Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys Fight for the Injured

Needing medical care can be a frightening thing. You place your life and health in the hands of healthcare providers, trusting that they have the knowledge, experience, and attentiveness to heal rather than harm. However, when a provider fails to live up to the standard of care, they betray that trust. That betrayal can cause serious health injury or even claim a life.

Medical care can be complex. Medical malpractice claims can be complex as well. An injured person must discuss the medical side of their case in a malpractice claim and navigate complex court rules and laws governing these claims.

Although Philadelphia-area doctors and hospitals are expected to provide appropriate care, not all providers meet this standard. When negligence occurs, injured patients and their families need help. The experienced Norristown medical malpractice attorneys at MyPhillyLawyer are here to help you understand your options and protect your legal rights.

What is Norristown Medical Malpractice?

Healthcare providers are held to a “standard of care.” These professionals are expected to provide the same level of care that an ordinary, prudent provider would in the same situation. The standard of care for any given situation is based on the medical community’s understanding of appropriate and necessary healthcare for various conditions and patients. It takes into account the scientific basis of different tests and treatments.

Medical malpractice occurs when:

  • A provider has a duty to follow the standard of care while treating a patient,
  • A provider falls short of the standard of care in some way,
  • A patient suffers harm as a result of the provider’s negligence, and
  • The patient’s harm is the type a court can address, usually through monetary damages.

Medical malpractice cases seek monetary damages to address the harm caused. Damages may cover expenses related to injury, like the need for additional medical care. They may also address losses like pain and suffering from the original malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can explain which types of damages apply in your case.

Types of Medical Malpractice Situations

Medical malpractice can occur at nearly any medical diagnosis, care, or treatment stage. Common types of medical malpractice claims include:

Birth Injuries. During delivery, medical teams must monitor both parent and child care. If teams fail to provide proper monitoring or use methods that fall below the standard of care, injury to the baby, the parent, or both may result.

Diagnosis-related negligence. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis all increase the risk of serious harm to patients. Failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis mean that a medical condition like cancer may spread unchecked until it is too late to save the patient’s life. Misdiagnosis risks causing harm by treating a patient for a condition they do not have while the condition they do have gets worse.

Medication Errors. Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, dispensing the wrong medication, giving a patient the wrong medication or dose, or failing to give the correct medication at the right time are all examples of medication errors. Some medication errors can lead to serious harm or death for the patient.

Misread Test Results. Today, a vast array of medical tests allow doctors to understand what is happening inside the body and prescribe treatment. To provide proper treatment, however, test results must be interpreted accurately. When the results of an imaging study like an MRI or a lab test like a blood draw are misinterpreted, providers may miss signs of serious medical issues.

Surgery Errors. Medical malpractice that may occur during surgery is anesthesia mistakes, operating on the wrong body part, or accidentally leaving surgical tools or instruments inside the body. Some of these mistakes cannot be fixed, while others may require additional surgeries to correct.

Any of these errors can result in serious injury to a patient. An existing condition may need to be appropriately treated. The patient may receive treatment for a condition they don’t even have, which can cause harm. New injuries or illnesses may be induced as a result of medical negligence.

How Common is Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s state courts keep track of the number of medical malpractice cases filed in each county and how those cases are resolved. The state also tracks changes in medical malpractice claims filed yearly.

About 1,500 medical malpractice claims are filed in Pennsylvania each year. In 2020, the state saw 27 cases go to trial and receive a jury verdict. In those cases:

  • 63 percent, or just under two-thirds, were decided in favor of the medical provider.
  • 25.9 percent saw the injured person awarded $1,000,000 or less.
  • In two cases, or 7.4 percent of the total, juries awarded the injured person more than $10,000,000 in damages.

Not all medical malpractice claims are tried before a jury. Some cases go to a bench trial, where a judge hears them. In 2020, two medical malpractice claims were resolved in non-jury trials. One was decided in favor of the medical provider, and the other resulted in a damages award for the injured person.

The Medical Malpractice Statistics in Norristown & Montgomery County

Norristown is the county seat of Montgomery County and the home of the county’s courthouse. In Montgomery County, 121 medical malpractice claims were filed in 2020. Only two Pennsylvania counties, Allegheny and Philadelphia, had higher medical malpractice claims that year.

Montgomery County stands out for the sharp increase in medical malpractice claims filed in its county courts. Between 2000 and 2020, Montgomery County medical malpractice claims jumped 450 percent. Only two counties, Washington and Indiana, saw similar increases.

The COVID-19 pandemic sharply reduced the number of medical malpractice cases tried in Montgomery County in 2020. In 2019, Montgomery County courts issued 6+ verdicts in medical malpractice cases. Of these:

  • Five cases were decided in favor of medical providers.
  • One case ended with a jury verdict between $1 million and $5 million.

Most medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania do not go to trial. Instead, these claims are settled outside of court. An experienced Norristown medical malpractice lawyer can help you negotiate with providers and insurers to get the compensation you need. Your lawyer can advise you on whether to accept a settlement, but your decision is yours alone. The case may go to trial if you choose not to accept a payment.

What to Do if You Suspect Medical Malpractice Caused Harm

You must act quickly if you suspect medical malpractice caused harm to you or someone you love. Pennsylvania law sets a two-year limit on filing medical malpractice claims. The claim must be filed within two years of the date on which the alleged malpractice occurred.

In 2019, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the state’s seven-year “statute of repose” was unconstitutional. The statute of repose created a pause button for the two-year time limit on filing medical malpractice claims if the injured person couldn’t have known that medical malpractice caused them to harm within seven years of the injury.

Under the 2019 ruling, the seven-year statute of repose no longer applies. Now, all medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date of the alleged malpractice. If your claim is not filed within two years, the court will likely dismiss the claim. An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Norristown can help you calculate how the two-year statute of limitations applies to your case.

How a Certificate of Merit Plays a Critical Role in Norristown Medical Malpractice Claims

An experienced lawyer can also help you handle other aspects of your claim. For instance, medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania must include a “certificate of merit.” In the certificate of merit, a licensed medical professional must state that the alleged malpractice fell outside the standard of care.

Pennsylvania law allows parties to meet the certificate of merit requirements in several ways. Which approach is best will depend on the facts of your case. Here, an attorney can handle the certificate of merit requirement, allowing you to focus on healing instead of paperwork.

Pennsylvania law does not require an injured person to hire an attorney to file a medical malpractice claim. However, working with an experienced lawyer offers the best chance of a fair outcome in nearly all cases.

Contact MyPhillyLawyer Today

At MyPhillyLawyer, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to serving our clients throughout the greater Philadelphia region, including those in Norristown and Montgomery County. We’re here to answer your questions and help you pursue the compensation you need to move forward with your life. To learn more, contact us today.

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