September 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Residents in Philadelphia County seek medical care as a matter of routine, most of the time trusting that the care and treatment they receive is correct, good and honest. Most of the time, medical professionals do provide good treatment and care to patients. Unfortunately, however, that is not the case all of the time.
Doctors, nurses or other professionals are human beings and subject to make mistakes like any other person. When this happens, it is important that patients identify the problem and have the ability for recourse. Medical malpractice
lawsuits should not be filed frivolously but when a true medical error has occurred, they offer citizens an appropriate avenue for compensation.
Fewer claims overall, Pennsylvania payouts rank number two
Recent studies show that the rate of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the United States has steadily declined in the past several years. The reasons for this are not necessarily known but what is known is that there still remains a need for some cases as medical errors still occur.
Becker's Hospital Review published information about malpractice cases detailing the following statistics for 2012:
- A total of 12,142 medical malpractice payouts totaled $3.6 billion
- 5 percent of payouts were from trial judgments
- 93 percent of payouts were the result of settlement agreements
- $316,167,500 was paid in medical malpractice payouts in the state of Pennsylvania--the second highest amount in the nation
The reasons for the suits ranged with misdiagnosis
as the most common reason for a medical malpractice suit to be filed. Surgical complications or treatment problems were also frequently cited causes of lawsuits.
The clock is ticking
In Pennsylvania, as in all other states, there is a statute of limitations that governs when the filing of a medical malpractice suit is accepted. Most basically put, the law allows up to two years from the date of injury or of the medical error for a suit to be filed. In fatal cases, this means that family members or estates have two years from the date of death in which to file suit.
One exception to this statute is what is known as the "discovery rule". This rule governs those situations where the date that a person becomes aware of the problem is not the same as the date upon which the problem actually occurred. For example, if a doctor incorrectly diagnosed a condition and then three years later it was properly identified by the same or another doctor, the latter date would be the date of discovery. The law then allows two years from the date of discovery for a lawsuit to be filed. In this example, then, that means the suit could be filed up to five years after the error actually occurred.
The importance of proper legal counsel
Patients may not always know the nuances of the medical malpractice world, including when it is appropriate to file a lawsuit. It is always advisable that you speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect that you or a loved one may be the victim of a medical error. Doing so can often help you avoid passing the opportunity for proper compensation.
Article provided by Rosenbaum & Associates
Visit us at www.rosenbaumgroup.com