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The Knowledge And Experience Necessary To Give You Answers

You probably have a lot of questions about how the complex laws that surround medical malpractice claims can affect your own case. At Phillips Froetschel, LLC, our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys can answer them.

Our lawyers have handled hundreds of successful medical negligence claims across Pennsylvania. Below, you can find answers to some of the most common questions they receive.

What is medical malpractice?

People who work in health care are highly skilled, knowledgeable and caring individuals who have devoted their lives to improving the lives of others. However, despite their expertise and noble intentions, they can make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes are considered medical malpractice. The definition of medical malpractice is when either an action taken by a medical professional or their failure to act deviates from the standard of care in a medical setting and causes a patient to get hurt.

What are some examples of medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice takes many different forms, such as the following:

  • Failing to diagnose a serious condition in time to treat it
  • Diagnosing a condition incorrectly
  • Performing the wrong surgery on a patient
  • Operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body
  • Prescribing a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication
  • Failing to take a patient’s symptoms seriously or investigate them
  • Releasing someone from the hospital too soon
  • Failing to conduct proper follow-ups or aftercare

There are many more things that could be considered medical malpractice. If you suspect that you’ve suffered an injury because of medical negligence, consult with one of our attorneys.

How do I prove medical malpractice?

Every medical malpractice case has four crucial elements, known as the four Ds:

  • Duty
  • Dereliction
  • Damages
  • Direct cause

The first element that must be present is duty, meaning that a doctor had a professional duty to provide care to a patient. Next is dereliction, which means that they fell short of their duty. This dereliction of professional duty must have resulted in damages to the patient. Damages can be economic, such as medical expenses, or noneconomic, such as pain and suffering. Finally, these damages must have been incurred as a direct result of the doctor’s dereliction of duty.

Do I have a medical malpractice case?

The short answer is: It depends. In order to prove medical negligence in Pennsylvania, an attorney must collect all the relevant medical records and submit them to an expert witness for review. That expert witness must be the same type of physician or practitioner that you intend to sue. The expert witness will then provide an opinion as to (a) whether the care involved in your case deviated from the standard of care and (b) whether the negligence was the proximate cause of injuries and damages.

The best way to determine whether you have a case is to contact us so that our lawyers can start the process of collecting and reviewing your medical records. There is no upfront cost to you.

Is there a statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits?

Generally, the statute of limitations for lawsuits is two years from the incident that caused the injury. If you fail to initiate a lawsuit before this deadline, you could lose the right to seek compensation. However, there are two key exceptions. If the malpractice was not apparent at the time, the two-year statute of limitations starts from when the error was discovered (the discovery rule). For minors, the statute of limitations clock does not start until they turn 18, even if the malpractice occurred in childhood.

What is medical malpractice insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance protects health care practitioners from potential claims by patients. If you receive a settlement or award against a doctor or hospital, it will most likely be paid by their malpractice insurer. In addition to this insurance, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides additional insurance to cover physicians and medical providers. Known as the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (Mcare). This additional insurance provides reduced premiums for medical providers and more protection for injured individuals.

How long will my medical malpractice lawsuit take?

Every claim is different. Your case could be resolved within a few months, or it could take several years, depending on the nature of the injury, the treatment involved, the conduct or negligence of the medical provider, and other factors.

Will I win at trial?

While medical malpractice cases are more likely to go to trial than other types of injury claims, the vast majority of viable claims are still settled out of court. Our team has a solid courtroom record, and our attorneys are prepared to fight through trial and appeal, but they cannot promise a win in any given case. Litigation is always a risk, but they will work hard to tilt the odds in your favor.

Will my doctor have to pay out of pocket if I win?

People generally like their doctors and are uncomfortable suing them. In nearly all cases, malpractice settlements or awards are paid by the doctor’s malpractice insurance policy and the Mcare fund.

Can I make sure that this doesn’t happen to someone else?

Our team gets this question a lot. You cannot demand as a legal remedy that the doctor be fired or that their other patients be warned. While a medical malpractice lawsuit will not necessarily prevent another family from experiencing a tragedy like yours, doctors and hospital administrators may change their medical procedures and safety protocols when medical negligence is brought to light and they are held accountable. Getting justice for yourself and your family is the best way to raise visibility of the problem within the medical system and within your community.

Ask More Questions And Get Answers For Free

These are only a few inquiries that our medical malpractice attorneys often hear. To ask them questions specific to your case, please schedule a free initial consultation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Call our office at 412-643-0682 or send us an email today.