Medical Malpractice

What is medical malpractice?

  • In Pennsylvania, the law defines medical malpractice as the “unwarranted departure from generally accepted standards of medical practice resulting in injury to a patient, including all liability-producing conduct arising from the rendition of professional medical services.” – Toogood v. Owen J. Rogal, D.D.S., P.C., 573 Pa. 245, 824 A.2d 1140, 1145 (2003).
  • Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, physician, nurse, technician, etc. makes a mistake or fails to take action. These mistakes or non-existent actions then result in an injury to the patient. However not every mistake that is made by a physician will result in liability for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases involve complex medical issues and only an experienced medical malpractice attorney can discern whether malpractice was committed. Hiring medical malpractice lawyers is the first step in determining if a mistake was made.
  • It is very important that you consult with knowledgeable malpractice lawyers that have ample experience within this field of law before filing a suit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does medical malpractice look like?
There are different types of medical malpractice actions. Some of the most common are: Surgical errors, Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, Errors in prescribing medication, Hospital negligence, Nursing home neglect and abuse, Hospital infections, Failure to explain the risks of a procedure, Failure to obtain consent etc.
How does medical malpractice occur?
There are many ways and reasons why medical malpractice occurs. Some of the most common are: Lack of thoroughness, Failing to give the appropriate test, Failing to perform a thorough evaluation, Failing to review prior records, Misinterpreting test results, Misreading of x-rays, MRI scan or CT scan, Unnecessary delay in treatment etc.
What do I have to prove in order to recover?
In Pennsylvania, you must prove the following: there was a doctor patient relationship, the doctor’s actions or omissions fell below the applicable standard of care and as a result, the patient suffered an injury.
What is the standard of care and how do I know if my doctor’s actions fell below it?
The “standard of care” imposes a duty on the doctor to exercise the same degree of knowledge, skill and care as normally exercised by other doctors in the same field. For example, an orthopedic surgeon would be held to the standard of care of other orthopedic surgeons. Often, the most contentious issue in medical malpractice claims is whether the physician fell below the applicable standard of care. This requires testimony from other doctors in the same field. Moreover, in Pennsylvania you cannot bring a medical malpractice lawsuit unless you have another doctor supply a written statement (known as a Certificate of Merit) that states it is “reasonably probable” that the doctor’s actions fell below the standard of care. As you can see, medical malpractice is a complex area of the law involving complicated legal and medical evidence. It is especially necessary that you have a knowledgeable, experienced lawyer work on your case. Our attorneys work closely with doctors to assist us in providing an accurate and thorough evaluation of your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.