Williamsport Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you put your health in the hands of your doctors and something goes wrong due to negligence, the damages can severely affect the rest of your life. Medical negligence resulting in birth injury can be catastrophic. Other actions of medical negligence include, but certainly are not limited to, leaving instruments in the body after surgery, operating on the wrong body part, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose serious illness, and negligence in anesthesia administration are devastating to the patient and can result in violations of Pennsylvania malpractice law.
If the harm was caused by negligent or incompetent care on the part of medical professionals, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit to obtain compensation for your loss. However, not everything that goes wrong during a medical procedure is necessarily grounds for medical malpractice. For a claim to be successful, the burden of proof is on the patient by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore it is essential to have a skilled medical malpractice lawyer on your side.
The experienced and compassionate Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to medical negligence and faulty devices. We offer a free consultation to examine your situation and show you how we can help.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
According to Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional commits medical negligence by violating the generally accepted standard of care used by other medical professionals. There is a nationwide standard as to most doctors. The resulting injury must have been a factual cause of the professional’s actions or omission of actions, and the injury must have led to damages.
There are situations in which there may be neglect in connection with use of medical devices or pharmaceuticals. Sometimes a claim may be brought against a manufacturer or someone other than a doctor.
Areas of Medical Malpractice
With trial experience going back to the 1970s, our firm offers significant knowledge of medical malpractice. Over the years, we have accumulated the names of many expert witnesses who may be available to provide consultation on specific medical topics, as well as nurses to help us evaluate potential claims. In Pennsylvania, a lawyer must sign a certificate of merit indicating that he has received a statement from a medical professional. These are complex rules and there are filing dates which pertain. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical and hospital malpractice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and teaches the subject to lawyers with a great deal of experience.
Our lawyers advocate for clients in matters involving the following, among many others:
- Pharmaceutical damages, prescribing wrong medication or dosage
- Vitamin and dietary supplements
- Laboratory errors or ignoring laboratory results
- Surgical malpractice ,doing unnecessary surgery, leaving a foreign object in the body, or operating on the wrong body part
- Medical devices
- Emergency room errors
- Diagnostic mistakes, including misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer
- Birth injury, and obstetrical and gynecological injury
- Head injuries, brain injuriesand concussions
- Nursing negligence involving LPNs, RNs and nurse practitioners, and physician assistant negligence
- Ophthalmology cases involving glaucoma, LASIK surgery and other eye conditions
- Errors involving radiology, CT scans, X-rays and other imaging.
What compensation can I receive?
If you are successful in a medical malpractice claim, you may receive compensation for the following:
1) Economic damages including, but not necessarily limited to:
- Past, present and future medical expenses such as costs for rehabilitation, therapy, and corrective surgeries
- Time spent away from work, lost wages and earnings and potential future earnings
- Funeral costs
- Other items that are permitted by law.
2) Non-economic damages. These are intangible and quality-of-life losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and trauma, disfigurement, loss of consortium, companionship and loss of life’s pleasures prior to death.
3) Punitive damages. In some unusual cases, where a medical professional acted in ways that are deemed intentional or with a reckless disregard of the consequences, punitive damages may be awarded to discourage similar situations from happening again. In Pennsylvania, there is a cap on punitive damages.
The Mcare Act in Pennsylvania covers medical liability actions. Cliff Rieders has written widely on this subject and teaches about the law as well.
Special Situations in Pennsylvania
1) Damage Caps — Pennsylvania has caps on medical malpractice awards for punitive damages at two times the amount of actual damages in the case. Economic and non-economic damages are not limited or capped, but are nevertheless governed by certain rules that govern reasonable limitations.
2) Periodic Payments — Pennsylvania has a “periodic payments rule” for future medical, hospital and rehabilitative damages. If the future damages as set forth are more than $100,000, the damages will be paid, in the case where a jury makes the award, in periodic future payments reduced to current value. Once again, this is a very complex area of the law and the appellate court cases in Pennsylvania have not fully defined how this system works.
3) Expert Testimony Requirements — Pennsylvania has requirements regarding expert medical witness testimony as follows:
- At initial filing — A plaintiff’s attorney must file a “certificate of merit,” signed by the attorney, within 60 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The affidavit must state that an expert has provided a written statement that asserts one of the following:
- There is a reasonable probability of breached standard of care
- The defendant was responsible for the person who breached the standard of care
- There are circumstances where expert testimony is not needed to pursue the claim.
- At trial — Pennsylvania requires testimony of expert witness to establish what the medical standard of care is and that the defendant breached it, “unless negligence is obvious to a lay person.”
Experts who testify must be:
- a physician who is actively engaged in practicing or teaching and is experienced in the field. In certain circumstances, a physician who is retired may testify, depending upon when the retirement occurred, of the same or a similar specialty as the defendant, and
- board certified, if available and the defendant is board-certified
The court can waive these requirements if an expert has sufficient training, experience, or knowledge gained from actively practicing or teaching medicine within five years of the date of the injury.
There is much case law and great complexity with respect to who may be an expert witness, under what circumstances, whether expert testimony is needed for liability or for causation as well. Sometimes experts have to be in the same field, but there are exceptions in this respect as well. Once again, these are very complex situations.
4) Statute of Limitations — The Pennsylvania statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the time the patient discovers or, in the exercise of due diligence, should have discovered that the injury occurred. This also is a very complex area of the law, and Cliff Rieders has written about it in his book on medical malpractice. Nothing should be assumed when it comes to the statute of limitations.
For cases after March 2002, injured patients are allowed up to seven years from the date the medically negligent act occurred (two years for death cases). If the injury is discovered more than seven years after the medically negligent act occurred, you will not be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Minors do not have to start action until two (2) years after reaching the age of majority. Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 40, § 1303.513.
What Are Costs to File?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are typically handled on a contingency fee basis. You do not have to pay any fee unless we recover costs for you. The fee will then be an agreed-upon percentage. Depending upon the case, we may advance the costs of consultations and the costs of litigation, and of course we will discuss this with each potential client.
Put Your Trust in Us. Contact Us for a Free Consultation.
If you or a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice, time is of the essence. It is essential to have a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer on your side, especially since the laws are so complicated.
Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann is familiar with the law and thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome and getting you the compensation you deserve. With our experienced staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.
If you or your loved one has suffered from medical malpractice, do not delay. Consult Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling 1-800-326-9259 for a free consultation, or use our online contact form.
Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award. Cliff Rieders was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years. Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir. Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice. Cliff Rieders was involved in the writing of the Mcare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the state.
Cliff teaches the subject of medical malpractice at seminars attended by the leading lawyers in the state. Cliff Rieders is recognized as an outstanding authority in the medical malpractice field. Cliff has even testified before the legislature on medical malpractice laws. Rieders is a nationally Board Certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure, a cum laude graduate of New York University as well as Georgetown University Law Center. Rieders is admitted in Pennsylvania, New York State, District of Columbia and numerous federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is a life member of the American Law Institute which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States. Cliff Rieders is the lawyer that other lawyers call for counsel and advice in the medical and hospital malpractice and pharmaceutical/vitamin supplement fields. Cliff Rieders does substantial work in multi-district litigation in connection with pharmaceutical products and medical devices.
Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.