People who are injured because of someone else’s negligence have the right to pursue damages from the wrongful party. A patient who is hurt due to a medical professional’s negligent conduct can sue the professional for compensation as well. These two areas of law – personal injury and medical malpractice – help ensure that residents of Delaware County aren’t stuck paying expenses caused by someone else’s irresponsible behavior.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury, or you’re the victim of medical malpractice, you do have legal options. Call the experienced team at Cooper Schall & Levy today to learn more.
What Is Personal Injury?
In Delaware County, personal injury is a legal cause of action that allows individuals who have been hurt because of another party’s negligence to demand monetary compensation. The other party might be another person, a company, a government agency, or some other entity. There are numerous types of personal injuries that could give rise to one of these lawsuits. For example, a victim who has suffered the following may want to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Dog bites
- Psychological, mental, or emotional damage
Personal injury law covers these and other injuries that result from accidents involving:
- Motor vehicles, motorcycles, and trucks
- Pedestrians and bicyclists
- Construction sites
- Slips and falls
- Vicious dog attacks
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Product liability (dangerous and defective consumer products)
- Premises liability (for accidents that occur on someone else’s property)
- Railroad work
- Airplane accidents
The core of a personal injury lawsuit is negligence, which refers to an act or omission that is irresponsible or reckless. Another way of describing negligence is failure to abide by a certain standard of care, which thereby causes injury. A Delaware County victim of personal injury must prove four elements in court to prevail against the negligent party:
Duty of care. The victim must show that the wrongful party owed a duty of care to him or her. As an example, when you operate a motor vehicle, you owe all the other drivers around you a duty to drive safely.
Breach. A breach means that, by some act or omission, the wrongful party violated the duty of care. Using the motor vehicle example, driving drunk or speeding could be considered a breach.
Cause. The victim has to show that the breach directly caused him or her injury. If it can be shown that some other individual or event was responsible for the victim’s injuries, this element will likely fail.
Damages. Damages is a term that refers to the harm the victim suffered, which includes economic losses (which are fairly easy to calculate, e.g. medical bills) and non-economic losses (which are more difficult to quantify, like pain and suffering). The victim will demand compensation from the wrongful party for these damages.
What If The Victim Dies From His Or Her Injuries In Delaware County?
In the event the victim is killed because of another party’s negligence, certain eligible survivors can maintain what is called a wrongful death action. A related lawsuit is known as a survival action. Together, these legal claims are designed to compensate the deceased victim’s survivors – usually the spouse, children, and/or parents – for expenses and losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Final expenses (e.g. funeral costs)
- Income the victim would have earned had he or she lived
- The monetary value of family services, society, and comfort
Our firm represents surviving family members in these two causes of action.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are expected to conduct their work according to certain accepted standards of care. Medical malpractice occurs when one of those parties deviates from such standards, thereby causing injury to a patient. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be maintained against both individual healthcare professionals and facilities such as a hospital.
It’s a common misunderstanding that any type of error a doctor or hospital makes can support a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, doctors and other medical professionals are not perfect. The law does not require them to never make a mistake. To prove medical malpractice, the error must fall short of accepted standards of care. In other words, it must be unreasonable in light of the circumstances. Examples might include:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Childbirth errors
- Prescription medication errors
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
To prove medical malpractice in Delaware County, a patient must show the following:
Duty of care. The doctor, hospital, or other person or entity must have had a responsibility to care for the patient. This typically arises from the doctor-patient relationship.
Breach. Due to a negligent act or omission, the wrongful party must have violated the duty. Failure to order lab tests or mixing up patient records might be examples of such an act or omission.
Cause. The breach must cause direct harm to the patient or must increase the risk of harm to the patient.
Damages. The patient must show some type of economic or non-economic loss, like having to pay medical bills to correct surgical errors or pain and suffering.
If a doctor, hospital, or another professional made a mistake and injured you or a loved one, we can help determine whether you have a medical malpractice case.
Contact Our Delaware County Personal Injury And Medical Malpractice Attorneys
No one should have to worry that another person will cause them or a family member harm or even death because of negligent conduct. Personal injury and medical malpractice cases allow victims and patients the right to seek justice and win compensation for the losses they’ve suffered. However, you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim, so don’t delay taking action. Call Cooper Schall & Levy now.