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What is Medical Malpractice?

You cannot file a malpractice lawsuit simply because you were dissatisfied with the medical treatment that you received. Moreover, not all medical mistakes cause injuries, which means that there is no basis for a claim. Instead, medical malpractice occurs when the negligence of a doctor, other medical professionals, or hospital causes a patient’s injury, worsens a patient’s condition, causes unreasonable or unexpected complications, or necessitates additional treatment.

To have a valid malpractice claim, you must be able to show that the doctor or healthcare professional failed to provide the appropriate standard of care and caused you harm. The appropriate standard of care is the type of care that a reasonably skilled physician would provide under the same circumstances. You must also be able to show that the doctor’s negligence or incompetence directly caused your injury and that the injury causes damages.

More precisely, this means that the injury (1) was caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence and (2) resulted in specific damages (e.g. loss of income, disability, pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, future suffering, and hardship) that would otherwise not have occurred had it not been for that negligence.

Finally, a malpractice lawsuit requires filing a certificate of merit (with the complaint) signed by a licensed medical professional to the effect that there is a reasonable probability that your healthcare provider’s conduct fell outside acceptable professional standards and caused your injuries.

Patient holds family member's hand in hospital bed

What is informed consent?

All doctors and healthcare providers in Pennsylvania are legally required to (1) inform patients of the potential risks, benefits and alternatives to any treatment, surgery, or other medical procedure and (2) obtain the patient’s written permission to proceed. This is referred to as “informed consent.” A doctor who fails to obtain a patient’s informed consent and subsequently causes an injury can be held liable for medical malpractice.

Patient consults with doctor
Upward view of hospital building

How long do I have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?

If you were injured because of a medical professional’s negligence, you must file a medical malpractice claim within 2 years from the date of the injury. This period actually begins 2 years from the date you knew or should have known about the injury, but in any case no later than 7 years after the injury occurred.

What kind of damages can I recover?

The following types of damages may be awarded in a successful malpractice lawsuit:

  • Compensatory damages — Intended to compensate medical malpractice victims for monetary losses (e.g. past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other financial losses).
  • Nonmonetary damages — Designed to compensate victims for pain and suffering, loss of use or impairment of a body part, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Doctor reviews brain scan results

Although malpractice cases are complicated, our extensive experience going up against healthcare providers and medical corporations puts us at a distinct advantage inside or outside of the courtroom. We have the skills and resources to engage in intricate settlement negotiations or take a medical malpractice claim to court. Whether through litigation, mediation or arbitration, we bring to bear a proven history of achieving successful outcomes. Regardless of the forum, Cooper Shall and Levy is the informed choice in medical malpractice law.

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Contact Our Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical professional’s negligence, it is crucial to have the aggressive, efficient representation we are prepared to provide. We will take the time to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, we will enlist the services of medical experts to provide testimony and other medical evidence in support of your malpractice claim.

Knowing that being injured as a result of medical negligence is an overwhelming physical, emotional and financial burden, we will work to lift that burden by fighting for your rights. Don’t go up against a healthcare provider and the medical establishment alone. Please contact our office today to learn how we can help.