When a patient in a Philadelphia hospital suffers complications or unexpected injuries, it can be difficult to know where to go for answers. It can be impossible to get ahold of someone at the hospital. You may not even trust going back to them after what they did. Any state or county agency may not give you much information and they will tell you they can’t give you any legal advice.
Sometimes, the strongest advocate for victims of medical mistakes is a medical malpractice lawyer. The job of your lawyer is to advocate for you, to get you the best results. Your lawyer doesn’t work for the hospital and they don’t work for the insurance company. Lawyers have a legal and ethical obligation to their clients, to get the best possible outcome.
After hearing nothing from the hospital, as soon as you have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side, the hospital will take notice. A malpractice claim can help you recover money for your injuries and hold the medical team accountable for what they did. Talk to an experienced legal team to understand your options and how you can recover the most compensation in your case. Contact an experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice law firm for help.
Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Philadelphia
Where do you start when trying to find the right medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia? Look for a law firm with experience handling cases in the more than a dozen general hospitals, rehabilitative hospitals, and children’s hospitals in the Philadelphia area, including:
- Chestnut Hill Hospital
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
- Jefferson Frankford Hospital
- Kindred Hospital
- Nazareth Hospital
- Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
- Pennsylvania Hospital
- Roxborough Memorial Hospital
- St. Christopher Hospital for Children
- Temple University Hospital
- Temple University Children’s Medical Center
- Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
There are always ads on TV, buses, and billboards but you usually ignore these because you never thought you’d need them. Besides, how do you know if the people on TV are the right ones for you?
The go-to place for most people now is to search Google. If you search “medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia,” you will literally get millions of results. How do you know if result #1 is better than result #1,001? You don’t. Google search is all based on algorithms and the tech companies are very secretive about how they filter search results.
Not surprisingly, the first few results say “Sponsored” above them, which means these companies are paying Google for ad placement. So the first results you see on the page paid to be there. These sponsored results may not even be in your area or even in your state. They may be law firms that hardly do any medical malpractice but it is a way to get you to click on their link.
How Can I Find Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers
When you want to contact a medical malpractice lawyer, how do you find a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia:
- Who handles medical malpractice cases just like yours?
- With a strong reputation in the legal community?
- With extensive trial experience?
- Who is familiar with local court rules and standards?
- With a commitment to clients?
- With a proven track record of success?
Here are some search options to find a lawyer that doesn’t rely on just random internet searches.
- Talk to family, friends, or co-workers
- Check the Pennsylvania or local bar association
- Search online directories for lawyers
- Contacting the law firm for a free consultation
Family and Friend Recommendations
Even if you don’t think you know anyone who had experience with a medical malpractice case, they may have a friend or family member with real-life experience. As long as you are comfortable talking about it, ask friends, co-workers, or family members if they ever dealt with a malpractice claim or if they know someone who did.
You can ask about their experience. Did they have a good experience working with a certain law firm? Even if they don’t have someone they can recommend, you may be able to find out who you should NOT call. Since most people never have to go through the pain and suffering of a medical malpractice case, you may not find anyone with much first-hand experience.
Local Bar Association Search for Attorneys
The bar association is the state professional association of lawyers. Every state has a bar association and some counties or cities also have their own bar association. Many of these groups have lawyer referrals. However, it is important to understand that these are not recommendations or guarantees. As the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s “Find a Lawyer” page says:
“The PBA’s Lawyer Referral Service staff members are not attorneys and cannot provide you with any legal advice. Lawyers who volunteer to participate in the referral service must be in active legal practice, have professional liability insurance and are not the subject of formal disciplinary action; these attorneys are not screened by PBA staff.”
So, make sure you do your own research before using a lawyer you find on the “find a lawyer” page.
How Much Does Experience Matter in Medical Malpractice Cases?
When you are looking for lawyers, it can be difficult to know how much experience they have, especially if they have a website that shows they do car accidents, real estate, trusts and estates, and medical malpractice. Any lawyer who is licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is legally qualified to do any legal work, from public defender to real estate closings. However, you may think twice about having a family-friend lawyer who does HOA disputes take on your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Of all the areas of personal injury law, one of the most complex and detail-oriented is medical malpractice.
There are several reasons why experience matters in medical malpractice lawsuits:
- Medical malpractice is a unique legal practice area
- Experience can make a difference if your case gets thrown out before your day in court
- Experience can make a difference in how much you receive for damages
- The law firm’s reputation can go a long way to building a strong case
Medical Malpractice Are Some of the Most Complex Personal Injury Cases
Medical malpractice is not like other injury claims. Here are just a few examples of how it is different, can take much more time and resources, and why you may want to find someone with experience who can help you get what you deserve.
- Additional pleading requirements
- Extensive discovery and medical records
- Use of medical experts
- Multiple defendants and insurance companies
- High possible jury awards
How Much Does Reputation Matter?
