Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Doctors take a solemn pledge to help and protect their patients. Yet each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are harmed by a serious medical error. Some of these errors are the fault of the doctor, while others are the fault of a nurse, a staff member, or a medical facility.
Doctors should be healers and hospitals should be places of healing. If you or a loved one has become injured or ill due to the negligence of a medical professional or medical facility, the time to act is now.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey H. Penneys, I devote a large portion of my legal practice to helping the victims of medical malpractice. My legal team and I work our hardest to investigate claims and pursue compensation, whether through private settlements or through litigation.
Common Types of Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice
There are literally thousands of different types of medical malpractice. However, some are more common than others. I have experience with a wide range of claims and lawsuits, including:
- Hospital errors.
- Pharmacy and medication errors.
- Birth injuries.
- Surgical errors.
- Testing errors.
- Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis.
- Monitoring mistakes.
- Failure to treat.
- Failure to refer to a specialist.
- Anesthesia errors.
- Defective medical devices.
- Wrongful death due to medical malpractice.
Note that there are many more kinds and subsets of medical malpractice than those listed above. If you believe that any medical professional or organization did not provide you with appropriate care, and that your treatment left you injured, you should speak with a PA medical malpractice attorney today.
You May Have a Case Even if You Signed a Medical Consent Form
Many patients and their families are under the wrong impression that when you sign a medical consent form, you sign away your rights to pursue a medical malpractice claim. However, this is not at all the case.
A medical consent form simply outlines the possible risks and complications of your procedure or treatment. When you sign the form, you acknowledge that you understand these risks. A medical consent form does not give a doctor or hospital an excuse to act negligently or to ignore the accepted standard of care.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitation in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a medical malpractice claim. If you were a minor at the time of your injury, you have two years from the date of your 18th birthday to file a claim.
However, if you did not discover the cause of your injury right away, which sometimes happens in the case of medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of your discovery to file your case. This may happen if, for instance, you discover than an object was left behind during a previous surgery and that the object was causing you pain and health complications.
Of all the causes of personal injury, medical malpractice is perhaps the most frightening. Doctors wield god-like powers over us, and unfortunately there is not one of us who will not need a doctor at some point in our lives. It is important to realize that not all medical mistakes amount to malpractice. If the mistake is a mistake that most doctors would have made, it is not considered malpractice.
Despite this, in some specialties such as neurosurgery and cardiovascular surgery, nearly 20 percent of doctors face at least one malpractice claim in any given year. When you consider the fact that it is often rather difficult to trace a physical malady to medical malpractice, 20 percent is a downright disturbing statistic that can send shivers up the spine.
Medical Malpractice Claims Are Complex
Tracing an injury or illness to an error committed by a health care provider can involve complex scientific reasoning, and proving that the error amounted to malpractice under the circumstances can get even more complex. Expert medical testimony is often required to prove your case, and medical defendants have a reputation for fighting like tigers when they feel that their professional reputation is on the line.
In a nutshell, a medical malpractice claim is no occasion to attempt to represent yourself or to hire inexperienced counsel. My name is Jeffrey H. Penneys, and after two decades of practice in personal injury law (including many medical malpractice cases), I stand ready and able to help you hold negligent health care providers responsible for the harm they have done to you.
My Medical Treatment Access Guarantee
“I will make sure you obtain the medical treatment you require for your injuries, without you being obligated to pay your medical bills until after your injury claim has been resolved.” – Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq.
Types of Personal Injury Cases I Handle
I handle the following types of personal injury cases, among others:
Car Accidents: When you are the victim of a car accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, you usually end up having to negotiate a third-party claim with the other driver’s liability insurance carrier. The interests of these insurance companies are the opposite of yours, and they tend to be quite skilled negotiators.
Bicycle Accidents: Bicycle accidents produce some of the most devastating of all injuries, because of the bicycle rider’s lack of frame protection. In most cases, these accidents are the fault of the motorist due to failure to spot the bicyclist, failure to yield, texting and driving, or speeding. Establishing liability, however, is easier said than done.
Truck Accidents: Truck accidents commonly result in catastrophic injuries and long-term disability. Two factors are particularly important when pursuing a commercial truck accident claim: (i) discovering whether the accident resulted from a regulatory violation by the truck driver, and (ii) investigating the liability of the trucking company as a second defendant.
Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcyclists, like bicyclists, place themselves at risk every time they enter traffic, because of the lack of frame protection available to a motorcycle rider. Motorcycle accidents tend to be even more serious than bicycle accidents, because they typically occur at much higher speeds.
