoned slip and fall lawyer who can obtain the possible compensation for your injuries. There are many causes of slip and fall accidents. Some of the most common are:
- Spilled drinks or wet food
- Holes in the ground
- Poor or broken lighting
- Carpeting that is missing, torn, or raised
- Broken safety guard, stair, or handrails
- Unsalted ice or snow
- Problems in the pavement including holes or uneven surfaces
Brent Wieand, Esq, a slip and fall lawyer with the Wieand Law Firm LLC, cites several common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents:
Over 90 percent of hip fractures are due to a fall trauma. Considered extremely dangerous to the older adult, they are frequently fatal within a year. Hip fractures commonly result in nursing home placement in older adults – an expense that can be astronomical for long-term medical care.
Fractures or Sprains
Legs, arms, wrists, ankles and other body parts can become compromised during a slip and fall accident. A slip and fall lawyer can help delineate demonstrate the full-scope of the injury to obtain compensation that truly reflects the cost of the injury. This may include medical and rehabilitation expenses as well as lost time from work.
Traumatic Brain Injuries/Head Trauma
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have life changing consequences and require an extensive amount of medical and physical rehabilitation that occurs over months or years. Traumatic brain injuries can impact multiple functional areas, including cognitive function, motor function, sensation and emotion. The impact of these injuries may impact an individual’s ability to continue employment or even perform activities of daily living. A slip and fall injury lawyer can understand the significant and sometimes life-long impact of these injuries and seek just compensation.
To demonstrate that your slip and fall injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence, you will need to prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition and failed to address it properly. You will need to demonstrate the reasonableness of the property owner’s action or inaction. For example, a reasonable property owner should have a routine standard of cleaning for floors. Additionally, a property owner who fails to address a broken step several months after notification may not be considered reasonable.
If the injured party’s actions contributed to the accident, they may be considered partially liable. As such, if the individual slipped on a wet floor while texting, personal carelessness may be a contributing factor of the accident. Situations like these may still be eligible for compensation, but the settlement or verdict may be reduced due to the partial responsibility of the injured party.
What Not To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
Talk to Representatives of the Business
Representatives of the business want to talk to you to trip you up about your slip and fall in their business. They’re hoping you’ll say something acknowledging fault or that you aren’t as seriously injured as you claim to be. Refer any business representatives to your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer from Wieand Law Firm.
Talk to Private Investigators After the Accident
As much as you shouldn’t talk to representatives of the business, you really shouldn’t speak with any private investigators. Their sole purpose is to catch you acting less injured than you claim to be or in a lie about your injury. Refer them to Wieand Law Firm, too.
Accept Any Cash Settlement
If the business offers you a cash settlement without going through your attorney, don’t accept it. It’s probably far less than what they think you’re due and is being offered in hopes you won’t go after them for more money. Your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer should be in negotiations with the business’ insurance company about settling your case.
Sign Anything Without Speaking to Your Attorney
Never sign anything without running it by your lawyer first. There may be legal language you might misunderstand which could negate any payout by the insurance company. Let your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer do the job you’ve hired him for.
Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
The only reason an insurance adjuster wants to get a recorded statement from you is to catch you lying, saying you’re “fine” or “okay” or admitting fault. Yes, even the social niceties of “how are you doing?” can create a minefield for your slip and fall claim.
Don’t say you’re sorry about all this hassle. Don’t try to downplay the business’ part in your injury by saying anything such as, “I wasn’t watching where I was going,” “I didn’t see the wet floor sign,” or “I’m such a klutz.”
Discuss Your Accident on Social Media
Private investigators will snoop on your social media accounts to see if you say anything indicating you’re not as injured as you claim to be. Don’t give them any ammunition to use against you. Don’t post about your fun plans this weekend, how your back is feeling much better or that you’re going back to work early.
Ignore signs of an injury
If you have any signs of an injury whatsoever, seek medical attention. Even if it’s just a bruise or a little dizziness, it could be a warning sign of something serious you wouldn’t want to ignore. After you’ve sought appropriate medical care, call a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer to start the claims process after your slip and fall.
