When to Hire a Bucks County Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Hospitals and clinics are places for healing and recovery, and doctors and nurses act as the protectors of our physical well-being. All too frequently, however, the opposite is true. According to the Institute of Medicine, about 100,000 people die annually from preventable medical errors.
Medical malpractice takes many forms
- A doctor who fails to see a dark mass of cancerous tissue on an X-ray;
- An obstetrician whose botched delivery results from lifelong cerebral palsy; or
- A nurse who gives a patient the incorrect medication, resulting in death
According to the Institute of Medicine, the majority of medical errors go unreported—by both the people who suffer from them and the medical professionals who commit them. Underreporting not only compromises the quality of healthcare but also prevents injured parties from being awarded the financial support they’ll need to live with the often devastating effects of medical errors. A doctor’s mistake can be a severe blow to a patient or the patient’s family, affecting everything from finances to personal well-being.
People who believe they have been a victim of medical malpractice should not feel afraid to speak up and fight for their rights. Because malpractice claims are complex and time-consuming, victims or family members should contact a Bucks County personal injury attorney.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice in Bucks County, PA
Medical malpractice occurs in a variety of situations:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth Injuries resulting from obstetrical negligence
- Failure to diagnose or treat a heart attack
- Aortic dissection
- Errors made during surgeries, including hernia, gallbladder, gastric bypass (bariatric weight loss), and carpal tunnel
- Emergency room mistakes
- Hospital-acquired infections
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
- Radiology mistakes
- Spinal cord injuries due to medical errors
- Uterine ruptures
- Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice is not uncommon during cancer treatments—for example, breast cancer that is missed on mammograms, colon cancer that is missed during a colonoscopy, or cervical cancer that goes undiagnosed on a Pap smear.
Misdiagnoses also occur with cancers of the bladder, lung, and thyroid. Specifically, malpractice occurs when a doctor is negligent in treating a patient who is owed a standard of care. The standard of care is defined as the actions or conduct that another experienced medical professional in the same area would undertake under the same circumstances.
When breaching the standard of care results in harm or injury, a victim can pursue compensable damages. During the settlement process, it’s understandable that a plaintiff would want to know the amount of a compensatory reward. However, every case is unique, and the value of each malpractice claim must be judged on a case-to-case basis with the help of a Bucks County Medical Malpractice lawyer.
Professionals who can be held responsible for medical malpractice include doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, radiology technicians, and physical and occupational therapists. In addition, a hospital or other medical facility can also be deemed responsible for their employees’ medical errors, as well as held responsible for negligent hiring, training, or supervising its medical employees.
Another type of common malpractice involves “informed consent,” which is a patient’s authorization to undergo a specific medical treatment. A medical professional performing the procedure must ensure that the patient (or his or her surrogate) understands the full nature and purpose of the proposed treatment. The patient must also be informed of the benefits and risks of a procedure. Finally, the patient must be allowed to consider alternative treatment options. Only after this can consent be considered informed; without it, any contact by the medical professional is assault.
How to File A Negligence Claim in Bucks County
Medication malpractice lawyers in Bucks County and the state of Pennsylvania are guided by specific rules and regulations. There’s no formula that guides every case because each is different and complex. An experienced lawyer will gather evidence and utilize the testimony of other medical professionals to build solid proof that wrongdoing occurred. The attorney will also make sure to establish the four requirements that show that malpractice has occurred:
- Proving that the doctor being sued is actually the patient’s doctor. (Receiving and acting upon bad advice while talking to a physician in a social setting is not considered malpractice);
- Providing evidence that the doctor made an error that another competent professional—under the same circumstances—would not have made;
- Proving that it is “more likely than not” that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused the patient injury; and
- Showing that actual harm was committed by the doctor or hospital.
A patient who is successful in fulfilling these four points can then sue for damages.
Need Legal Guidance? Contact a Bucks County Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice cases vary in length, which often depends on whether a case is settled out of court or goes to trial. Time and energy are needed to thoroughly investigate a case from every angle.
In addition, in medical malpractice suits, the Pennsylvania statute of limitations must be taken into account. Typically, a victim has two years from the date the error occurred to file a notice, which warns the doctor or hospital of an intent to sue. It’s vital that victims search for a Bucks County medical malpractice attorney near me.
Being a victim of medical malpractice is wrought with despair and confusion. Most attorneys provide a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. While monetary awards can never fully compensate for injuries or loss of life, compensation can help ease a family’s burden and allow members to move forward to a better future. We all want to trust our medical professionals, who are trained to diagnose and treat us until we return to health. But medical professionals can make mistakes that cause us harm. Consulting a medical malpractice lawyer near me will give you peace of mind and establish your case on the right track.