Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional is negligent in providing medical treatment to an individual in his or her care. With any claim of negligence, as a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia will explain, the duty owed to the injured party by the individual who caused the injury is a critical factor. In medical malpractice cases, the duty is called the standard of care.
The Standard of Care
Your medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia will explain that the standard of care is not an absolute; that is, it is more of a variable, dependent on a number of factors. Simply defined, a standard of care is:
- The generally accepted medical practices,
- Employed by the medical professionals,
- To treat patients suffering from similar disorders,
- In a specific geographic area.
However, even if your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia can establish a deviation from the standard of care, that does not prove malpractice.
Not every negative reaction or symptom after a medical treatment can be causally linked to that treatment. A medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia will need to retain an expert witness knowledgeable about the treatment provided who can testify that the symptoms the injured person is experiencing were likely directly caused by the deviation from the standard of care.
Statute of Limitations
No matter the merits of the case, every medical malpractice claim must be filed in a timely manner; otherwise, the injured party may lose all legal rights to compensation. Under Pennsylvania law, that time limit is two years. Importantly, as a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia will tell you, the two years begins when the injured person became aware of the symptoms, or reasonably should have become aware.
The final element of a medical malpractice claims is damages. The injured person must have suffered some loss that he or she is seeking compensation for. Among the damages a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia can potentially recover include:
- Compensatory damages: Money for lost wages, past and future; money for past and future medical expenses; cost of funeral expenses.
- Non-economic damages: Money for pain and suffering, loss of guidance and companionship, etc.
- Punitive damages
A medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia can best explain the differences.
Seek the Legal Advice of a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Philadelphia
Medical malpractice cases are complex, and medical professionals and their insurance companies vigorously defend such cases. You need knowledge and experience in your corner. Contact Gerard G. Bernhardt, Jr., a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia, at 1650 Market St. Suite 5500, Philadelphia, PA 19103, phone/215-854-0315 or fax/215-854-0083.