A man is suing a hospital because they sent his mother away from the facility after she visited the emergency room. She visited the hospital due to an altered mental status, as she suffered from Alzheimer’s. Hospital staff could not locate her later in the evening, and it was found that she had left the facility. As she was crossing the road just outside, she was struck by a pickup truck and killed.
Hospitals are sued in Philadelphia more than people think, but medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complex personal injury claims to file. One reason for this is because hospitals will defend medical malpractice aggressively. It is important to know what these defenses are, so you can prepare for them with your own claim. The four most common defenses to medical malpractice claims are found below.
Refuting the Negligent Act
Not all unsuccessful treatments or diagnoses are a result of medical malpractice. To determine if a hospital staff member acted negligently, one must consider whether another professional in the same field would have acted in the same way. The accused hospital or doctor will likely argue that another professional would have acted in the same manner.
The Defendant was Not an Employee
Many doctors that work in hospitals are not employees, but independent contractors. They have hospital rights, but they work for themselves. As such, the hospital cannot be held liable for the doctor’s actions. Still, there are certain conditions under which a doctor may be considered an employee, such as when the hospital has control over the doctor’s hours. A medical malpractice lawyer can determine if a doctor is an employee or independent contractor.
You Did Not File On Time
Like all personal injury cases, medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania are governed by a two year statute of limitations. This is the amount of time you have to file your claim and if you do not file within this time limit, you forfeit your right to damages. The hospital may try to argue that you filed after the statute of limitations had expired, even when that is not the case.
You Were Partly at Fault
The hospital may try to argue you were partly at fault for your injuries, which will reduce your damages if they are successful. For example, if you did not follow the treatment plan your doctor recommended, you may be found at least partly at fault. A medical malpractice lawyer in Pennsylvania will refute these claims so you recover full damages.
Call Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Allentown Today
If you have been harmed by a negligent healthcare professional, our Allentown personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, can refute the above defenses so you claim the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.