Anyone who goes to a primary care physician, an urgent care facility, or hospital to receive medical treatment should be able to trust that everyone involved in treating him or her will provide diligent and competent care. While most healthcare providers meet this basic standard without any issue, there are a handful who instead act recklessly or carelessly while treating patients—resulting in sometimes devastating and life-altering injuries.
If negligence by a doctor, nurse, surgeon, specialist, or any other trained medical professional left you seriously ill or injured, you should speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about the possibility of litigation. A Bedford County medical malpractice lawyer could help you demand comprehensive monetary damages from the negligent party.
In the interest of protecting highly valued medical professionals from frivolous litigation, Pennsylvania courts define legally actionable “negligence” differently for doctors and other healthcare practitioners than they do for people who cause injury through other incidents like traffic wrecks. Rather than defining negligence based on a broadly universal “duty of care,” courts hold medical professionals to a “standard of care” that is based on what another physician in that specialty would have done under the same circumstances.
As a well-practiced Bedford County medical negligence attorney could explain, this means that a critical aspect to achieving a successful result from a medical malpractice case is proving not only that a doctor caused harm by doing something careless or reckless—but also that his or her actions were unreasonable by the standards of any doctor dealing with the same situation. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose a cancer, but the symptoms at the time of the exam were such that most other doctors would have handled the situation in the same manner, there may not be negligence – even though the doctor may have handled the situation differently with the benefit of hindsight.
Courts will not just take an injured plaintiff’s word for it that a breach of an applicable standard of care occurred. In accordance with Rule of Civil Procedure 1042.3, a plaintiff must submit a “certificate of merit” within a limited period of time after filing his or her complaint, which must affirm that he or she consulted with an “appropriate licensed professional” who agreed that available evidence indicates a “reasonable probability” that malpractice was the direct and primary cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Furthermore, 42 P.S. § 5524 sets the same two-year filing period for malpractice claims as it does for other forms of personal injury litigation. Anyone who waits longer than two years to file suit will likely be barred from getting any compensation. Enlisting the services of a proactive medical negligence lawyer in Bedford County familiar with the state guidelines could help injured people ensure they do not lose their rights to financial recovery.
Negligence by healthcare providers can cause life-altering trauma that may take months or possibly years to fully manifest. On top of that, filing suit against a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional can be a uniquely complicated and challenging process, especially without guidance from seasoned legal counsel, as it is important to properly identify and sue the correct corporate entities – such as the doctor’s practice group or employer. This can take time and use of the discovery process once a lawsuit is filed, so it is important to start early.
Fortunately, the assistance you may need is available from a skilled Bedford County medical malpractice lawyer at Marcus & Mack. Call today for an initial consultation.
Marcus & Mack