There are many medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania. From birth injuries to misdiagnoses to failure to diagnose anesthesia administration mistakes, medical malpractice has the capacity to severely impact a person's life. At Gilman & Bedigian, it is our mission to advocate compassionately, aggressively and persistently on your behalf so that you are awarded fair and just compensation, nothing else is acceptable. We understand the pain and suffering our clients endure and are here to provide our experience, our knowledge, and our resources to relieve however we can that pain.
What is an Actionable Medical Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania?
Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania occurs when a doctor or other medical/healthcare profession is negligent or commits medical negligence. Medical negligence is defined as the professional breach or violation of the industry's standard of care. The industry's standard of care is established through the medical community's general acceptance of patient treatment when they are within the same or similar circumstances of other patients. When the standard of care is breached, there must be an injury factually and proximately attached to the breach. If so, then the injury must be accompanied by monetarily quantifiable damages. If all these elements are satisfied, your injury sustained from medical malpractice may be actionable by way of a claim or lawsuit.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date you discover the injury, which was caused by the medical malpractice, or two years from the date a reasonable person would have discovered the injury emanating from the medical malpractice. If you wait one day longer, your claim will likely be dismissed.
A new law, however, adjusts the time period for injuries stemming from medical malpractice incidents that occurred after March 2002. If the medical malpractice incident occurred after March 2002, then you have up to seven years from the date the medically negligent act occurred to file a lawsuit. Thus, if you discover your injury after seven years the medical malpractice incident occurred, you cannot file a lawsuit. In other words, this means is:
- If your injury is a result of a medical malpractice incident taking place before March 2002, you have two years to file a claim or lawsuit, starting from the date you discovered (or the date a reasonable person would have discovered it) the injury stemming from the medical malpractice.
- If your injury is a result of a medical malpractice incident taking place after March 2002, you have seven years from the date of the medical malpractice to discover the injury. Once the injury is discovered within that 7-year period, you have two years from that date of discovery to file a claim. If you do not discover the injury within that 7-year period, you are no longer eligible to file a claim.
This addition to the Statute of Limitations is particularly hard on victims of medical malpractice because it can be years if not a decade before an injury will materialize. Because of the time constraints, it is very important to seek legal assistance as soon as the injury is discovered.
What Damages can you Claim for Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania allows allows several types of damages to victims who prove their case. Available damages include compensatory damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
These damages are also known as economic damages because they already have a price tag attached to them, or, alternatively, the value of the price tag is not difficult to determine.These damages include the actual costs patients either spend or lose, like medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, transportation costs to/from appointments. There is no cap set for economic damages in Pennsylvania, which means the State cannot limit how much compensation you receive.
These damages compensate things that are not easily valued, like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, or other like intangible consequence of the injury. There is no cap set for non-economic damages in Pennsylvania.
These damages are rare but can be applicable in certain egregious circumstances where the negligence was extreme, willful, fraudulent, reckless, or malicious. These damages serve to punish the doctor or healthcare professional, act as a deterrent, and provide extra care to a patient under these special circumstances. If there was no intent to harm, then the State caps punitive damages at 200 percent of economic damages. Additionally, 25 percent of the punitive damage award is allocated to a special fund: MCARE Fund, which serves as a fund to help compensate patients whose claims exceed the medical malpractice insurance coverage of the healthcare provider.
Comprehensive, Resourceful Legal Representation for Medical Malpractice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It can be incredibly difficult to know if you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice. Sometimes the injury can be obvious; other times it may take years to realize what has happened. This is why it is critical to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss what happened to you. At Gilman and Bedigian, we specialize in medical malpractice claims and have a lot of experience helping people in Philadelphia. We work closely in conjunction with our staff physician to give each case the individualized attention it deserves. You are always welcome to give our office a call to discuss your case with no obligation whatsoever.