If you or someone you love has experienced an injury that you believe is due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Edelstein Martin & Nelson to get a free case evaluation.
When you are in the care of a medical professional, you believe that they have your best interests at heart and will stop at nothing to properly care for you. However, mistakes can happen in the blink of an eye that cause you severe harm at the hands of a professional. Each year, according to one report by John Hopkins Medicine, over 250,000 individuals allegedly lose their lives due to mistakes made by surgeons, doctors, pharmacists, and other medical providers whose responsibility is to care for us.
If you have been injured or lost somebody close to you due to a medical error by a medical professional, it is important to know your options. Medical malpractice is a growing concern in the U.S. and you should never be left without legal help. Speaking with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney at Edelstein Martin & Nelson is the best decision that you can make after one of these accidents.
What is Medical Malpractice Exactly?
From the moment that you entrust a medical professional with your care, you expect the absolute best care – which means to be kept safe from any harm. However, medical malpractice does happen. Medical malpractice is, specifically, when a negligent act or omission takes place at the hands of a medical professional. This negligence typically occurs during your diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare, depending on the circumstances of your unique situation.
Any medical professional has a standard duty of care that they must uphold in their practice at all times. If they have adhered to the standard duty of care, they most likely will not be held responsible for malpractice if something negative occurs during the course of their care of a patient. If they veer from that standard, however, they could be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
Malpractice can happen in many different ways and can affect your life for weeks, months, or even the rest of your life depending on the severity of your injuries. There are various types of malpractice that are most common at the hands of a negligent medical provider. These include the following:
Misdiagnosis: Claims involving a misdiagnosis are some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims made in the U.S. every year. These incidents take place when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition in a patient when it should have been reasonable to do so. Sometimes, this means that a professional will tell you that you do not actually have a medical condition or will accidentally diagnose you with the wrong medical condition. Though not every event of misdiagnosis will lead to a medical malpractice claim, some do when you can show that a competent doctor would have correctly diagnosed you under the same circumstances.
Delayed Diagnosis: Delayed diagnosis goes hand in hand with misdiagnosis. When you do not get a diagnosis early enough in your medical journey, you could miss out on opportunities that you would have had if you were diagnosed from the very beginning. The delay in your diagnosis can make the condition worse, which means that it can be more expensive to treat or you may have run out of options for treatment.
Failure to Treat: In some cases, a doctor may not treat you correctly depending on the diagnosis you have received. This can result from many different reasons such as a doctor having too many patients in their care, discharging you from care too early, or even failing to refer you to another doctor who could give you proper treatment in a timely manner.
Birth Injuries: Birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy or fractures, occur in many births every year throughout the U.S. It can be devastating for a patient to realize that their child has been harmed or that a mistake by a medical professional caused them or their child serious injuries. There are many negligent acts that can lead to a birth injury before and after the birth. These include inadequate prenatal care, failure to perform a C-section when necessary, and failing to monitor a mother during labor, among others.
Surgical Mistakes: Mistakes can, unfortunately, also be made during surgery. Surgical errors that are most common include botched surgery that leads to nerve damage, failing to provide necessary patient care after a surgery, leaving instruments inside a surgical patient, performing surgeries on the wrong body part, or even performing the wrong surgery altogether.
Medical Device Defects: When there is a defect in a medical device, a patient could receive serious injuries or even suffer from an unexpected death. If a manufacturer should have reasonably known about a defect, they could be held liable if a device causes harm.
Injuries Common in Medical Malpractice Cases
There are many serious injuries that can result from medical malpractice cases, caused by medical doctors and others in the healthcare profession. Some of these injuries can land you in the hospital for a period of time, as well as cause you to sustain permanent disability in severe cases. These include the following:
- Heart attack or cardiac arrest
- Brain injuries
- Infections and other complications due to surgical instruments life inside the body
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis due to birth injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Permanent organ damage
- Death in the most severe cases
It is imperative that you know your legal rights after you or a family member have been hurt in a medical malpractice-related incident. You deserve the best medical care at all times, and healthcare providers are expected to treat you with outstanding care. If you have been hurt in one of these accidents, speaking with our attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson can help you move forward with a successful claim.
Is There a Difference Between a Medical Error and Medical Negligence?
There is a difference between outright gross medical negligence and a simple medical error. Every year, minor medical errors take place in the healthcare industry that do not cause major harm in patients. If you can show that a provider acted in an outright negligent fashion or omitted information that you should have been informed of, and it directly resulted in harm to you, you can likely bring a successful medical malpractice claim.
