5 FAQs Medical Accident Lawyers Hear When Discussing Medical Malpractice
Medical care is a necessary part of everyday life. Doctors prescribe medications for hundreds of ailments and perform life-saving surgeries every day. Unfortunately, for some, the medical care they received resulted in further injury or even wrongful death in some extreme cases.
At Westmoreland Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience helping clients navigate the legal process of a medical malpractice case. It is frustrating enough to have a new or exacerbated injury, but trying to heal while dealing with legal matters does not have to be overwhelming. If you have questions about your experience with a physician, our medical accident lawyers may have answers for you.
1. What is Medical Malpractice, and Do I Have a Case?
Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses several types of medical negligence and scenarios where the patient was harmed in a medical setting. You may have a medical malpractice case if:
- A physician or other medical professional misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose an illness or ailment.
- You received poor care, or the physician attending to your care did follow proper procedures.
- The medical professional prescribed you the wrong type of medication or failed to warn you of the risks associated with the drug.
- A surgery left you disabled, disfigured, unable to perform your daily tasks, or unable to enjoy life as well as you could before the surgery.
Of course, not every instance of unsatisfactory care or treatment is a direct result of malpractice; your doctor may have acted appropriately given your illness, but their treatment plan was unable to help. Because medical malpractice can be challenging to identify and even more challenging to prove, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if you have a case.
2. Can I Receive Compensation for My Medical Malpractice Case, and Is There a Cap?
Many people pursue a medical malpractice case not only to ensure the physician is held accountable for their actions but for compensation for their injuries, ailments, or the harm caused to them. In Pennsylvania, payment in a medical malpractice case can come in a few forms.
- Victims of medical malpractice may be awarded general damages for pain and suffering or other things that are not quantifiable. This payment type is the most common financial compensation to come from medical malpractice cases.
- Special damages are awarded for medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, lost income reimbursement, or other quantifiable losses.
- The least common type of compensation is punitive damages. Patients will receive this if they have been a victim of intentional harm, or they may be awarded to punish a hospital, nursing home, or medical professional who is continuously negligent or intentionally harmful.
While many states place caps on the amount of compensation a patient can receive for a medical malpractice case, Pennsylvania does not. You have the potential to receive total payment for any of your injuries. The exception is punitive damages, as they are a punishment to the defendant and not necessarily simply compensation for the injuries caused.
3. Is There a Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases in Pennsylvania?
As is the case in most states, there is a statute of limitations on when you can initiate a claim for medical malpractice in Pennsylvania. A patient has up to two years to seek justice in their case, but there are some exceptions depending on your situation.
You must contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury, illness, or the wrongful death of someone you care about if you suspect medical malpractice. A personal injury lawyer can go over the details and decide if you have a case to get the lawsuit started as soon as possible.
4. What is Standard of Care?
There is no absolute definition of “standard of care,” and each physician’s idea of a care standard may vary from other physicians. However, each patient can expect to receive a typical level of care during their treatment process or what a reasonable physician would expect to do in a case similar to the affected patient’s. If a doctor does not adhere to this level of care, they have acted with negligence.
When your physician does not meet standard, adequate care while you are under their treatment, you might be entitled to a medical malpractice case. These cases are handled in civil court, not as criminal cases, because different types of medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a requirement for a criminal case. You are not responsible for establishing you have a malpractice case, as your personal injury lawyer will do that work for you.
5. What is a “Never Event”?
When discussing medical malpractice, a “never event” is something extreme that should never be performed. Examples of never events include surgical errors like a doctor performing an amputation of the wrong limb, knowingly using the wrong type of medication to treat a patient, oxygen lines containing the wrong kind of gas, being discharged too soon for the kind of injury you sustained, and more. Never events should be taken extremely seriously and may be grounds for a medical malpractice case.
I Have a Malpractice Case, and I Would Like to Talk to Medical Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you care about has been injured or harmed by a medical professional, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Everyone deserves high-quality healthcare that heals them, and you should be compensated for your suffering if you have been treated poorly by the physicians caring for you.
When you need lawyers for medical problems in Greensburg, PA, you can turn to the professionals at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers. Our medical accident lawyers have helped many clients like you get the compensation they deserve for their inadequate medical care, and we would be happy to go over your case. Get in touch with us today.