While it is rare for a healthcare professional to intentionally cause harm to a patient, dangerous medical mistakes can happen and cause severe damage. A doctor who fails to follow the standard of care demanded by his or her field of practice may put patients at risk of serious and sometimes even fatal harm.
If you suffered avoidable harm because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you should speak with a State College medical malpractice lawyer about your options for filing suit. A dedicated personal injury attorney could seek compensation on your behalf for every injury your doctor’s lack of proper care caused you to sustain.
Filing Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
The most important thing someone seeking to file suit over a physician error should be aware of is the applicable statute of limitations. Under Pennsylvania state law, people who suffered harm at the hands of a medical provider must file suit within two years of the date the claim arose. This may be extended if the plaintiff could not reasonably have known of the claim.
Additionally, 231 Pa. Code §1042.3 mandates that every malpractice suit filed in the state be accompanied by a “certificate of merit”. This requires that a medical expert be consulted, and affirm that there is a reasonable probability that the defendant breached the applicable standard of care and that the breach was a cause of the harm. This certificate of merit must be filed by either a claimant or his or her State College medical malpractice attorney within 60 days of the initial filing of the lawsuit, or the case can be dismissed.
If a case then proceeds to trial, state law requires testimony from at least one expert witness who works in the same field as the defendant and can help identify what the applicable standard of care would have been when the plaintiff suffered harm.
Recovering Damages for Physician Error
Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania enforces no artificial “caps” on the amount of economic or non-economic damages a claimant can seek in claims against private medical providers. A medical malpractice lawyer in State College could pursue losses like additional medical expenses, missed time off work, and lost future earning capacity, while recoverable non-economic damages may include physical pain, emotional suffering and anguish, and loss of personal and professional opportunities.
If they are awarded in a case, punitive damages may be capped in malpractice under Pennsylvania state law, and cannot exceed 200% of the compensatory damages award. However, punitive damages are only awarded in cases involving egregious behavior or intentionally harmful conduct, so it is rarely applicable when filing suit in response to a doctor’s malpractice.
Speak to a State College Medical Malpractice Attorney Right Away
Medical professionals train for years to ensure they can provide proper care to their patients, and many doctors and nurses fully live up to that expectation. However, failure to provide adequate care can result in serious harm and a patient may suffer physical and financial losses.
A consultation with a State College medical malpractice lawyer could put you on the right path towards recovering compensation for every loss your doctor’s negligence caused. To set up your free initial meeting, call today.