HELPING VICTIMS OF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
OUR FIRM HAS WON
TENS OF MILLIONS
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Fighting for Victims of Medical Negligence & Hospital Malpractice
You should be able to trust your doctor, medical providers, and medical facilities to take care of you. When there is a poor outcome, that does not necessarily mean the medical provider or medical facility committed medical malpractice. Unfortunately, doctors are unable to control everything; however, if a doctor or facility is negligent or breaches the duty of care to the patient, that patient has the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The signs of medical malpractice are subtle, and evidence of such mistakes is usually found in the smallest details. For instance, the time that elapses between a patient’s symptom and a nurse’s response could indicate malpractice—or the volume of medication given to you by the hospital’s pharmacist. That’s why hospital administration experts and practicing physicians are called upon to testify in many of these cases. You are simply not trained to recognize the signs of malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a medical provider's negligence hurts a patient. Birth injuries, surgical errors, wrong prescriptions, and even slips and falls in the hospital are all a result of a medical provider's lack of vigilance and care.
What's worse is that the majority of medical errors are never reported to the patients.
Instead, doctors and nurses continue their treatment as though nothing has occurred. As long as you're "fine," they don't see the need to report their error. However, that means when patients suffer from medical malpractice, they're never aware of it. To them, it appears as though their body has betrayed them—and they place their trust in the people who hurt them. No matter what your provider says, if you were left off worse in a doctor's care or after a hospital visit, it may have been due to medical negligence. Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys have won millions of dollars in claims against hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other medical providers.
Types of Medical Malpractice
If a physician makes a mistake during surgery, you may have a medical malpractice claim. However, doctors are not the only source of surgical errors. The hospital and other staff members can make mistakes before, during, and after surgery. When you are injured by a mistake or negligence, you need to hold the party who caused your injury accountable for his or her actions. For example, if the surgeon mistaken operates on the wrong arm or the hospital staff fails to provide the proper care in post-op, you should contact our office immediately.
Misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose is a common form of medical malpractice. When a medical provider fails to diagnose your condition properly, you can suffer severe injuries and permanent damage. Some doctors fail to diagnose conditions because they dismiss the patient's complaints while others simply do not administer the necessary tests to determine what is making their patient ill.
Prescribing the wrong medication can have serious and life-threatening complications. Likewise, prescribing medication when it is not needed can also have the same results. Doctors are not the only parties who can be guilty of medical malpractice regarding medications. The pharmacy staff may give you the wrong medication or print incorrect dosage information. Hospital staff may give you the wrong medication or dose even though your physician made careful notes with regard to your medication.
Failure to Respond
Doctors and nurses are trained to recognize the symptoms of conditions that require immediate action. For example, the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack must be dealt with within minutes, or else the patient may suffer severe and permanent damage. The omission of action is as dangerous and negligent as taking the wrong action.
Perinatal or Postnatal Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are one of the most tragic forms of medical malpractice. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, severe brain damage, paralysis, and life-altering injuries can result from only a few minutes of failing to act. Hospitals, nurses, doctors, and midwives may all be potential defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit if they fail to provide adequate care to the mother and the child.
The Likelihood That You Were Injured by a Doctor or Nurse
According to a report from the Center for Justice and Democracy, between 25,000 and 120,000 people die from medical negligence every year. That number still doesn't account for the hundreds of thousands of people who are non-fatally injured every year by medical malpractice. Experts believe that as many as 1 in 100 hospital patients become victims of malpractice. These are only the injuries that are recorded; the numbers suggest that for every reported instance of medical negligence, there are four errors that go unreported.
If you left a hospital or doctor's office in poorer health than when you arrived, evidence suggests that you were not only a potential victim of medical malpractice, but your doctor might have concealed his or her mistake from you. Sadly, it is virtually impossible for patients to prove that their doctors acted negligently; state medical boards protect a doctor's right to exercise discretion, even when it ends poorly. The only way patients can hold negligent doctors accountable is through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers at our firm work with medical experts and hospital administrators to examine your case from every angle, spotting the discrepancies and poor choices that are hallmarks of negligence. Our firm has taken on some of the largest and most well-known hospitals in the state, holding them accountable for harmful practices that resulted in birth injuries, surgical errors, and serious harm. Our resources and experience have helped our clients get justice, no matter how long it took.
What Is Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice?
A statute of limitations is a law that defines the specific length of time you have to file a particular lawsuit. In the case of a medical malpractice lawsuit, the Pennsylvania statute of limitations states you have two years from the date you discovered the medical malpractice or you should have reasonably discovered the malpractice. This is referred to as the Discovery Rule.
Because the time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit does not begin until you discover the injury or you should have discovered the injury, your time to file a lawsuit may be longer than two years from the date of injury. It is crucial you calculate this time correctly because you could lose your right to file a lawsuit if the deadline is incorrectly calculated. That is where our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help.
There are exceptions to the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The MCARE Act of Pennsylvania contains a Statute of Repose. The Statute of Repose limits your time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seven years from the date of the medical malpractice. Even if you do not discover the negligent act until after the seven years, you will not be permitted to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to the seven-year rule that may apply in your case; therefore, you should contact our office to discuss the specifics of your medical malpractice claim.
Another exception to the statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is the Minors Tolling Statute. According to the Pennsylvania Minors Tolling Statute, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within seven years from the date of the malpractice or must be filed before the child turns 20, whichever date is later.
Are There Damage Caps for Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that there are damage caps, but they're limited in scope. The key to understanding medical malpractice damage caps in Pennsylvania is understanding the different types of damages.
Damages can be divided into three different categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages refer to losses that can be measured in dollars: the cost of medical care, the cost of home renovations to accommodate a permanent injury, the cost of lost wages due to hospitalization, and other financial losses caused by the accident. Economic damages are also called "special" damages.
Non-economic damages refers to losses that can't be measured in dollars but still represent actual damages. Non-economic damages seek compensation for things like loss of comfort, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment, and other losses in quality of life. These are also called "general" damages.
Punitive damages are the rarest form of compensation and are only granted by the court in special cases. The express purpose of punitive damages is (as the name implies) to punish negligent entities for their role in causing harm. As a result, punitive damages are usually only awarded in situations where the defendant caused fatal harm or exhibited egregious negligence.
How Are Damages Capped in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Under Pennsylvania law, only punitive damages are capped in medical malpractice cases. The upper limit of punitive damages is at two times the amount of actual damages. There is no cap for economic or non-economic damages, which is the vast majority of a plaintiff's compensation. In fact, punitive damages are exceedingly rare when it comes to malpractice cases, so the damage cap doesn't affect most cases anyway.
Why Injured & Wronged Patients Rely on HHR
Medical malpractice cases take incredible resources to investigate and investments of time to litigate. Other law firms might turn your case away, or worse, devote only a few resources to it, wasting your time while giving the hospital time to prepare their case against you. That's why patients call Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC. Our firm has been here since 1922. We have the resources, time, and experience to get patients back on their feet while investigating exactly what caused their medical situation. By working with veteran hospital administrators and medical experts, we can pinpoint exactly what went wrong with your care—and how your wrongdoer needs to make up for it. Don't let insurers and collectors wear you down. Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys are here to help you get your life back.
Handler, Henning & Rosenberg has always been a family business. It's been 100 years, and if we look into the future another 100 years, we still see our family helping yours. We've been around for this long for a reason: we care about our clients and our communities, and every person at our firm does everything we can to help every client we represent.