When you have healthcare needs, you put your well-being and trust in the healthcare industry and the people who work in it. Doctors occupy a respected and critical role in society, and the highly specialized care they provide is essential for your health. When you put so much trust in a professional, you expect positive results, and that can make mistakes caused by negligence all the more shocking. If you’ve been harmed in a medical procedure hiring a knowledgeable Williamsport medical malpractice lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take to be made whole.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Medical malpractice is more than a simple error or understandable mistake. Medical malpractice requires negligence, failure to act, causing harm, and other such situations that cause hurt to a patent. A key aspect of medical malpractice is the accepted standard of care provided by other medical professionals. If a medical professional acts outside of what would be considered standard behavior by others in their role when performing common duties and harms a patient, this is medical malpractice. In Pennsylvania, the standard of care notes that medical professionals must receive the same training and are held to the same standards. Because of this, any treatment that violates commonly accepted methods can be classified as malpractice if injury occurs.
Who Can be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice covers anyone who works in the medical industry, and it is not just a standard of care and action applied to doctors. It also includes nurses, assistants, anesthesiologists, lab technicians, personnel, and more. For example, if you are injured due to the actions of a nurse, your malpractice concerns are as valid as those caused by a doctor.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can cover an assortment of standard and advanced medical procedures involving many aspects of the medical care industry. Malpractice can include (but is not limited to) the following:
- Improperly delaying medical treatment.
- Ignoring lab results or interpreting them incorrectly.
- Performing treatment without patient permission.
- Surgery errors, such as performing one incorrectly, and more egregious negligence, such as leaving tools in a patient’s body.
- Performing surgery that is unneeded for a patient’s medical issues.
- Giving improper medications or prescribing the wrong dosage.
- Releasing a patient from the hospital too soon.
- Lack of proper record-keeping concerning healthcare and treatment.
- A lack of or inadequate follow-up care.
As the above list shows, malpractice is a broad topic and includes far more than just surgery. It covers all aspects of medical treatment and care, both pre and post-surgery.
Medical Malpractice and Compensation
If you’ve been harmed by medical malpractice, there are several areas where compensation may be considered and provided.
- Economic Damages: compensation covers a wide assortment of economic losses and expenses in cases of malpractice. If you have been injured due to malpractice, concern about your profession and ability to support your family is natural. Compensation can include lost wages, time away from work, and any lost future earnings if your injuries have a long-term impact on your career. Compensation also includes medical costs, including follow-up surgery, treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, and other associated medical expenses related to the malpractice event. Compensation can also include other less-defined expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages: not all damages are monetary and non-economic damages are given serious consideration when deciding compensation. Medical malpractice can have a long-lasting and negative effect on your overall quality of life. Examples can include trauma, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and an overall reduction in your enjoyment of daily activities, be they long-term or for life. Non-economic damage is more abstract but no less important than more material economic concerns.
- Punitive Damages: a less common compensation of punitive damages may be awarded in specific situations. Punitive damages are awarded in situations where a medical professional acted in ways that only be defined as negligent or purposely reckless. Punitive damages are awarded chiefly to make an example of a medical professional’s actions and to show such actions are unacceptable and not to be repeated. In the state of Pennsylvania, punitive damages do have a cap on the amount that can be awarded.
Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you’ve been injured due to medical malpractice, you no doubt have a lot of things on your mind and issues to deal with in both your personal and professional life. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting proper compensation and having skilled representation in court. In addition to offering sound advice and filing the proper paperwork, your lawyer will also handle important matters, such as getting expert witnesses to represent you in court. Expert witnesses are quite important in malpractice court proceedings as they provide a professional statement on how you have been harmed and the associated damages due to this.
Medical malpractice is one of the most harmful things you can encounter. It doesn’t just cause you physical, mental, and finical harm. It also shakes your trust in an entire industry. Being able to trust medical professionals to do their jobs safely is a key part of healthcare, and losing this trust can make even routine checkups into stressful events. If you’ve been harmed by medical malpractice, you deserve to have your day in court and receive compensation for all of your losses, both economic and non-economic. When you’ve been injured, having proper legal representation is a key step. Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible ensures you meet all the timing needs for proper paperwork, have expert witnesses to verify your ailments, and have your case properly represented before the court.