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Winning a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice or Hospital Malpractice Lawsuit – Medical Experts
Last updated: May 24, 2022
Medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania are some of the most complex types of cases due to the need for medical experts. In order to win a medical malpractice case in Philadelphia or the nearby counties of Delaware County, Montgomery County, etc., one or more medical experts will be necessary.
This is what makes medical malpractice a specialty. Most lawyers don’t practice medical malpractice law not only because of the often enormous costs of hiring medical experts but also the experience needed to succeed in these cases. Understanding the medicine and simplifying the issues are critical factors in winning these cases.
In the article below, our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers discuss:
- why expert testimony is required in Pennsylvania
- some of the legal requirements for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit
- different types of medical experts
- hospital malpractice claims
Expert Testimony is Necessary in Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Cases
Under Pennsylvania law, the party filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or their attorney is required to file a special certification, known as a Certificate of Merit. This certificate must be filed with the Complaint or within 60 days of filing the Complaint. It must affirm that a licensed professional has supplied a written statement indicating that there’s a reasonable probability the defendant’s medical treatment or care fell below the acceptable standard of care and caused harm.
This certificate and hiring a medical expert will be necessary in practically every medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania. Even in cases where negligence is simple or clear-cut (i.e., res ipsa loquitor cases), Pennsylvania courts would still require a medical expert. Proceeding without one all but guarantees a win for the defense. Visit the Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law Library for more info.
Medical Experts to Prove Both Liability & Damages
There’s a wide range of medical experts hired in medical malpractice cases. Here’s a short list of just some of the different types of medical experts:
- Primary care or family medicine doctors
- Specialists (Cardiologist, Pediatrics, Dermatology, OB-GYN, Maternal-Fetal, Neonatal, etc.)
- Emergency medicine
- Surgical experts
In most medical malpractice cases, multiple experts will be necessary. One expert may prove that the defendant-doctor was negligent, while another expert proves that the negligence led to the injury or damage.
For example, a Delaware County woman with skin cancer is misdiagnosed by her dermatologist. By the time the cancer is diagnosed, the cancer has spread to multiple areas. In this instance, a dermatology expert would be needed to establish that the treating dermatologist was negligent, i.e., their care fell below the acceptable standard of care applicable to dermatologists. A second expert in oncology would be necessary to show how the misdiagnosis impacted the patient’s treatment and outcome, or that the delay in diagnosis made a difference in the outcome.
The use of multiple experts isn’t limited to cancer misdiagnosis cases. In fetal or birth injury cases, an OB-GYN expert and a neonatal specialist may be required.
Using multiple experts isn’t always necessary. In less complex cases, a single medical expert may suffice. In a heart attack or stroke misdiagnosis case involving a family doctor, an expert in primary care or family medicine may be the only expert required.
In most cases, the hired expert will be in the same category or specialty as the defendant-doctor. This means being trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the medical area at issue in the case and also being sufficiently knowledgeable of the applicable standard of care. This isn’t always the case. For instance, a cardiologist may testify against a family doctor with respect to the standard of care in the treatment of a heart condition.
If the defendant-doctor is board certified in a specific area, the medical expert will also be board-certified in the same area. For example, in a case where a board-certified cardiologist failed to diagnose a heart attack, the patient or their family would probably need to hire a board-certified cardiologist. However, Pennsylvania courts may waive this requirement in cases where the medical expert has sufficient training and clinical or teaching experience in the given area.
Hospital Malpractice Cases Often Require Different Experts
Cases of hospital negligence or medical errors that occur in hospitals or emergency rooms often require multiple experts. Typically, that includes an expert in emergency medicine as well as an expert in hospital administration. Oftentimes, medical mistakes in emergency rooms happen not only because of medical negligence, but negligence on the part of the hospital itself. Hospital administration experts are often needed to establish the standards of care for patient safety, transfer or storage of medical information, proper staffing, etc.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Our medical malpractice lawyers focus on hospital malpractice, cancer misdiagnosis and other complex medical negligence cases. Since 2016, our law firm has been rated a Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report in the area of medical malpractice law. We’ve gone up against some of the largest hospitals in Philadelphia, Delaware County and Montgomery County and won millions of dollars in settlements and trial verdicts for our clients. Call for a free consultation at (610) 825-0500.
We Accept Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospitals in the Philadelphia Area
Cases Also Accepted Across Pennsylvania
Chestnut Hill Hospital
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Temple University Hospital
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland)
Delaware County Memorial Hospital (Drexel Hill, Upper Darby)
Springfield Hospital (Springfield)
Taylor Hospital (Ridley)
Abington Hospital (Abington, Lansdale)
Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr)
Einstein Medical (East Norriton, Elkins Park)
Holy Redeemer Hospital (Meadowbrook)
Lankenau Hospital (Wynnewood)
Suburban Community Hospital (Norristown)
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Phila., West Chester, East Norriton, Meadowbrook, Doylestown, Langhorne, Sellersville, etc.)
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
Shriner's Hospitals for Children
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