SEPTA Accidents: The Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority operates public transportation in Philadelphia. Although its overall safety record is reasonably good, the total number of accidents is high due to the sheer volume of people that ride its buses, trains, and trolleys every day. Negligence is usually a factor in these accidents.
Slip and Fall Accidents: A collapsing handrail, a wet floor, or an unexpectedly uneven surface can result in a slip and fall accident with catastrophic consequences, especially for elderly people with brittle bones. The owners or occupiers of public establishments and even private homes are responsible for ensuring the safety of their premises for guests.
Dog Bites: Under Pennsylvania dog bite law, you don’t even have to prove negligence to hold a dog owner liable for injuries caused by the dog. Furthermore, homeowner’s insurance policies usually cover dog bite claims. Insurance companies, however, can be stubborn negotiators unless they are faced with the realistic possibility of a successful lawsuit against them.
Wrongful Death: A death caused by negligent, reckless, or even intentional misconduct is a senseless tragedy that results not only in untold grief, but in financial difficulties. In Pennsylvania, the personal representative of the victim’s estate – and sometimes the victim’s estate beneficiaries – are entitled to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is contributory negligence?
Contributory negligence occurs when the patient’s own negligence is partially responsible for the harm done to him or her. Defendants use charges of contributory negligence to reduce or even extinguish a medical malpractice claim. An example of contributory negligence would be failure to consult a specialist when advised to do so by your doctor, if that failure contributed to the harm you are complaining of.
What are some of the most common forms of medical malpractice?
Although there are a virtually unlimited number of potential causes of medical malpractice, below are some of the most common:
- Failure to diagnose
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Misreading lab results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Lack of informed consent
Should I settle or go to court?
Most personal injury cases are resolved at the settlement table, not in court. Even when a lawsuit is filed, it is still possible to reach settlement any time before a final judgment is issued, and that is usually what happens.
Who can I sue?
You can sue any “heath care provider” who is responsible for the harm done to you, including (among others):
- Medical technicians
Is there a medical malpractice statute of limitations?
Yes. Generally, you have two years after the date of the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the complainant is a minor, the two-year period doesn’t start to run until he or she turns 18. If the injury is not immediately obvious, you have two years from the date when you discovered or should have discovered the injury.
Are there any statutory limits on how much I can recover?
You can recover an amount equal to the seriousness of the harm done to you, no matter how much it is. One major exception is that if you sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you are limited to $250,000 per victim.
What is a “Functional Capacity Evaluation?”
A Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE, is a medical evaluation designed to measure the degree to which you are able to perform tasks necessary for your employment. An FCE can be important evidence if you are claiming that your injury prevents you from returning to your previous profession.
What are the elements of a valid medical malpractice claim?
To win a medical malpractice claim, you must prove:
- A doctor/patient relationship;
- Your health care provider failed to meet the applicable professional standard of care, through act or omission;
- Your health care provider’s failure to meet the standard of care injured you; and
- Your injury caused you damages.
What is “informed consent?”
Informed consent exists when your health care provider fully informs you of the risks and benefits of a particular treatment, and you consent to the treatment with the knowledge of these risks and benefits. Failure to obtain informed consent can trigger a medical malpractice claim.
What is a “preponderance of the evidence,” and how will it affect my case?
The “preponderance of evidence” determines how convincing your evidence must be in order to win your case. Its approximate meaning is “more likely than not” – if you can prove that each element of your claim was more likely than not to be present, you should win your case.
At my office, you only pay if you win
Medical malpractice cases often involve complex claims that require thorough investigation. It would be a shame if injured people of limited means were forced to “sit on their rights” simply because they could not afford to pay a medical malpractice lawyer. Fortunately, that is not a difficulty that my medical malpractice clients face.
Because the vast majority of my personal injury clients walk away with compensation for their injuries, I can afford to charge on a “contingency fee” basis – if you don’t receive compensation for your claim, you will owe me nothing for my services. If you do receive compensation, what you will owe me will be proportionate to the amount of compensation you received. That means I only win if you do.
Get the Ball Rolling
Your medical malpractice claim may have been dismissed by your health care provider, or you may have been offered a miniscule sum in the hopes that you will take the money and just go away. You can expect this kind of treatment whenever you are not represented by competent counsel.
If you believe that you might be the victim of medical malpractice in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss your case and examine your options. I can be reached online or by telephone at 1-800-465-8795 or 215-771-0430 (cell). Contact me today to schedule your free, no-obligation initial case consultation.