The legal reputation of your law firm can go a long way in your malpractice case. When the hospital or their insurance company sees a name like Gilman & Bedigian on a demand letter, email, or memo, they understand who they are dealing with.
It takes time and results to build a strong reputation in the legal community. This means the law firm and its trial attorneys have had a record of success in handling claims and getting justice for their clients. It is not only the healthcare companies who respect a strong reputation, but it is also other lawyers, judges, and claims representatives. You can take advantage of your law firm’s reputation to help you quickly settle your claim for the compensation you deserve.
How Do I Know If I Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
At this point, you may still not be sure that your injuries were caused by malpractice. You don’t have to be sure. That is why experienced medical malpractice teams have medical experts they rely on to review medical injury claims. The Pennsylvania courts generally require a medical expert to review a malpractice claim before it can go forward.
Under Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice happens when a doctor deviates from the medical standards of care and causes injury and harm to the patient. Your medical malpractice team can review your claim, identify any possible malpractice, and help you understand your legal options to recover compensation.
How Much Can I Recover for Medical Bills and Injuries?
Medical malpractice is known as a “tort” or a civil wrong. These legal claims go back hundreds of years before the U.S. even became a country. In U.S. civil law, an injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages from the person who negligently caused their injuries.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient can get financial compensation for their losses. A lawsuit may never be able to take away the pain, erase the scars, or remove the permanent injuries. However, compensatory damages are supposed to put you in a similar position you would have been in but-for the negligent care.
Damages in a medical malpractice claim are financial damages. This is to compensate you financially for any losses. This includes both economic and non-economic damages. Examples of common damages in a medical malpractice claim include:
- Medical bills
- Future healthcare needs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Pain and suffering
The amount of damages depends on the extent of your injuries. For example, a temporary injury that required a few days off of work, a couple of days in the hospital, and full recovery within a week may amount to a few thousand dollars. (However, in reality, it could be much more considering how expensive healthcare has become, with an average overnight hospital stay costing over $14,000 in 2019).
In contrast, a permanent birth injury is something the child and family will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Severe birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, may end up costing millions in care over the child’s lifetime. If the birth injury was caused by the doctor’s improper delivery techniques, the doctor should be held accountable for the damages.
Malpractice Claims Can Make the Doctor Answer for Their Actions
One of the most frustrating parts about dealing with medical mistakes is that the doctor and hospital won’t take responsibility for their actions. Even if you don’t want to file a lawsuit, you may be left with no other option. There is research showing that hospitals that take an open and honest approach to medical mistakes have fewer malpractice claims.
If you call up your doctor’s office and have questions about something that went wrong, you may get the cold shoulder or the doctor may try to deny any responsibility for the injuries. You just want answers, not to blame, but the doctor’s reaction makes you think they knew they did something wrong and aren’t being honest with you. This follows the traditional medical system response to medical errors: deny and defend!
According to a study by the University of Michigan, communicating errors with the patient and cooperation in addressing those injuries reduced medical malpractice lawsuits and lowered the costs of malpractice litigation. The U.S. government Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends medical providers engage in communication after medical errors.
The more patient-safety-oriented approach is known as CANDOR. “Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) is a process that health care institutions and practitioners can use to respond in a timely, thorough, and just way when unexpected events cause patient harm.”
According to Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority, the benefits of the CANDOR system to improve patient safety are being spread to Pennsylvania healthcare facilities. “Disclosure is a process, not a one-time event.”
Ideally, your doctor and hospital will follow the CANDOR approach after a medical injury, to:
- Identify the medical error
- Respond to the mistake and communicate with the patient what happened
- Investigate what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again
- Work with the patient to resolve the injuries or damages
Old systems die hard, especially in hospital care. If your doctor doesn’t do the right thing, a notice from a medical malpractice attorney will surely put them on notice. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the discovery process requires the doctor to respond to questions, answer in a deposition to say what happened, and have their actions reviewed by a medical expert. In the end, a jury of your peers will get to say whether the doctor made a mistake and how much you deserve for your medical injuries.
Free Consultation With Experienced Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The benefit of a free consultation is that you have nothing to lose. A free consultation is free. No strings attached. It is a chance for you to get an idea about the law firm, and the law firm to see how they can help you recover damages in a malpractice claim. There is no obligation to hire an attorney and you should take the opportunity to ask the questions you have to make sure they are the right attorney for you.
If you get a good feeling and are confident they have the experience, reputation, and commitment to your medical injury case, then you can get started on your malpractice claim. Contact experienced trial attorneys who have successfully represented medical malpractice victims in Philadelphia and across the country. Call a malpractice lawyer to find out more about your medical injury case and how much you can recover in compensation. For a free consultation, contact Gilman & Bedigian online or at 800-529-6162.