If you believe you are a victim of negligent medical care, you might find comfort in knowing that the civil justice system of Pennsylvania allows you to pursue financial relief under medical malpractice law. Substandard treatment that causes injury, harm or death might be grounds for such a lawsuit. For a medical malpractice claim, there must be evidence of negligence, which typically involves medical errors in diagnosis, treatment, health management, medication dosages or aftercare.
Medical professionals are not always responsible for the negligence, error or omission, and the negligent party could be the medical facility or another health care provider. Any health provider who deviates from the expected standard of care in similar circumstances could be liable for damages.
What makes a medical malpractice claim viable?
The following factors must be present to make a viable medical malpractice claim:
- Standard of care: By law, health care professionals must adhere to a certain standard of care. The failure to uphold that standard creates a potential for accusations of negligence.
- Resulting injury or harm: Negligence that does not cause harm does not constitute malpractice. You must prove that medical negligence caused you harm and that there would be no injury had there been no negligence.
- Subsequent damage: Along with these factors, you must show that the medical negligence caused significant damage. Damage is considerable if it includes suffering, constant pain, disability, enduring hardship or a substantial income loss.
Errors or negligence that could constitute a viable lawsuit
If you are dissatisfied with the medical treatment or its outcome, without any of the above factors evident, you likely will not have a viable medical malpractice claim. The following are typical causes for claims of medical negligence:
- Failure to order tests: In most cases, proper diagnosis needs the information obtained from tests. Failure to request the necessary tests, or misinterpretation of test result could have devastating consequences.
- Diagnostic errors: This could include the failure to diagnose an illness or condition, or a misdiagnosis that leads to treating the wrong condition.
- Medication errors: The wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the correct medication can be deadly.
- Surgical errors: This could include unnecessary surgery or a procedure on the wrong body part. Another surgical error can involve leaving something inside the body of the patient after a surgical procedure.
- After care: Discharging a patient prematurely and the failure to follow up can leave the patient with persistent or chronic pain after surgery.
- Infections and bedsores: Negligent patient care can result in bedsores or pressure ulcers and infections that could be fatal.
Who will advocate for you?
Having to deal with the complex legalities of medical malpractice is not a battle to fight without legal support and guidance. A Pennsylvania attorney with experience in this complicated field of the law can assess the circumstances to determine the viability of your claim. If sufficient grounds exist, a lawyer can work to do what is necessary for the pursuit of recovery of the financial and emotional damages you suffered.