Stewart L. Cohen
Whether in the courtroom or the community, Stewart L. Cohen...
When you have been injured by a medical care professional, a number of things will need to be proven to support your claim. This requires an investigating attorney to thoroughly look into the facts surrounding your claim in order to get to the root cause of your injury. A doctor-client relationship will need to be proven, evidence that the doctor or nursing staff was negligent will need to be collected, as will proof that the medical professional’s negligence caused the injury.
Evidence supporting the fact that the injury has led to specific damages suffered by you, including evidence of your physical or mental pain, will need to be collected. If you have medical bills or have lost wages as a result of your injury, this information will need to be recorded by the investigating attorney also. Only a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers with the resources and wherewithal to streamline these investigations can do your case the justice it deserves.
In many instances of medical malpractice, the injury could have been avoided if proper care had been taken. That’s why it is important to seek outside consultation with specialists and trusted medical experts to get a second opinion on the treatment you received that led to your medical malpractice injuries. This could involve receiving a medical evaluation from a specialist with experience handling the specific type of procedure or surgery you underwent.
Consultation with health care center administrators, nurses and staff will be necessary to verify what practices the hospital or care center is supposed to adhere to, and then comparing that information to the facts of your case will be important to building a strong case as well. Based on the facts of your malpractice case, the investigating attorney may need to reach out to medical device specialists, designers or biomedical engineers for testimony related to any defective or improperly implanted devices or prosthetics that may be causing your injuries.
With so many doctors and hospitals in the Philadelphia area, many medical malpractice claims are brought to our firm each year. At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we work hard to provide clients with the representation they deserve to get a successful resolution to their medical malpractice claims. We work closely with medical experts, highly trained doctors and nursing specialists to build a strong case and have the resources to collect good evidence in support of your claim.
For over four decades, the lawyers at Cohen, Placitella & Roth have brought an unwavering commitment and dedication to the legal representation of individuals and families devastated by injury or death caused by unsafe products, professional malpractice or negligent and reckless misconduct.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® annually reports Cohen, Placitella & Roth’s peer rating-the highest AV®-—”a testament to professional excellence.” Since the inaugural U.S. News & World Report ‘Best Law Firms’ edition in 2010, Cohen, Placitella & Roth has been rated by its peers as one of the top tier class action, personal injury and mass tort law firms in the country.
“Mr. Cohen, I cannot thank you enough for your help, support and guidance (regarding my brother’s child birth injuries). I am not sure how we would support him without your assistance.”
A $14.5 million recovery in a medical negligence case for a child who suffered brain damage as a result of the physicians’ failure to properly manage post operative care.
Anesthesia errors are often the result of negligence on behalf of a medical professional performing a surgery, and can lead to serious complications during surgery, or, in the worst cases, death. Anyone who has sustained injuries or lost a loved one due to anesthesia errors should reach out to an attorney for help recovering due compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Summary: Doctors have a high duty of care when treating a pregnant mother and delivering her baby. When this duty of care is breached, the infant may be at risk of serious injury. Sometimes, this injury is permanent, and can significantly impair a child’s quality of life. If medical malpractice has caused your child’s birth injury or trauma, our experienced lawyers at the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. will help you to prove that the doctor in your case violated the standard of care your family deserved, and will fight for your rights to compensation.
While individuals only visit an emergency room to receive life-saving care, many leave with serious injuries, or pass away in the emergency room, as a result of the negligence of an emergency room doctor or other healthcare professional. As such, those who find themselves in this situation should contact an attorney immediately for help recovering adequate compensation.
Negligence on behalf of doctors or other healthcare personnel who work at a hospital can often lead to serious injuries or death of visiting patients. Anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of a hospital employee is advised to reach out to a skilled attorney today for help recovering compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Often times, the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare professional working at a hospital can lead to injuries or deaths of patients. In this case, the injured patient, or the survivors of the deceased, may be able to file a medical malpractice claim to recover compensation as a result of the damages suffered.
Medical devices include everything from hospital testing and monitoring equipment to implanted devices such as pacemakers and artificial joints. While these products can perform lifesaving functions for patients with serious medical conditions, they are loosely regulated, and severe and potentially fatal complications can happen when errors occur. At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys fight for the rights of those who have been victims of defective medical devices and errors. We can advise you on how to hold device manufacturers and medical providers accountable, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.
When a patient is given the wrong type or wrong dosage of medication, or is given a medication that not safe for them to take due to the use of another medication or the presence of a particular health condition, the patient may suffer serious harm. When this happens, the patient – or their surviving family members – have the right to pursue compensation for any economic or noneconomic losses. Working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount. Call the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. to schedule your free case review today.
Medical mistakes and errors are on the rise throughout the country, and cases involving misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of medical conditions are increasingly common. Medical providers may fail to diagnose symptoms of major illnesses or diseases, fail to detect emergency situations requiring immediate care, or mistakenly diagnose and treat patients for conditions they do not have, resulting in serious side effects. In all of these situations, the damage to patients and their families can be severe. At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys can advise you on how to hold medical providers accountable for the mistakes they make, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.
