When a healthcare provider fails to provide a patient with treatment within the accepted standard of care for that healthcare provider, it is considered medical negligence. When that negligence causes adverse health effects, then it constitutes a medical malpractice claim.
Patients place their trust in medical professionals to make decisions in their best interests. It is the medical professional’s legal duty and responsibility to provide care to the best of their abilities. If not, they could face civil penalties.
Consider This Scenario to Understand Medical Malpractice and Negligence
Suppose that you broke your arm, but your doctor misdiagnosed it as a sprain. They did not order x-rays, allowing the condition to continue untreated. This would be medical negligence because the doctor should have ordered imaging scans to confirm their findings.
Now, if the broken bone shifted out of place, causing you to require additional procedures, this would cross from medical negligence into a medical malpractice claim. Here, you could argue that you were injured further and suffered losses because the doctor did not uphold their field’s standard of care. In short, if the negligence causes injury, there is a medical malpractice claim.
How do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
Liability for medical malpractice is determined based on a case by case basis. In medical malpractice cases, your lawyer must prove that the medical professional failed in their duty to provide treatment consistent with the accepted standard of care. You or your attorney must show that a deviation from the proper standard of care occurred, and that it resulted in damages and losses.
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Understanding the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Negligence
Medical malpractice is a form of medical negligence – though not all medical negligence cases are considered malpractice. Malpractice cases can only result when negligence causes harm to a patient.
Here’s another scenario to better understand medical negligence. You go to the doctor because you’ve been having stomach pain. Your doctor has time-sensitive obligations just after your appointment. So, they:
- Perform a physical examination
- Say that you have indigestion
- Send you home
If your condition healed on its own, this would be medical negligence, because your doctor should have ordered other exams to rule out other conditions. However, if your appendix burst and you needed emergency medical care, this would constitute medical malpractice. Your doctor failed to uphold their field’s standard by failing to thoroughly examine your condition.
Medical Malpractice Cases Can Result From Many Types of Negligence
The following types of negligent actions can be grounds for a medical malpractice case:
- Improperly treating an injury or illness
- Misdiagnosing an injury or illness
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
- Failing to inform the patient of alternative treatments
- Failing to inform the patient of all potential risks associated with their treatment or procedure
Medical malpractice cases hold medical professionals accountable for their actions or omissions.
You Could Seek These Damages Through an Injury Claim or Lawsuit
To have a medical malpractice case, you must prove negligence and injury with damages. If successful, you could recoup compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical care
- Lost income, tips, and employee benefits
- Bonuses, commissions, performances, and contracts
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Mental health complications
You could seek other damages depending on your circumstances.
You Only Have a Certain Time to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
How long you have to file your lawsuit depends on numerous factors, such as:
- The date when your injuries occurred
- The date when you discovered your injuries
- The date when your loved one passed away
In Pennsylvania, you generally have two years to file your lawsuit, per 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5524(2).
These deadlines do not apply to everyone. A medical malpractice lawyer from our team can explain how long you have to file your case and advise you accordingly.
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Our Law Firm Can Pursue Damages Via a Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit
Medical malpractice has the potential to cause dangerous outcomes. For this reason, the responsible parties should be held accountable for their actions.
Here are some of the ways our firm can help you:
Our Lawyers Can Determine the At-Fault Party in Your Case
The party that caused your injury may include a(n):
- Emergency room doctor
- Lab technician
- Hospital administrator
Our team will make our determination by using your case’s evidence.
Your Legal Representative Can Investigate Your Injury’s Circumstances
Our staff can use the following information to build and support your injury claim:
- Your imaging scan results
- Your treatment records
- Information from a third-party healthcare provider
- The names of your medications
- The details of your surgeries and procedures
- Your personal testimony
When proving medical malpractice, our goal is to establish that because a medical professional did not uphold their field’s standard of care, they caused you harm. This could have occurred through action or omission.
Our Firm Can Negotiate a Settlement
If the liable party in your case has malpractice insurance, you could seek damages via an injury claim. Negotiating a settlement for medical malpractice involves:
- Proving negligence
- Writing and sending a demand letter
- Handling insurance communications
Your lawyer can file a lawsuit in civil court if the insurer does not want to settle.
Your Lawyer Will Work on a Contingency-Fee Basis
You don’t pay our medical malpractice team anything until your case is over. That’s because we work on a contingency-fee basis. Our firm takes payment for our attorney’s fees and other services from your final settlement. If your case doesn’t succeed, you don’t pay us anything.
Connect with Berger and Green for More Information on Your Case
Our team can help you learn more about the differences between medical malpractice and negligence. If a medical professional caused you or a loved one to suffer harm, you could file a claim or lawsuit to seek damages.
To learn more about how our lawyers can help you, contact our offices today at (412) 661-1400. Our firm offers a free case evaluation where you can ask questions with no obligation.