When you seek medical treatment for a condition, you hope that your provider will do everything in his or her 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
It is expected that medical providers follow the standards established by the field. Unfortunately, when negligence is present, this standard of care may not be met. 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.
It is no shock that medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive but for those victims of negligence, they can be incredibly lucrative to recoup losses from the injury including loss of income, unusual pain, hardship, or medical bills.
Forms of Medical Malpractice
When we think of medical malpractice, we often think of misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and injuries resulting from the care given. However, medical 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 medical malpractice claim. However, if there is a delay in the discovery of the extended harm, the state may permit an exception to the statute of limitations.
If the injury occurred to a minor who was then permitted to press charges upon reaching adulthood, the state also allows an exception to the two-year rule. Because of these case-by-case scenarios, it is best to consult with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney, even if your two-year limit has been reached, to see if a case can still be made.
Requirements for Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Claims
In addition to meeting the three-part criteria above for medical 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 and believes that there is a “reasonable probability” that your healthcare provider “fell outside acceptable professional standards” which lead to injury.
The Certificate of Merit is filed with the initial complaint, though 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 poses “sufficient education, training, knowledge and experience” to testify.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Damages
Many people believe that Pennsylvania medical malpractice no cap rule means that you can earn infinite damages following your medical malpractice suit. However, what the rule actually means is 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 the punitive damages which is the punishment for the dangerous behavior. However, punitive damages are rare.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano
You trusted your healthcare provider. But now that you are worse off than you were before, you deserve to be compensated. 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.