Doctors are universally respected, with good reason, and hold a high place in our society. However, even the very best doctors have bad days. Unfortunately, when a doctor has a careless moment or day, there can be catastrophic results to the patient. For example, the failure to order proper and necessary testing can lead to an untimely diagnosis of a disease or condition. Unfortunately, with many such diseases or condition, timely diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. When a doctor makes a mistake with such life-altering conditions, the only recourse is often through a civil suit. These are called “medical malpractice” or “professional negligence” cases.
The first step in pursuing this case, under the laws of Pennsylvania, is to have the case reviewed by a member of the medical community in order to determine the merits of the case. In fact, under the laws of Pennsylvania, attorneys must follow Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1042.3 and file what is called a “Certificate of Merit” at, or shortly after the time of filing the lawsuit. This rule requires plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions to have the case reviewed by “an appropriate licensed professional,” in other words, a medical professional in the same or very similar field as the defendant.
This rule has two general effects. The first is that it avoids the filing of “frivolous lawsuits,” since the matter will have been carefully reviewed by both an attorney and an appropriately licensed member of the medical community. The second is that it requires attorneys to weigh the damages suffered by a patient and make careful decisions on which cases are worth pursuing. Unfortunately, neither the best doctors nor the best lawyers are able to “turn back time,” and provide a patient with the quality of life they had previously enjoyed, and would continue to enjoy without the carelessness of the treating medical provider. Instead, the only recourse is often monetary damages.
While these cases do have a two year statute-of-limitations, one must seek counsel well before the statute of limitations will expire, in order to allow time for proper investigation and medical review. If you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to speak to a well-qualified, experienced attorney at the earliest opportunity. Do not delay; call us today.
For more information on medical malpractice cases and how they work, contact Feldstein, Grinberg, Lang & McKee, P.C.