Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Johnstown, PA
Being diagnosed with an illness, undergoing treatment for a serious condition, facing surgery, overseeing a loved one's medical care – these are all extremely stressful on their own. When you go to a doctor, you expect that the quality of their treatment won't be another worry to add to your list.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is, and a missed diagnosis, a surgical error, or an incorrect prescription can have devastating consequences. Now, in addition to worrying about your health, you are faced with the questions – Could something have been done differently? Should something have been done differently?
Figuring out the answer to those questions isn't something you should have to do on your own. A qualified and experienced Johnstown medical malpractice attorney can relieve some of the burden and help you determine if you have a medical malpractice claim.
Types of Medical Malpractice
"What is medical malpractice?" To answer that question, the first thing to understand is that medical malpractice is based on negligence. That is, you can only win a medical malpractice lawsuit if you can prove that the doctor or healthcare provider:
- Did not act reasonably
- Did not act with the skill and care that a reasonably qualified doctor would have demonstrated under similar circumstances
Beyond that, medical malpractice lawsuits can fall into one of a few different categories, which are outlined below.
Infections, tumors or masses, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), heart disease, and heart attacks are the most common conditions that involve misdiagnosis. This is often because patients with complex conditions don't always present a "typical" set of symptoms.
Recent studies have shown that misdiagnosis is the leading type of doctor error.
It's hard to imagine that even with advanced medicine, devastating mistakes can happen during pregnancy and childbirth. However, the truth is that obstetrical/gynecological medical negligence is still a problem.
Some of the medical complications that can lead to malpractice during pregnancy/childbirth are:
- Excessive and unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Gestational diabetes
- Placental abnormalities
- Surgical negligence during a Caesarian section
- Premature delivery
- Shoulder dystocia during labor
- And more
Mistakes in Prescribing or Administering Prescription Drugs
Nearly 7 in 10 people in the United States take at least one prescription drug, so this type of medical malpractice is fairly common. Medication errors can be caused by:
- A doctor administering the wrong type or amount of medication
- The pharmacy giving out the wrong type or amount of medication
- A nurse or physician's assistant administering the wrong type or amount of medication
The most common errors during surgery are failing to control bleeding, damaging a nerve, and leaving a medical instrument inside the patient. There have been cases, however, where the surgeon performed the wrong operation – either on the wrong part of the body or on the wrong patient.
Anesthesia-related errors also happen during surgical procedures. They normally involve giving the patient too much anesthesia, too little anesthesia, or the wrong type of anesthesia.
How Many Years Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice?
This is a common – and very good – question. Medical lawsuits, like all personal injury lawsuits, are subject to a statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice suits is a little more complex than others. Generally speaking, you have two years from the time the malpractice occurred to file the claim. However, if you did not have a reasonable way of knowing that the medical malpractice occurred within those two years, you have extra time to file your claim. Other factors, like malpractice that results in death or damage to the reproductive system, also entitle you to more time to file the claim.
It's best to act quickly and get in touch with an experienced Johnstown attorney as soon as you suspect doctor or hospital malpractice has occurred. This will ensure you have the best possible chance of successfully filing a claim. We are available to answer your questions 24/7 – at no cost to you. Call us at: 412-394-1000.
What is the Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice?
Nationally, the average settlement for a medical malpractice lawsuit is approximately $240,000. However, this is just an average. Each case is unique, and during the medical malpractice settlement process, your attorney will be able to give you a better idea of what your case is worth.
The section below outlines the factors that go into determining a medical malpractice verdict or settlement amount.
How Much Can You Get for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The amount of money awarded in a successful Johnstown medical malpractice lawsuit includes both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages involve fairly straightforward calculations and include:
- Lost income and/or earning potential
- Cost for past and future medical treatment
Non-economic damages can't be calculated as precisely and depend on how a judge, jury, attorney, or insurance adjuster values them. They include things such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages (typically only for cases that involve egregious/outrageous conduct)
In addition, some states have passed laws that put a limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded in a malpractice suit. Most of these limits apply to "non-economic" losses – those that cover pain, suffering, anxiety, stress, scarring, etc. An experienced Johnstown attorney will be able to tell you what, if any, limits exist in your state.
How Long Does a Malpractice Settlement Take?
Like estimating the damages you will receive, this is a nearly impossible question to answer without knowing the details of your case. A settlement can happen very early on in the process or it can take place after the case has progressed to the trial phase. It truly depends on your situation and the other parties involved. However, contacting an attorney as soon as possible will put you one step closer to determining if you have a case and how long it could take.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
In order to prove a Johnstown medical negligence claim, your attorney must be able to establish all of the following things:
- That a doctor-patient relationship existed: Questions around this requirement arise most frequently in cases where a consulting physician didn't directly treat you.
- That the medical professional was negligent: This means that you can't sue just because you were dissatisfied with your care – the doctor must have been negligent in the way he or she diagnosed or treated you.
- The doctor's negligence was the cause of the injury: You must be able to show that it's "more likely than not" that a medical provider's negligence directly caused the injury.
- The injury led to specific damages: Even if a doctor performed below expected standards, you can't sue if you didn't suffer any harm as a result.
Contact Our Johnstown Attorneys Today
Anything involving your health is scary, and sorting through what a medical care provider did or didn't do can be confusing. If you have questions about treatment you received and whether or not you have a Johnstown medical malpractice claim, it's best to get in touch with our attorneys as soon as possible. We'll answer your questions – free of charge.
You shouldn't have to do this alone. We're available 24/7, so reach out to us any time by calling 412-394-1000 or by filling out the free case evaluation form on this page.