What to Do After Slip and Fall
As a team of slip and fall lawyers, we tell our clients all the time there are a few steps to take after your fall that are critical. Not only will they help ensure that you can heal from your injuries as soon as possible, but they can help you prepare for making a claim.
Step 1: Report It
If you are in stable condition, before you leave the property you should report the accident to the manager or supervisor of the property. If you do not report an accident, a manager will not know that there is (a) A dangerous area on their property or (b) That an accident even occurred. When you do speak with the manager, they should also write up some type of accident report. This is crucial when making a slip and fall claim.
Step 2: Document the Scene
This can be essential to your claim. Photographs of the accident scene can show that the slip and fall accident did not happen because of your own negligence. Instead, it happened because of something that was dangerous on the property that the owner failed to fix. Important things to note as you document the scene are:
- What specifically caused your fall?
- Was the area dark or light?
- Where did the accident take place, inside or outside?
- Exactly how did the accident occur?
- Were there hazard, warning, or danger signs to mark the area?
- Was anyone else aware of the danger before your accident?
Step 3: Get the Medical Help You Need
Regardless of how you feel immediately following your slip and fall accident, it is never a waste of time or money to have a medical professional examine your injuries or the bodily area on which you fell. You might have obvious injuries like a broken arm or hip or severe bruising. You might even have signs of a concussion. Or, your injuries might not present symptoms for a few hours or days. A head trauma does not always show immediate signs of damage.
Step 4: Get Witness Information
If there was anyone else at the scene of the accident who saw what happened, they can be a crucial part of your testimony. Before leaving (unless you medically need to), get the names and contact information of any witnesses. If there were witnesses to your accident, it is imperative that you get their names and contact information. Also, record what you were doing, what time your accident occurred, and what caused the accident to happen.
Step 5: Be Careful What You Say
Do not give statements to the property’s insurance company or even the manager. Let the manager know what happened, but discuss any details with your attorney.
Step 6: Contact a Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer
After your accident, you might not be sure of which steps to take legally. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall injury, it’s important that you have the support of an Philadelphia, PA slip and fall lawyer this community counts on to pursue fair compensation for your physical injuries, pain, and suffering.
4 Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries
When most people think of slip-and-fall accidents, they think about mild injuries. After all, throughout the majority of your life, most falls probably didn’t result in serious injuries. What happens when one does? If you slip and fall on a patch of ice or fall onto a hard surface, you can seriously injure yourself. Here are four of the most common slip-and-fall injuries.
Your knees are a complex blend of bone and ligament. When you fall, you could wind up with worse injuries than a skinned knee. As you fall, your knee could twist and in its twisted state would suffer the brunt of your weight falling to the ground. This could tear ligaments or dislocate your knee. It is possible to need reconstruction after a slip-and-fall accident.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
When you fall, you do not have to hit your head to have a traumatic brain injury. As you hit the ground, your brain may receive a jolt. This is dangerous and you may not recognize how bad the injury is until later. If you do not have your TBI looked at right away, then it can grow more serious over time. You could have headaches that last for months at a time. If you hit your head when you fall or if you feel dazed, confused or present with a headache, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out a TBI.
Sprained Wrists and Ankles
One of the most common injuries you could have when you fall is a sprained ankle or wrist. If you were to fall on an uneven stair, you could land on your twisted ankle. This could result in a sprain or even a break of the ankle. Also, when a person falls, he or she will tend to put their arms out to cushion the fall. When you do this, your full weight lands on your hands and can twist and strain your wrist. Due to the lack of blood flow, sprains and strains take time to heal.
Spine or Nerve Damage
Slip-and-fall injuries can result in devastating medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you were the victim of a slip-and-fall accident because of someone else’s negligence, you might have a right to compensation. Set up an appointment and consult with a slip-and-fall lawyer as soon as possible to find out more about how to file a personal injury claim.
