Going to the doctor is never fun, but when your doctor or other medical professional makes medical mistakes that cause you to harm or make you ill, you have a right to collect damages as a result. Medical malpractice is on the rise; medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Only cancer and heart disease kill more people than the mistakes of the medical professionals we trust with our lives and who are under oath to “do no harm.” From surgical mistakes to failing to diagnose serious illnesses in time for effective treatments to be launched, there are numerous ways that the decisions these medical professionals make each day can end up in worsening or even causing medical harm. If you have been harmed by a medical professional, contact SMT Legal immediately to discuss your case with our medical malpractice lawyers.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, as defined by Pennsylvania malpractice law, occurs when a healthcare professional – including doctors – commits medical negligence. Medical negligence is defined by a breach or violation of the standard of care.
A standard of care refers to medical practices that are generally accepted by a group of medical professionals in a specific area for patients who are diagnosed with a particular illness or disorder. Of course, the standard may change depending on the patient’s medical history and age, along with a number of other factors.
In addition to being responsible for medical negligence, the act of negligence must directly cause the patient’s injuries. Medical negligence alone is not enough for a medical malpractice suit. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you prove that your doctor’s medical negligence directly resulted in your injury. Proving this in court can be difficult, and often involves obtaining input from medical experts. SMT Legal’s Westmoreland County branch offers experienced attorneys who can fight for you in court and are familiar with all that is needed to help you win your medical malpractice case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In the state of Pennsylvania, you have two years to file a claim against a medical provider; however, the two-year countdown does not begin until you discover the injury or have had reasonable time to discover it.
What Compensation Can I Receive?
Under Pennsylvania malpractice law, there are several types of damages you may collect. These include:
- Compensatory damages: Covers actual costs, such as medical bills and lost wages
- Non-economic damages: Covers intangible costs, such as pain and suffering
The state of Pennsylvania has no caps on either of these damages types, meaning that state medical malpractice laws have no limit to how much a court may award you if you win your case.