4 Elements to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Claim
There are four main elements that a plaintiff must prove if they want to move forward with a successful medical malpractice claim. These are as follows:
- The defendant (the healthcare provider) owed you, the patient, a standard duty of care.
- There was a breach in the duty of care due to a negligent reason.
- You sustained an injury due to that medical
- Your injury led to significant damages, such as medical expenses and lost income due to missing work.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that a healthcare provider failed to diagnose an illness in a timely manner when it would have been reasonable to do so. As a result, you missed out on certain treatments that would have caused you less pain and less expense. If you can show that their delayed diagnosis led to your damages, you can bring a successful claim against a healthcare provider.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Medical Malpractice?
If you were under the care of a doctor at the time of your injuries, you may think that you would simply sue the doctor. However, you may sometimes have a claim against multiple parties in a medical malpractice case. Here are some of the parties who could be held liable for your harm:
Doctors: Physicians, such as primary care providers or surgeons, can of course be held liable for medical malpractice. It is important to note, however, that some doctors employed at hospitals and offices are contract workers, which means that your claim could be more complex in nature. There are certain laws that could come into play and various parties who could be at fault based on the contract terms.
Nurses: Nurses are always supposed to treat their patients with care as well. Nursing mistakes sometimes happen and lead to medical malpractice cases, such as administering the wrong medication or failing to take prompt action when the patient is experiencing a medical problem.
Pharmacists: Pharmacists have many responsibilities, but one of the biggest is making sure to fill the correct medication. If they make any type of medication error, they could be held liable in a medical malpractice claim.
The Hospital: When an employee of a hospital makes a negligent mistake that causes you harm, the hospital could be held liable for this harm. Hospitals are always supposed to make sure that they are hiring the most competent staff.
How Long Do You Have to Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania law, you must abide by what is known as the statute of limitations if you wish to bring a successful personal injury claim. If you do not meet these filing deadlines, you could be barred from bringing a claim in the future. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years from the time that you sustain an injury or find out that you were injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligence.
Because that and other deadlines can come up quickly, you want to act fast when it comes to your claim. Every decision that you make after you have been injured can impact your claim in the future. Speaking with a skilled attorney early on is imperative if you want to move forward with a successful claim. Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers at Edelstein Martin & Nelson are here for you in your time of need.
Not only do you have to file your lawsuit by the two year mark, but you also need time prior to filing to investigate and build your case. This is another reason why you must seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your injury occurs.
When a Wrongful Death Occurs Due to Medical Malpractice
Some alarming statistics show that, after heart disease and cancer, medical errors are a third-leading cause of death in individuals in the U.S. Where do you turn after a loved one has been taken from you prematurely due to medical negligence? Bringing a wrongful death claim is the best way for you and your family to recover financially after losing a loved one due to an incident of medical malpractice.
To be successful in a wrongful death claim after a medical malpractice incident arises, you must be able to show that your loved one’s death stemmed from negligence on behalf of a healthcare provider. Wrongful death claims can be complex and there are only certain family members who can legally bring these claims. Because of this, you should speak with a skilled Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney who has handled these claims in the past and can help you during these difficult times.
How a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You
Medical malpractice lawsuits, by nature, are complex and complicated claims. This means that you may need many types of evidence to win your case. Also, medical providers have powerful insurance companies on their side with skilled lawyers, so it is imperative that you seek skilled representation as well.
To bring a successful personal injury case after a medical mistake, you should always have the help of an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer on your side. An attorney will be able to help you in the following ways:
- Examine all aspects of your claim to determine if you have a lawsuit.
- Hire expert witnesses that you need to prove that medical malpractice
- Determine what damages you can claim and prove the cost of them.
- Negotiate with big-name insurance companies so that you don’t have to.
- Successfully take your claim to court if it is not settled beforehand.
An attorney can handle all of this and more for you so that you can focus on recovery from what you have gone through.
Speak with a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Edelstein Martin & Nelson Today
After an injury caused by a healthcare provider, speaking with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is one of the best decisions that you can make. It is not unusual to be left with an array of questions that you cannot answer on your own after one of these accidents. Medical professionals who have acted in a negligent manner should always be held liable for the harm that they have caused you. Our attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson are always here to take your call. Please contact us at (888) 208-1810 to find out what we can do for you.