Why Slip and Falls Happen
Slip and fall accidents can happen at any location, and at any time. The impacts of these types of accidents can vary by person depending on how and where they fell. A person may get up with minor scratches and bruises, or they may need emergency medical attention. If you or someone you love has been injured because of a slip and fall accident, it is important to understand your legal options. Our team is knowledgeable about slip and fall accidents specifically, and are ready to help you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Here are the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
Uneven and Wet Floors
Floor conditions are one of the top causes of slip and fall incidents. Property owners have a duty of care to visitors and must do what is within their power to reduce hazards and minimize risks. A property owner may be held liable for injuries, damages, and losses that a victim suffers if they did not attend to a hazard promptly enough or fix it completely. Floor conditions that can leave people vulnerable to getting hurt include:
- Uneven pavement, flooring, or surfaces without proper warning signs
- Recently polished or wax floors
- Crumpled or loose rugs, flooring, or mats (including stairs)
- Unsalted icy surfaces
- Spills that did not not get cleaned up
- Splashed oil or grease
- Potholes in parking lots
- Items caught in carpets or rugs that may catch on shoes
- Not utilizing sufficient barriers to close off wet areas
- Fallen products in shopping aisles
Corrective measures that a property owner may have to perform include maintaining pavements, mopping up wet floors or spills, removing snow or ice from walkways, utilizing non-skid materials when appropriate, cleaning up excess moisture, and observing weather conditions to foresee any potential hazards and then taking action against them.
Weak Ladders or Stairs
Unsafe ladders and stairs can quickly cause a slip and fall accident. Examples of hazardous factors that can increase the likelihood of a slip-and-fall happening are: lack of handrails, rushing when taking the stairs, warped steps, skipping steps when traveling down or up the stairs, trash or debris, polish or waxed stairs without non-skid pads, not securing a ladder when in use, using a chair or the furniture item instead of a ladder, not using existing handrails, or a lack of handrails entirely. Always use a ladder in the correct manner to reduce the chances of a fall.
Poor Safety Practices
There are specific jobs that are more at risk for a slip-and-fall injury accident, especially if safety practices are not followed, and these include: construction workers, manual workers, chefs and kitchen staff, custodial staff, housekeepers, factory workers, and more. To ward against slip and fall accidents in a work environment, employees must receive training on how to use necessary equipment and tool items. Workers must be provided what they need to stay safe while performing job duties.
What Else can I Do?
Getting help from a slip and fall lawyer is important after a slip and fall accident. An attorney can ensure that you have collected the necessary evidence for your claim and followed the appropriate steps to ensure your claim can go through properly. They can also determine if you are receiving a fair and proper settlement.
Our team will take the time to listen to your individual situation and provide the expert advice you need to act. To speak with our PA slip and fall lawyers in Philadelphia, contact Wieand Law Firm, LLC today at 215-666-7777 to receive a free, no obligation consultation.
Other FAQs About Medical Malpractice
At Wieand Law Firm, our goal is to empower our clients. We represent you fully, but we take your needs into account because we want you to feel completely satisfied with the outcome of your case. For that, you need to understand what’s involved with medical malpractice and get the answers to all of your questions. A Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer can be a huge help.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Work in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Medical malpractice cases have a statute of limitations in Philadelphia. The time depends on the injury and the circumstances surrounding it.
Generally speaking, the clock starts running from the moment the negligent treatment happens. If you suspect medical malpractice, it’s a good idea to contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer as soon as it’s physically possible — or have a family member call on your behalf.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. If you continue receiving an ongoing course of treatment from the same hospital, such as chemotherapy, you may have additional time to file a claim.
Another exception is when you only discover medical malpractice later on. This can happen when patients have to undergo surgery for a second time and the new surgeon uncovers a serious error by the previous doctor. In these cases, let your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer know as soon as you find out.
Who Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
You can generally file a lawsuit against any medical professional that had a responsibility of care to you. First and foremost, this includes doctors and surgeons.
Other cases of medical malpractice involve specialists such as anesthesiologists. You can also sue a nurse who gave you the wrong medication or made another serious mistake that competent nurses wouldn’t have committed.
What about hospitals? You may be able to sue the medical center if you can prove an employment relationship between doctors or nurses and the hospital. Your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at Wieand Law Firm can let you know which avenues are most viable for your case.
