Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney
Our nation’s doctors have extraordinarily stressful jobs and are responsible for the health and well-being of their patients. While some mishaps might be unavoidable, doctors are bound by an oath to do no harm to the people they treat. When they break this oath through improper practices, poor judgment, rushing, or other forms of negligence, it is medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice takes many forms, but the most-often-seen types include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis. Doctors rely upon their training and experience to determine a patient’s condition and address it with proper care. While some conditions and illnesses mimic the symptoms of others, it’s vital for doctors to assess all possibilities carefully to ensure patients receive the proper treatment.
- Improper treatment. The care a patient receives for a condition should be reasonable and appropriate for his or her issue and medical history. If a doctor treats a patient in a way no other similarly skilled, competent and reasonable doctor would, it can cause serious harm. Improper treatment also applies to incomplete treatment.
- Failure to warn. When discussing a potential procedure or treatment plan, the doctor must fully warn the patient of all the potential hazards, risks and side effects, so the patient can make a fully informed decision. This is informed consent. Without informed consent, a patient cannot legally agree to treatment and may be susceptible to harm from the process.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice lawsuits are rarely simple. Depending on the nature of a situation, we must gather a great deal of documentation, medical records, expert witness testimony and other evidence to build a successful case. If you’ve experienced medical malpractice and think a lawsuit is appropriate, your attorney will need to prove the doctor’s negligence and a few extra considerations:
- You must prove that an official doctor-patient relationship existed between you (the plaintiff) and the doctor (the defendant). You cannot sue a doctor who did not directly treat you.
- Then, you must show the court that the doctor was negligent. The way your attorney accomplishes this will depend upon the circumstances and evidence.
- Next, you must show that the doctor’s negligence caused your injuries. Medical malpractice cases often involve patients who were already injured or ill at the time the negligent actions took place, so it can be difficult to assess the extent of the damages caused by the negligence. When other factors may raise doubts in court, your attorney must show that the doctor’s negligence more likely than not caused the damages, and not the existing illness or injury.
- Finally, you must prove that the injury led to specific damages. You cannot sue if you did not suffer any harm, even if the doctor made a mistake. If an injury caused you physical pain, emotional or mental distress, compounded medical expenses and lost wages from time spent away from work due to the injury, you can claim those things as damages.
Winning Your Case
It’s crucial to file a medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as you discover an injury or condition that resulted from the malpractice. The statute of limitations, or time you have to file a lawsuit, varies by state. Personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania fall under a two-year statute of limitations. However, some results of medical malpractice are not immediately apparent. In such cases, a court will likely grant you the ability to file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the discovery date, or the date that your illness or injury noticeably manifested.
Legal representation is critical to success in medical malpractice lawsuits. If you’ve suffered an injury at the hands of a negligent doctor in the Pittsburgh area, connect with Ronald J. Bua & Associates. Our team has represented clients for more than 30 years in all manner of personal injury cases, including medical malpractice. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation so we can discuss your options for legal recourse.