Injured and sick individuals trust healthcare professionals to make them better, not worse, when they seek treatment. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Sometimes, the people patients trust to provide proper treatment end up becoming harmed even more. When this is the case, injured individuals can file a claim against the healthcare professional, but these claims are not easy to file, and they are also some of the most misunderstood personal injury claims. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about medical malpractice so that, if necessary, you know what to expect.
What is the Difference Between Actionable Negligence and a Mistake?
Not every medical outcome is successful, but that does not mean the healthcare professional is always liable. To have an actionable claim, the healthcare professional must not have provided the proper standard of care. In most cases, proving this requires the testimony of another healthcare professional in the same field that can corroborate the fact that the healthcare professional did not meet their standard of care.
Can I Obtain a Copy of My Medical Records?
Medical records provide some of the most solid evidence in medical malpractice claims. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, you can ask for a copy of your medical records. Your medical provider can only charge you an amount equal to copying the records and postage, if you are receiving the documents by mail.
Should I Ask for an Autopsy?
Individuals mourning the loss of a loved one often decline an autopsy because they believe their loved one has already been through enough. However, autopsies can provide valuable evidence. When there is any doubt about how or why your loved one died, or you believe it was preventable, it is essential to request an autopsy.
Does Pennsylvania Place a Cap on Damages?
Many states place a cap, or limit, on the amount of damages individuals and their loved ones can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Fortunately, Pennsylvania does not place any damages on compensatory damages, so you can receive full compensation for any loss you sustained. However, the law does impose a cap on punitive damages when they are awarded. Punitive damages are not compensatory but instead, are intended to punish the defendant for gross negligence.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
You only have a limited amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania. The time limit is two years from the date of the medical error, or two years from the date you discovered, or should have discovered, the injury and the cause of the injury.
Our Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyers can Answer Your Questions
Many personal injury lawsuits have the potential to become complex, but that is even truer in cases that involve a medical error. If you have been hurt by a healthcare professional, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin are here to help. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to get the answers you need to your legal questions, and so one of our skilled attorneys can review your case.