How to File a Malpractice Lawsuit?
By Ben Gobel on January 6, 2023
There are few relationships more sacred than the one between a healthcare provider and a patient. While Pennsylvania law recognizes that not every undesirable outcome is due to medical negligence, a significant portion of medical malpractice claims is proven during settlement negotiations or in court.
If you believe you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim, you should contact a law firm that handles malpractice cases before filing a claim. These cases tend to be extremely complex, and you need an attorney who understands the nuances of Pennsylvania medical malpractice laws.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky have extensive experience and a successful track record suing for medical negligence. Call today for a free one-on-one consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. In addition, if you have a case, our law firm will represent you on a contingency basis, which means you never have to pay out of pocket for our legal advice.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when medical providers fail to offer the standard of care that their patients have the right to expect. While doctors and other healthcare providers can never guarantee the outcome of a medical treatment or procedure, they must ensure that the courses of action they recommend are likely to improve the condition of the patient in some manner, that their recommendation is in accordance with acceptable medical standards, and that the treatment is administered property. If they make an error due to negligence, they are open to a medical malpractice action.
The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice
To pursue a medical malpractice claim, an attorney must be able to prove the following four elements:
1. The Doctor or Other Health Care Provider had a Duty of Care
All healthcare providers have a duty of care for any patients they treat. This means that if they accept you as a patient, they must do their best to address your health concerns.
2. There Was a Breach of the Duty of Care
An undesirable outcome does not necessarily mean that a healthcare provider made a medical mistake or breached their duty. For a medical malpractice attorney to pursue your claim, they must be able to prove that there was a breach of duty and that it was avoidable.
Just because a doctor or other caregiver committed medical errors does not mean that it caused your condition to worsen or prevented you from getting better. To have a viable medical malpractice case, your attorney must be able to prove that the error caused the medical accident.
In order for you to have a viable medical malpractice claim, there must be damages. Damages involve additional medical costs, lost wages due to the medical mistake delaying your return to work, pain and suffering, and more.
During your free consultation, a medical malpractice attorney will determine whether all four elements exist. If you select OMP to represent you, our medical malpractice claims attorneys will go to work building your case for presentation to the insurance company.
Types of Medical Malpractice
These are some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases we handle:
- Anesthesia accidents – These involve the anesthesiologist giving too much anesthesia to a patient.
- Implements left inside the patient – Surgical teams sometimes leave scalpels, sponges, clamps, etc., inside patients during surgery.
- Improperly prescribing medication – This can occur either because the doctor doesn’t check for possible harmful interactions or because it’s the wrong medication for a particular medication.
- Operating on the Wrong Patient – This occurs when a surgical team performs the wrong procedure on the patient — commonly because they are confused with another patient.
- Removing the wrong organ or limb occurs when the doctor performs surgery on the wrong side of the body or is confused about the type of procedure they should be performing.
- Misdiagnosis – This occurs when the medical provider treats a patient for the wrong condition and should have been able to properly diagnose the issue.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of medical mistakes that can happen. If you don’t see your particular type of medical error listed here, contact a medical malpractice lawyer at our firm to discuss your claim for free.
Cost of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit with an Attorney
At Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, we recognize that you are facing mounting medical costs, lost wages, and more. You may be thinking that you can’t afford our legal services. This is why we charge on a contingency basis, meaning that we will represent you for free until your claim is settled or we win in court. If we don’t win your medical malpractice case, we do not get paid.
Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
There’s no such thing as an uncomplicated medical malpractice lawsuit. The attorneys and medical expert witnesses that insurance companies have at their disposal are formidable opponents. While the insurance company may agree that medical malpractice may have occurred, like all personal injury cases, the settlement offer will probably be well below a full and fair settlement.
If you hire Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky to represent you in your medical malpractice claim, we will perform the following functions:
Construct Your Medical History
We will pull your medical records, not only from the negligent party but from other healthcare providers who have treated you in the past. That way, we will have a baseline for the deterioration of your condition.
Depose All Involved Parties
It’s likely that more than one person was responsible for your medical injuries. In any event, there are doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc., who may have witnessed the error. We will issue subpoenas and depose all involved parties.
In addition to the financial costs of additional treatments or procedures, you’re entitled to damages for lost wages, reduced capacity, physical pain, and suffering. If you’ve lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, you may also be entitled to the lost income your family member would have provided had they survived. Additionally, you deserve damages for loss of companionship.
Issue Letters of Protection to Your Medical Providers
This assures doctors that if they perform services, they will be paid from the proceeds of the medical malpractice lawsuit, whether the parties settle or we successfully litigate the case in court.
Consult Medical Experts
Our attorneys will examine the timeline of events and review your case with a medical professional familiar with your specific type of claim. This is also an essential medical malpractice step to establish that the negligent party somehow erred from accepted medical practices. Usually, the expert witnesses we consult have worked on real-life cases under similar circumstances as your healthcare provider.
Present a Demand Letter
Once your medical malpractice lawyer has a full picture of the damages involved from the malpractice, they will present a demand letter to the defendant or their insurance company. If the defendant does not meet the demand and does not make a reasonable counteroffer, the next step is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
That does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial. Your case may be settled after we file a medical malpractice suit.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Many of our clients have similar questions about their malpractice cases. If you are the victim of malpractice, call today to have a lawyer talk to you about your case. If we believe you have a viable case, we will help you file a medical malpractice claim. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about medical malpractice lawsuits.
If I file a malpractice lawsuit, how long will it take before I get a settlement?
Medical malpractice cases tend to move slowly. Your attorney will need time to review your medical records, consult with experts, examine the opposition evidence provided under the discovery rule, etc.
What is the statute of limitations on medical malpractice in Pennsylvania?
Like most types of civil claims, there’s a two-year statute of limitations for medical negligence cases. However, for most Pennsylvania medical malpractice claims, the clock does not start counting until the date the issue is discovered.
For example, if a surgeon leaves a scalpel inside of you, but you don’t develop pain for a few months and then learn of the error, that’s when the two-year clock begins.
While a two-year statute of limitations may seem like a long time, it’s essential you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will need plenty of time to prepare your case.
How private is my sensitive or confidential information during a medical malpractice lawsuit?
At Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, all conversations are subject to the attorney-client relationship. This is a confidential relationship between you and your attorney. During these closed meetings, we can discuss what information about hour health history, physical ability, etc., must be disclosed under the discovery rule.
Most medical malpractice cases settle before they go to court, which means that the details of the settlement can be kept out of the public eye.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA
If you’ve been injured due to a medical mistake, you’re entitled to damages. Many people who were injured by a healthcare professional hire personal injury lawyers who have a good track record with other types of cases but lack med-mal experience.
Don’t risk your physical and financial recovery with an inexperienced attorney. Contact Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky for a free consultation today. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t receive payment unless you win.