Medical malpractice is any act by a health care provider that deviates from accepted standards of medical care and results in the personal injury, disability, or wrongful death of a patient. It may be possible to file a claim against the responsible parties if it can be proved that the health care provider was negligent in his or her actions. In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff is the patient and the defendant is the health care provider responsible for any injuries that may have occurred. Usually medical professionals are covered by malpractice insurance for claims of negligence made against them.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that as many as 98,000 patients die each year in the United States as a result of medical malpractice. Diagnostic errors and medication errors are the most common types of medical malpractice and may be responsible for up to 1.5 million preventable injuries every year. Surgical errors and other medical mistakes account for the remainder of medical malpractice cases in the United States. If you or a family member has suffered as the result of professional negligence, you may be eligible for compensation.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for doctor and hospital bills, lost wages (including future wages), pain and suffering, and emotional distress that occurred as a result of your injury. In some cases it may also be possible to claim punitive damages against the health care provider if it can be proven that the negligent actions amounted to gross negligence or recklessness
Almost all clients who consult an attorney about medical malpractice have experienced a bad outcome after medical care. However, very frequently these bad outcomes do not result from negligence of the health care professional. Sometimes a disease process is too advanced to be helped by even the best medical care. At times, negligence occurs but does not result in a sufficiently serious injury to justify a case. Generally speaking, unsatisfactory results of a surgery or another medical procedure do not in and of themselves constitute malpractice. Also, if you choose to undergo a procedure despite its known potential side effects, and you develop one of these effects, it will usually not be considered medical malpractice. However, before you give informed consent in writing to any medical procedure, your physician should have disclosed the risks involved, as well as the relative chances of success or failure.
Our lawyers must evaluate a potential case to determine if the medical care rendered fell beneath the standard of care for the field of medicine involved. Many states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey require that a patient, through his attorney, obtain a certificate or affidavit of merit from a practitioner in the same specialty as the criticized doctor. This certificate generally must be obtained at the outset of a case. If our attorneys agree to investigate your case they will order copies of all of your medical records, review the literature in the field and consult our extensive medical library. We will then submit the case to an expert physician in the field for a certificate of merit if we believe that your case should be brought. If it can be proven that a health care provider failed to perform his or her duties with an acceptable and professional level of competence and that failure caused a serious outcome that could have been prevented, then that individual and his medical malpractice insurance can be held liable for the damage caused.
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If you suspect that you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, contact an attorney immediately. Medical malpractice cases are usually very complicated, and victims who choose to "go it alone" are often unsuccessful in obtaining the compensation they deserve. At the Locks Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you obtain full justice for your injury. Contact a Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York medical malpractice lawyer for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.
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