Liability in Reading Medical Malpractice Claims

Just like you can sue someone who seriously injures you by causing an auto accident, you can demand civil recovery from a doctor, nurse, or any other medical professional who directly hurts you or lets you suffer harm by giving you negligent treatment. However, negligence, in legal terms, has a different definition for doctors than it does for most other people. That can make holding someone legally liable for an injury caused by malpractice uniquely challenging.

Establishing liability in Reading medical malpractice claims is often a multi-step process that requires both a great deal of evidence and a great deal of knowledge about how Pennsylvania law approaches cases like this. Our medical malpractice attorneys can answer any questions you have about your legal options and work tirelessly to make sure everyone who played a role in harming you also plays a role in paying for your losses.

Defining the Standard of Care for a Doctor

Typically, someone is negligent when they injure someone else by violating a duty of care—in other words, by not acting the way any reasonable person would in that situation. Doctors, though, are only negligent when they violate an applicable standard of care, which is specifically what an equally qualified and experienced doctor would’ve done under the same circumstances.

This means two very important things are different about liability medical malpractice claims compared to other types of personal injury cases in Reading. First, doctors are not automatically liable for every mistake they make while treating a patient, even if that patient suffered physical harm as a direct result of the doctor’s actions. Second, the specific behavior expected of a doctor can change depending on their working conditions—for example, a doctor working in a hectic emergency room may be given more leeway for minor errors compared to a family doctor in their own private practice.

How Does State Law Approach Malpractice Liability?

Importantly, Pennsylvania law doesn’t let you file a medical malpractice claim at all unless you have a certificate of merit. This means that before you can formally file suit, you’ll need to contact at least one qualified medical expert, get them to agree that the doctor you want to sue breached a standard of care, and confirm that belief in a written and signed statement that you can present to a court.

If you don’t present a certificate of merit either with your initial complaint or no later than 60 days after filing that complaint, the court will likely refuse to hear your case at all. You’ll also need to have at least one medical expert—who can be but doesn’t have to be the same one who signed the certificate of merit—willing to testify on your behalf in trial, which is one of many things our legal team in Reading can organize during the medical malpractice liability case process.

A Reading Attorney Can Explain Medical Malpractice Liability in More Detail

This is a brief overview of how liability in Reading medical malpractice claims works. Holding a doctor accountable for harming you through their own misconduct can be extremely challenging in practice. Fortunately, you have help available from our seasoned legal team with every step of your claim, from gathering initial evidence to meeting all the requirements for filing placed on you by state law. Call us today to get started.