A Medical Malpractice Case Requires A Patient To Suffer Damages
Chris Powell serves Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas with convenient office locations in Scranton, Stroudsburg, Moscow, and Taylor. James F. Mundy, Esq. is one of Pennsylvania's most experienced malpractice lawyers and Powell Law's leading litigator in actions involving medical malpractice. Powell Law offers experienced and effective legal representation in personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers' compensation, disability, and criminal law cases.
Like most, if not all, personal injury matters, medical malpractice cases minimally require a duty, breach of duty, and causation. Medical malpractice cases also generally require damages or pecuniary loss. Despite a breach of duty and some injury caused by the defendant, a plaintiff may not recover unless she can prove that the defendant's breach caused a pecuniary injury. This should not be mistaken with the requirement that a plaintiff must prove harm to recover.
A medical malpractice claim may arise when a physician or healthcare professional commits medical negligence, which is a breach of the applicable standard of care. A standard of care is the generally accepted medical practice used by a group of medical professionals in the same geographic area for patients suffering from a specific medical condition. This standard may be modified based on other factors, such as age and prior medical history.
An act of medical negligence must directly result in injuries to a patient to ripen into a viable medical malpractice claim. Medical negligence is not enough. To recover, medical malpractice plaintiffs must prove their injuries caused them to suffer some pecuniary loss.
Physical injuries occurring as the result of allegedly negligent conduct are pecuniary losses when they require medical care and payment for such treatment. If you have medical bills, you have pecuniary, compensatory losses. These plaintiffs may be compensated for emotional (i.e., non-pecuniary losses) only If they can prove pecuniary loss.
Fast facts about damages in Pennsylvania medical malpractice cases: Pennsylvania has no damage caps for pecuniary and non-economic damages. Thus, Pennsylvania's medical malpractice laws do not limit the amount of damages a court may award in a medical malpractice case. State law does cap punitive damages at 200 percent of compensatory damages. Also, 25 percent of all punitive damages awarded must be placed into a special fund known as the MCARE Fund.