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Cases involving medical malpractice or medical negligence are complex. Although they are often used interchangeably, it can be challenging to understand the nuances between the two. If you have been harmed by a medical professional or institution, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand how Pennsylvania medical malpractice laws may impact your case.

What is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the level of care that is expected from medical professionals in similar circumstances.  Even if a healthcare provider’s unintentional error or inaction led to injury or harm, it would be considered medical negligence. The four key elements of proving negligence include:

Duty of Care – The healthcare professional had a duty of care to the patient.

Breach of Duty – The healthcare professional breached their duty of care by not meeting the standard of care expected within their field.

Causation – The provider’s breach of duty caused injury or harm to the patient.

Damages – The patient incurred damages such as additional medical bills, wage loss, physical injury, pain and suffering, and emotional distress

The best malpractice attorneys understand how to investigate medical negligence claims and put all the evidence together to prove negligence.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice includes the elements of medical negligence with one significant difference: in a medical malpractice case, one must show that the medical provider’s or institution’s actions were intentionally reckless. In simpler terms, when a medical provider knows better, but still makes a poor decision or provides subpar treatment, it may be considered malpractice. Some examples of medical malpractice and/or negligence include delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and surgical errors.

In both medical negligence and malpractice cases, an injured party (plaintiff) must present expert testimony from a qualified medical professional. Their testimony is vital to demonstrate the standard of care that the negligent healthcare provider (defendant) should have followed and how they deviated from that standard.

How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You Understand Your Options

The distinctions between medical malpractice and medical negligence can be challenging to grasp if you are unfamiliar with the law. Although you may be able to pursue compensation for medical negligence or malpractice, the legal strategies your medical malpractice attorney employs will differ. Suppose you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional or institution. In that case, your attorney may be able to help you file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. 

There is a specific process for pursuing medical malpractice claims, so it is critical to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney who has experience handling medical malpractice and negligence claims. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from when the error or injury was first discovered or should have been discovered, so it is important to act fast. These time limits vary by jurisdiction and there are exceptions, depending on the specific circumstances.  

Do you need assistance with a negligence or malpractice claim? Contact our personal injury lawyers today at Perna & Abracht, LLC for a free consultation. Our team includes some of the best medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania.