Any health care provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be held legally responsible for acts of medical malpractice. Included in the definition of “health care provider” are any licensed individuals or entities such as doctors, nurses, specialists, dentists, and even midwives that provide medical services to patients. Medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and emergency care centers are also health care providers within the statutory definition.
Medical malpractice, like most personal injury cases, is usually based on the legal theory of negligence. Thus, the basic legal requirements of a medical malpractice case are similar to those in any simple negligence or personal injury case. In Pennsylvania, these elements include the existence of a duty, its breach, causation, damages, as well as a special rule requiring a patient to obtain a Certificate of Merit from an expert.
A medical malpractice plaintiff must prove that the physician or health care provider did not act reasonably or with the skill and care that a reasonably qualified physician and health care provider would have demonstrated under similar circumstances. Pennsylvania places no limits on compensatory or punitive damages in medical malpractice cases.
An injured party must file a medical malpractice suit within two years of discovering the injury, or two years from the date the injury reasonably should have been discovered. A party may not file any medical malpractice suit more than seven years after the date the negligent act or omission occurred, although there are some exceptions to these limitations for minors under Pennsylvania law. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead to learn more about the elements of a medical malpractice case.
Proving each element in a medical malpractice case typically carries a higher degree of difficulty than in other personal injury cases, thus necessitating the help of an attorney experienced in such litigation. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury because of an accident or incident of medical malpractice, including surgical errors or negligence during pregnancy or childbirth, contact Attorney James Mundy at Powell Law (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.