ACTIONABLE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
… (also called medical negligence) occurs when a physician fails to properly treat a medical condition and the negligent act or omission is the cause of a new or aggravated injury to the patient. Obviously the physician cannot be responsible for the original underlying medical problem. An experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney from our office can help you determine if negligence in medical malpractice cases has occurred in a variety of situations including but not limited to:
- There may be “medical malpractice” by a delay or failure in diagnosing a disease; or
- A surgical or anesthesia-related mishap during an operative procedure could constitute “medical malpractice”; or
- Malpractice may involve the physician’s failure to gain the informed consent of the patient for an operation or surgical procedure; or
- A physician who has made the correct diagnosis may thereafter commit malpractice by failing to properly treat the disease process;
- Misuse of Prescription Drugs or a Medical Device or Implant can also be medical malpractice.
It is a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer’s obligation to determine as quickly and efficiently as possible whether there is a good, actionable case. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE cases are by their very nature, complex, expensive to pursue, have a high risk of no recovery, and often involve a client’s “personal” attachment. The first step in the process involves the potential client entering into an agreement with the attorney in which the agreement sets forth the method of attorney compensation. Typically the attorney agrees to advance all costs, only to be repaid costs in the event of recovery, and to work on a contingent fee basis, that is, the attorney will receive a percentage of the gross recovery. Thus, the client will endure no economic loss in the event of a lack of recovery.
During the initial client contact, your Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer will obtain a detailed medical history during which the attorney should obtain the names of all physicians and hospitals that have rendered medical treatment to the client. It is valuable for a client to prepare a written summary (timeline) of all medical treatment including dates, doctors, symptoms, conversations with medical providers, and treatment received. Thereafter, all relevant medical records are obtained by the attorney. In many medical malpractice cases, proof of negligence is found in these records.
In order to determine if there is “medical malpractice” it is necessary that a medical expert be retained to consult with the plaintiff’s attorney.
This expert should be well qualified to give a medical opinion and is therefore frequently board certified in the relevant field of medicine. If, after a thorough review of the pertinent medical records, the medical expert concludes “with reasonable medical certainty that the action or inaction of the defendant physician was the cause of damage to the plaintiff,” it is appropriate to file suit against the physician/hospital. Filing suit begins the legal advocacy process which may cover a period of several years. During this period both parties exchange a series of documents. In the first stage, the legal pleading stage, the parties set forth with precision their legal theories. In the second stage called, the discovery stage, the facts to support the various legal theories are developed. If the parties are not able to resolve their differences the case, now in its third stage, will go to trial before a judge and jury.