Pennsylvania Hospital Negligence Lawyer

Hospitals and their medical employees must follow a generally accepted standard of care when treating patients. When negligent actions or omissions harm you or a loved one, a Pennsylvania hospital negligence lawyer can help you recover compensation for your losses. Our dedicated medical malpractice attorneys have experience with building solid cases against negligent entities. Do not hesitate to call us today for a free consultation.

Hospitals Owe a Duty of Care

To prove that a hospital was negligent, a plaintiff must first establish that the facility owed a duty of care. When this is the case, the plaintiff must prove that the hospital or its personnel breached that duty by deviating from generally accepted standards. In addition, the breach of the duty of care must have increased the risk of injury or harm that is suffered.

The patient must have suffered damages as a result of the harm, which can include economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses can be medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic losses constitute loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.

Corporate Negligence

Disputes in many hospital negligence cases are centered on whether the hospital breached its duty of care that it owed to the patient. Pennsylvania has adopted the theory of corporate negligence to evaluate if a hospital is liable for negligence, according to Thompson v. Nason Hospital, 591 A.2d 703 (Pa. 1991).

Under the corporate negligence doctrine, a hospital facility can be liable when it does not meet the standard of care to ensure the patient’s safety. Thompson v. Hospital outlines four duties of care:

  • The duty to hire competent personnel
  • The duty to oversee all employees practicing medicine at the facility
  • The duty to use reasonable care when maintaining facilities and equipment
  • The duty to implement and adhere to adequate policies that ensure patients receive quality care

To prove hospital negligence in Pennsylvania under the corporate negligence doctrine, a lawyer must establish that a hospital deviated from at least one of these care duties.

Time Limits for Hospital Negligence Claims

Most plaintiffs must file a lawsuit to recover damages for claims within two years of the negligent action. The statute of limitations starts to run on the date the patient discovered, or should have discovered, the harm. A typical scenario where courts may delay the tolling of the statute of limitations would be if a doctor left a surgical instrument in a person’s body and the person had no reasonable basis to suspect it. In this case, the alleged victim may not be aware of their injury until much later.

The hospital negligence attorney can also help identify exceptions to the statute of limitations. The law provides that a minor patient injured due to a licensed medical professional’s negligence has two years from the date they turn 18 to file a claim, regardless of how young they were when it occurred.

The 60-Day Deadline to File a Certificate of Merit

Plaintiffs pursuing hospital negligence claims must also concurrently file a signed certificate of merit with their complaint, as required by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1042.3. A properly qualified medical professional must have provided a written statement that there is a reasonable chance that the hospital’s care was outside acceptable professional standards and increased the risk of harm.

If the certificate of merit is not filed with the complaint, it must be filed no later than 60 days after. Courts also can extend the filing deadline for the certificate of merit by 60 days upon a showing of good cause.

A hospital negligence attorney in Pennsylvania can help navigate the filing process for certificates of merit.

Reach Out to a Hospital Negligence Attorney in Pennsylvania Today

When you or a loved one were injured or suffered harm due to a hospital facility or agent, please get in touch with a Pennsylvania hospital negligence lawyer as soon as possible for a consultation.

An attorney can advise you about your deadline to file, the merits of your claims, relevant documentation, and the next steps in the process. Contact us today.

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