When you see your physician, you hope that they will do everything in their power to give you the treatment and diagnosis you need. However, when neglect takes the place of precision and an injury or death occurs, who can you turn to? The Scranton medical malpractice attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano are here for you.
What is medical malpractice?
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, medical malpractice, “occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.”
To be qualified under the law as medical malpractice, the incident must have resulted from:
- A violation of the standard of care;
- The negligence caused an injury; and
- The injury resulted in significant damages
Medical providers are expected to follow the standards established by the field. Unfortunately, when negligence is present, they do not always meet this standard of care. In addition to not meeting the standard of care, it must be proven that the negligence caused the injury and not some other injury that would have occurred regardless of the negligence.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive and take a lot of time. However, when done successfully, the victim may recoup losses from the injury including income, pain, hardship, medical bills, and more.
Forms of Malpractice
When we think of medical malpractice, we often think of misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and injuries resulting from the care given. However, malpractice can take many forms including:
- Misreading lab and scan results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical errors
- Lack of aftercare
- Patient history not being taken into consideration or accepted at all
- Failure to test
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims
In Pennsylvania, the patient has two years to file a malpractice claim. However, if there was a delay in discovering your injury/condition, there may be an exception to the statute of limitations.
If the injury happened to a minor, the state allows them to press charges upon reaching adulthood. Because of these case-by-case scenarios, it is best to consult with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney even if you reach your two-year limit.
Requirements for Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Claims
In addition to meeting the three-part criteria above for malpractice claims in Pennsylvania, and the two-year statute of limitations, there are certain legal requirements before a medical malpractice claim can move forward.
Under Pennsylvania code, a Certificate of Merit is required in any medical malpractice case. Your lawyer must file a signed Certificate of Merit which verifies that an “appropriate licensed professional” reviewed your malpractice claim. This also verifies that they believe there is a “reasonable probability” that your healthcare provider “fell outside acceptable professional standards” which led to an injury.
You file the Certificate of Merit with the initial complaint; it may be filed up to 60 days after the initial filing. The law dictates that the medical provider who reviews the case need not be of the same medical background but possesses “sufficient education, training, knowledge and experience” to testify.
Pennsylvania Malpractice Damages
Many people believe that Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice no cap rule means you can earn infinite damages in your suit. However, this isn’t the case. It actually means that there is not a limit on either economic or non-economic damages or compensation you can receive from the lawsuit.
There are, however, limits on punitive damages, which is the punishment for dangerous behavior. However, punitive damages are rare.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano
You trusted your healthcare provider. You deserve compensation if you are now worse off than you were before. Contact the Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano for a free case evaluation.
Call (570) 348-0776 to schedule an appointment at our law firm, conveniently located in downtown Scranton. The law firm of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano – your best interests come first here.