Pennsylvania Supreme Court Changes State’s Medical Malpractice Rules
October 28, 2022
Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of adding new provisions to the state’s existing medical malpractice rules. The Court’s decision is a major win for medical malpractice victims, who will now be able to sue negligent healthcare providers for damages in areas where they regularly conduct business and not exclusively in the jurisdiction where the negligence occurred. The Court approved these changes at the end of August; after two years, it will reassess its ruling to determine if any changes need to be made.
The Court’s previous rules were in place for the last 20 years. According to the Court, the number of Pennsylvania residents who filed medical malpractice claims in the last 15 years has gone down significantly. The Court’s data also highlights how in that same time period, fewer victims of medical negligence received claim payments for their injuries, resulting in an overall decrease in compensation for their pain and suffering. While some opponents of the amendment claim that the new rules will allow plaintiffs to file lawsuits in areas that are notorious for giving larger payouts, advocates say that victims have already suffered unfairly for the last two decades.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical mistakes injure and kill thousands of Americans every year. Johns Hopkins University estimates that medical errors kill as many as 251,000 individuals annually, rendering them the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. While some medical mistakes may be unavoidable, others are not. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider deviates from the accepted standard of care and causes harm to a patient as a result. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Failure to treat
- Birth injuries
Doctors and nurses are not the only medical providers who can be negligent when it comes to patient care. Healthcare professionals of all kinds make mistakes during testing, diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients. For example, providers like hospitals, surgical centers, nursing homes, dentists, aides and technicians, psychiatrists, and other healthcare workers and institutions can also be held liable for medical malpractice.
Filing a Claim
Even with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s new ruling, it is still difficult for an injured patient or their surviving loved ones to prove that a provider made a preventable mistake in a court of law. For example, to substantiate a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must be able to show that the healthcare professional had a legal duty to provide care or treatment for them, that the provider breached this duty because they failed to treat the patient with the appropriate standard of care that another provider would have lawfully provided, the breach of duty caused the patient to suffer injury, and that the plaintiff experienced significant monetary, physical and/or emotional hardship as a result of the injury.
Because of how complicated medical malpractice claims are to litigate, you may want to consider having one of the experienced attorneys from our firm on your side. Our attorneys are committed to helping innocent victims who have been harmed by medical mistakes. Here are some examples of our firm’s recoveries on behalf of our injured clients:
- Our client’s five-month-old child tragically died after a heart operation. Our attorneys investigated and discovered that the child died because his doctors failed to recognize that the device implanted in his heart was not working. We also proved that the device was defective and was not fit for use in the type of heart surgery that led to the death of our client’s young baby. To learn more about this recovery, click here.
- Our client sustained a severe brain injury when her heart stopped after a drug overdose. The defendant hospital failed to implant a pacemaker in a timely manner. By the time the defendant hospital did implant the pacemaker, our client had already sustained an irreparable brain injury. Our attorneys secured a $2,100,000 settlement on behalf of our client. You can read more about this recovery here.
- Our client sustained numerous bone fractures after he fell. His doctor failed to identify our client’s signs and symptoms of an infection and sent him home, causing our client to experience major complications. Our attorneys settled the matter before trial and recovered $1.3 million dollars in favor of our client. Learn more about this recovery here.
If you have questions about filing a medical malpractice claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.