Easton Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Often, when we are injured or ill, we put our trust in medical professionals to properly diagnose and treat us. While many of these individuals fulfill this duty admirably, some do not use the care that they should. In these cases, when a healthcare provider has violated the proper standard of care, the injured party could be entitled damages. To learn more, reach out to our experienced Easton medical malpractice lawyer today.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or healthcare provider acts or fails to act, while treating or diagnosing a patient, in a way that deviates from the accepted norms of practice in the medical community and in doing so, causes the patient an injury. Basically, medical malpractice is a professional form of negligence committed by someone who was trained in the medical field.
To prove that a defendant is liable for medical malpractice, an injured claimant will need evidence of the physician’s carelessness. Often, this requires the help of an expert witness who can testify as to what the at-fault party should have done. In cases of egregious negligence, however, like leaving medical tools inside of a patient’s body after surgery, evidence of the act itself is enough to establish negligence, as even a layman knows that this is a violation of medical practice.
Certificate of Merit
In Pennsylvania, there are specific procedural rules that patients must follow when filing a medical malpractice claim. For instance, claimants are required to file a certificate of merit when they initiate their case. These are written statements from licensed professionals who assert that:
- There is a reasonable probability that the defendant deviated from the proper standard of medical care;
- The defendant was responsible for the person who violated the standard of care; or
- Pursuing the claim doesn’t require expert testimony.
The person who supplies the statement in support of the certificate of merit doesn’t need to be the same person who will testify as an expert witness on the patient’s behalf. The professional must, however, be an expert with enough education, training, knowledge, and experience to provide credible testimony that the defendant didn’t meet the medical standard of care in the case at hand. These certificates must be filed alongside the complaint at the onset of the case, or within two months of filing the complaint.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations
Pennsylvania, like all states, has a statute of limitations for filing lawsuits in the state’s civil court system. For medical malpractice lawsuits, this deadline is generally two years from the date that the alleged malpractice occurred. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. If, for instance, the patient couldn’t have reasonably known of the malpractice right away, then the statute of limitations won’t start to run until the patient knows, or reasonably should have known about the injury. There are also special rules for patients who were younger than 18 years old at the time of the injury. In these cases, the child or his or her representative must file a claim within seven years of the date of the medical error, or before the child’s 20th birthday, whichever is later.
Dedicated Easton Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Call 570-821-5717 today to speak with our experienced Easton medical malpractice lawyer at O’Donnell Law Offices about your legal options.