Thousands of medical procedures occur in Pennsylvania each year, most of which proceed without incident. However, injuries sustained as a result of a missed diagnosis or failed medical procedure can and do occur.
If a medical professional failed to provide you with the proper standard of care, a seasoned Johnstown personal injury attorney could help you recover compensation for your injuries. Talking with a Johnstown medical malpractice lawyer could be a key step in the process of pursuing financial compensation.
Proving Medical Negligence
Healthcare providers must meet the standard of care when treating their patients. The standard of care owed to a patient is that which is generally accepted by other medical professionals in the same geographical area for the same condition. To recover monetary damages, a plaintiff must prove that a healthcare professional breached that standard of care.
Actionable examples of medical negligence may include failing to diagnose a condition, improper treatment methods, or failing to warn of risks involved in a treatment or procedure. To establish that a healthcare provider’s negligence was the source of a plaintiff’s catastrophic injury, a medical malpractice lawyer in Johnstown needs to prove:
- There existed a legal duty, through a patient/provider relationship
- The medical standard of care was not met
- The provider’s recklessness or carelessness was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries
- The plaintiff sustained compensable damages
Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
If a plaintiff can establish that a negligent act caused an injury, there may be several types of compensation available. Economic damages, which cover monetary losses related to an injury, may include:
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
Non-economic damages account for the emotional and physical suffering of the plaintiff. These damages may include loss of companionship or a decreased quality of life, the inability to engage in activities, and diminished use of body parts. A seasoned lawyer could help prove a Johnstown plaintiff’s non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim.
Statute of Limitations and Damage Caps in Johnstown
Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations, which limits the amount of time in which an injured person can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. A plaintiff has two years from the day the medical malpractice took place to file suit. There are certain exceptions to this two-year period, such as cases in which the injuries were not reasonably detectable until after the statutory deadline passed. A well-versed personal injury lawyer could help an injured victim with filing a claim promptly.
Additionally, some claims give rise to punitive damages in the event of reckless conduct. Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages, in that punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and discourage future misconduct. Pennsylvania state law limits the number of punitive damages a plaintiff may receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit. While there is no cap on compensatory damages – such as for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills, punitive damages are limited to two times the actual damages sustained from the injury, and 25% of the punitive damages award must be paid to the state MCARE fund.
Call a Johnstown Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
A problem with a medical procedure may not be immediately apparent. Complications may not present themselves until weeks, months, or even years after the procedure.
Due to the time limitations set for in Pennsylvania for filing a claim, though, it may be important to speak with a Johnstown medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect something went wrong. Contact us at Marcus & Mack today to start exploring your options.