Medical Malpractice

Don’t let your claim turn into a pumpkin because you should have called a lawyer

The decision to file a lawsuit can be tricky. Generally, a person may only file a lawsuit within a limited time period, known as the statute of limitations. If you wait until the last minute, your claim might change from a lawsuit into a pumpkin on its way to the courthouse.

For the following personal injury claims, the statute of limitations is two years: Negligence, Toxic Tort, Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Products Liability, and Fraud. See 42 Pa. C. S. § 5524. This time limit begins to run on the date the injury occurred.

A lawyer can help you determine whether an exception applies. Exceptions have applied when an injury is not discovered until much later or could not be discovered until more than two years after the act that caused the harm. But in most cases, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, and you shouldn’t assume it’s longer.

A lawyer can also investigate the claims and explain the likelihood of success before being hurled into protracted litigation.

So talk to a lawyer about your case.

When you retain our law firm:

  1. We investigate your claim
  2. We evaluate the case in a holistic manner
  3. We prepare the most effective complaint possible
  4. We consider all of the potential claims
  5. We have time to address any procedural questions
  6. We make informed decisions that lead you to a successful result.

We believe it is best to retain a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your claim. Contact a lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC at 610-446-3457 for a free consultation.

 

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Answers to Common Questions About the Unwanted Side-Effects of Some Medicine

 So, you’ve taken a drug and experienced a side-effect. Most are minor and go away quickly. But others can be serious or fatal. As a result, we’ve put together the following questions and answers to help you understand your rights if you experience side-effects from medicine.

  • When a doctor prescribes medicine, do we have to read all the lengthy print-outs, pamphlets and warning labels?
    • Manufacturers or physicians may be held liable to pay damages caused by their failure to warn a patient about side-effects of medication. Federal law requires a manufacturer to provide warnings about potential risks on prescription labels and instructions. The strongest warnings a manufacturer must provide are black box warnings. Similarly, physicians must know about these warnings, and have a duty to inform the patient about them before prescribing the medicine.
  • What if you have an adverse reaction to a drug and believe that your doctor failed to take the proper steps or that the manufacturer didn’t warn you about the side-effects?
    • The failure to warn about potential side-effects may be a basis for a lawsuit against either the physician or manufacturer or both. If a manufacturer or a physician fails to warn to patient of a risk, then either may breach the “duty of care” to the patient. Expert testimony can establish that a drug caused an injury. See Stange v. Janssen Pharma. et al., 2018 PA Super 4 (Pa. Super. Jan. 8, 2018).
  • What should I do and what should my doctor do to reduce the possibility of these side effects?
    • First, a doctor should know the characteristics of the drug.
    • Second, the doctor must also know the safe amount of the drug to prescribe.
    • Third, you should tell your doctor about any medication you are taking.
    • Fourth, your doctor should advise you of “any dangers or side effects associated with the use of the drug.”
    • Fifth, the doctor should explain to you how and when to take the drug.

If you believe that a prescription caused you injuries, contact the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC. We can review your situation, and we work with other law firms that handle these types of claims.

 

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Superior Court Affirms that Jurors May Be Dismissed for Cause When There is the Prospect or Appearance of Partiality or Bias

In Cordes v. Assocs. of Internal Medicine, a divided Superior Court affirmed that jurors may be struck for cause for various reasons, including:
  • First, indirect relationships of a juror to a party with which the juror has had no direct contact, including connections through spouses with a potential (also indirect) employment-related interest in the outcome of the trial, may furnish a basis for per se exclusion.
  • Second, trial courts must err on the side of caution when confronted with such an indirect relationship;

  • Third, no matter the per se nature of the applicable test, the trial court retains discretion to identify and assess the quality of the specific relationship at hand, OKincluding the frequency or remoteness in time of the contacts, may dictate contrary results.

Click here to read the Opinion in Support of Reversal.

Click here to read the additional Opinion in Support of Reversal.

Click here to read the Dissenting Opinion.

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Read the Latest Pennsylvania Appellate Case Law

Our latest appellate newsletter, highlighting February 2014 published decisions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Superior Court and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, is now available. Just click here to read the latest case law on ethics, medical malpractice (jury instructions), workers’ compensation and sovereign immunity.

To receive our monthly newsletter summarizing Pennsylvania appellate decisions, click here. Or, you can sign up to receive notice of our blog posts or to receive our newsletters by filling in the appropriate forms in the right column.

Thanks,

Daniel J. Siegel, Esquire & Molly Barker Gilligan, Esquire

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Superior Court Opines on Medical Malpractice & Ethics/Disqualification of Counsel

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has ruled on two high profile matters, one a medical malpractice case (Matharu v. Muir) with a long appellate history, the other affirming that disqualification of counsel is appropriate when the attorney has acquired confidential information in a prior representation substantially related to the current pending matter (Dougherty v. Phila. Newspapers):

In Dougherty v. Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC, 2014 PA Super 24 (Pa.Super., February 11, 2014), the Superior Court held that appellate review is appropriate of an Order denying a Motion to Disqualify Counsel when a party avers facts establishing a colorable claim that the potential disclosure of attorney work product and the breach of the attorney-client privilege could result in irreparable harm. When the record demonstrates that counsel’s prior representation of the party is substantially related to the current matter, and that a member or members of counsel’s law firm acquired confidential information from the party, disqualification of counsel is appropriate.  Click here to read the opinion.  Click here to read Judge Donohue’s concurring statement.

In Matharu v. Muir, 2014 PA Super 29 (Pa.Super., February 21, 2014), the Superior Court affirmed its prior holding that when  a claim alleging negligence arising within the confines of the physician-patient relationship, and the averments of the Complaint do not assert any failure to intervene with a third party, Section 324A of the Restatement of Torts (2d), which requires an averment that the physician has undertaken “to render services to another which he should recognize as necessary for the protection of a third person,” does not apply. Click here to read the opinion.

To receive our monthly newsletter summarizing Pennsylvania appellate decisions, click here.

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New Pa. Appellate Cases Tackle Medical Malpractice Jury Instructions and Delay Damages

Jury Instructions – Error in Judgment In Passarello v. Grumbine, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an “error in judgment” jury instruction should never be given to the jury in a medical malpractice action. “If a defendant desires an instruction that conveys the principle that an unfortunate result does not by itself establish negligence, he or she may request from the trial court an instruction, in the appropriate case, that an unfortunate result does not be itself establish negligence. There is no need to resort to the use of ambiguous and problematic phrases such as ‘error in judgment’ or ‘mistake in judgment.'”

Click here to read the majority Opinion.

Click here to read Chief Justice Castille’s dissenting Opinion.

Click here to read Just Saylor’s concurring and dissenting Opinion.

Click here to read Justice Eakin’s dissenting Opinion.

Delay Damages – In Roth v. Ross, the Superior Court ruled that Pa.R.Civ.P. 238 delay damages should be awarded on future medical expenses.

Click here to read the Opinion.

To receive our monthly newsletter summarizing Pennsylvania appellate decisions, click here.

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