When Are Doctors Required To Disclose the Risks of a Procedure?
You can sue physicians for medical malpractice if they don’t tell you about significant risks of a treatment and a reasonable person would make a different choice knowing those risks. Proving this requires strong evidence. Your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer can help by gathering medical records or expert testimony if you choose to pursue this option.
Common Myths About Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents, whether they occur in a grocery store or outside someone’s home, happen quite frequently in the U.S. However, they are still largely misunderstood. Here are some common myths about slip and fall accidents that you shouldn’t believe.
- If the property owner put up a warning sign, you can’t sue. Sometimes property owners and managers put up warning signs to let people know about a dangerous situation, such as a milk spill at a grocery store. However, if the property owner put up a warning sign and you still suffered a slip and fall accident, you still may be able to pursue a personal injury claim. It is possible that the owner could have done more to prevent the accident.
- You can pursue damages at any time. This is false. You don’t have all the time in the world to file a claim for your slip and fall injuries. In Pennsylvania the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is two years. Once that deadline has passed, you no longer have the right to pursue damages. That is why it is important to discuss your case with a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer promptly.
- You can only receive compensation for severe injuries. Just because you did not suffer a head injury or several broken bones during a slip and fall accident, does not mean that you aren’t entitled to compensation. Even if you just suffered some bruising or cuts, you still should get assessed by a doctor promptly, which costs money.
- The negligent party will have to pay for your damages out-of-pocket. Some people are reluctant to file an injury claim because they think the negligent party will have to pay out-of-pocket. This is especially true if the property owner is a family member or friend. However, the negligent party’s insurance party will most likely be responsible for paying the damages.
- If the property owner didn’t know about the dangerous condition, you don’t have a case. There are many cases in which a property owner didn’t know about a hazardous condition on the premises. However, that doesn’t mean that he or she is off the hook. If the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition, he or she can still be held liable.
It isn’t always easy for victims of medical malpractice to know whether they have a cause for legal action or not. Obviously, medical practitioners do not relish being sued, so many strategically withhold information that may give their patients a stronger sense that their situations have been handled in negligent or even reckless ways. On other occasions, medical practitioners may not even be aware that they have made mistakes that have led to patient harm. For these reasons and a host of others, victims of medical malpractice often fail to seek legal guidance in the wake of sustaining legally actionable harm.
Even if you are unsure of whether you have grounds upon which to file a lawsuit, you should connect with an attorney at Wieand Law Firm, LLC as soon as you suspect that you may have suffered injury or illness as a result of a medical practitioner’s actions or inactions. Taking the proactive step of scheduling a risk-free legal consultation will allow you to make informed choices as you move forward.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Meeting with a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at our firm will not obligate you to file a lawsuit. The consultation process simply exists so that those who may or may not have strong grounds upon which to file a lawsuit can ask questions, voice concerns, and learn more about their rights and options under the law.
How Do You Know if You Have Grounds for Legal Action?
No two medical malpractice cases are ever exactly the same. This is a particularly complex area of law in which a broad standard may apply in any number of ways. This is why it is so important to have your case thoroughly and objectively evaluated by a medical malpractice attorney before committing either to filing a lawsuit or to taking any other course of action or inaction.
Generally speaking, a victim of medical malpractice can hold a healthcare provider accountable for injury or illness if that harm resulted from conduct that would not have been embraced by a reasonable practitioner facing similar circumstances. Once our team assesses your case, we’ll be able to explain how this standard may apply to your situation.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you believe that you may have suffered injury or illness as a result of a medical provider’s actions or inactions, please schedule a risk-free consultation with the experienced Pennsylvania team at Wieand Law Firm, LLC today. Remember that attending a consultation neither obligates you to pursue legal action nor does it obligate you to retain our firm’s legal services. Our firm is proud to offer risk-free consultations because we believe that anyone who may have suffered as a result of a professional’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful conduct deserves to understand their rights and options under the law.
Once we have thoroughly reviewed your situation, you’ll be empowered to make informed decisions about your legal circumstances moving forward. If you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit, our team will provide you with any and all support that you may require. We look forward to speaking with you.