After an operation, patients are still at risk of suffering serious complications or injuries. Specifically, patients are at high risk of suffering severe infections or blood clots. These are both very dangerous conditions that can be deadly in some cases. Medical professionals must take proper precautions to reduce the risks of any postoperative complications. If they fail to do so, they are guilty of medical malpractice and they should be held liable for any resulting damages. If you or a loved one has been the victim of postoperative negligence, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
All surgeries come with inherent risks. Unfortunately, a significant portion of that risk comes from the possibility that a surgeon or hospital staff member might make a mistake. Often, these mistakes occur simply because of inattention on the part of medical professionals. When a surgical error does take place, the results can be devastating, even deadly, for the patient. Surgical errors are textbook examples of medical malpractice. Victims or surgical errors deserve compensation that accounts for the full extent of their damages. If you or a family member was recently the victim of a surgical error, you need to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
Let us put our years of experience to work for you.
Contact Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC To Handle Your Medical Malpractice Case Today. When you need a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney with the resources, confidence and experience required to help you fight for your rights, Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC is the right choice for you.
Malpractice means the failure of a professional to properly perform a duty owed to a client, (so called breaching the standard of care) owed to the client. When the malpractice involves a healthcare professional, this is called “medical malpractice.”
The “standard of care” that is used differs depending upon the type of professional involved, and most states have even defined standard of care in statute. When talking about medical malpractice, standard of care typically means the degree of care that another reasonable medical professional, of the same degree and training, would have exercised in a similar situation. If the standard of care is breached, medical malpractice has occurred.
There are four elements of a medical malpractice case – an attorney can help you to analyze these elements to determine whether or not you have a case, and if so, how strong that case is. In order to bring forth a successful claim, you must prove that the healthcare provider in question (against whom you are filing a lawsuit) owed you a duty of care; that the duty of care was breached; that the breach of duty of care caused you an injury that you would not have sustained otherwise; and that you suffered actual damages as a result.
If you are unsure of whether or not you have a case, scheduling a free consultation with an attorney is advised.
Medical malpractice can occur anytime a doctor fails to treat, or act in regards to, a patient in a manner that is reasonable and meets the standard of care. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:
No, signing a consent form does not waive your right to bring forth a medical malpractice lawsuit. In fact, lack of informed consent – i.e. a patient signing a consent form without properly being explained what it is they are consenting to – can be a claim in and of itself. Further, even if you consent to a procedure, you are not consenting to substandard care, nor are you waiving your right to pursue legal action. If you signed something prior to a procedure and you were harmed, you should contact an attorney. Laws vary state-by-state, so it is important that a legal professional review all documents relevant to your claim before moving forward.
The law does not require that you hire a medical malpractice attorney if you want to bring forth a civil action, but doing so is highly recommended. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you to establish the four elements of a medical malpractice claim, can identify expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, and will demonstrate the full extent of damages you suffered. An attorney can also negotiate on your behalf and help you to understand the amount of money you are able to recover, as well as the laws surrounding that recovery.
Using expert medical witnesses will be a key part of proving a breach of the standard of care and proving that you have suffered damages. In fact, testimony from a medical expert, or multiple experts, is required in nearly all medical malpractice cases. Depending upon the details of your case, you may need to find a specialist to testify, which may prove difficult. Further, experts often charge high fees for their services. Our law firm will not only find the best experts to build your case, but will always handle the cost of doing so as well.
Ideally, your medical malpractice case will settle out of court. When a case settles out of court, it is often less emotional for the patient, less time consuming, and less expensive.
However, in some cases, an out of court settlement cannot be reached. This may be because the medical professional in questions refuses to accept liability or pay a settlement offer, or because the opposing side believes that you should receive much less money that you are entitled to. While we will do everything we can to reach an out of court settlement, in some cases, going to court will be inevitable. If your case goes to court, we will be prepared to go to trial.
As long as a plaintiff in a suit can prove the four elements of a malpractice claim (existence of duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages), then a tort can be pursued. In most cases, though, clients are advised to only file a medical malpractice claim when their losses justify the time and expense of a claim. This is very individual to each claim. For example, a patient who has only suffered $100 in damages may have a claim, but pursuing that claim may not be worth the time or cost. If you have questions about whether or not you have a strong case that is worth pursuing, our lawyers will review your claim for free.
A cap on damages means a limitation on the amount of money that you can receive in a medical malpractice claim. Each state is responsible for setting its own damages cap, and some states have eliminated a cap altogether, or eliminated a cap on certain damages types.
For example, in Pennsylvania, there is no cap on the amount of economic or noneconomic damages that a plaintiff can recover in a medical malpractice claim. Economic damages are the value of actual losses, like medical bills or lost wages, suffered by the plaintiff; noneconomic damages refer to compensation for things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
While there is not a cap on economic or noneconomic damages, there is a cap on punitive damages in the state. Punitive damages are damages that are intended to punish the defendant. In Pennsylvania, the law states that punitive damages cannot exceed more than 200 percent of compensatory damages unless the misconduct was intentional.
If you suspect that malpractice has occurred, the best thing that you can do is to schedule a free case review with an experienced attorney near you as soon as possible. Because there is a statute of limitations on filing a medical malpractice action, it is imperative that you take action sooner rather than later. In addition to the statute of limitations, another reason why it is critical to move quickly on filing a malpractice claim is that evidence pertinent to your case may be destroyed with time.
Of course, filing a medical malpractice claim sooner rather than later also means that if your case is successful, you will recover compensation sooner.
In addition to meeting with an attorney, start keeping a journal documenting the malpractice and your damages. Keep detailed notes about any doctors appointments you had leading up to, and following, the malpractice, and what was discussed during those appointments. Begin collecting all relevant evidence to your claim, such as health records.
The amount of time that it takes to resolve a claim varies on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, evidence may be available and clear, and the healthcare professional in question may want to settle the matter as soon as possible.
In other cases, whether or not malpractice occurred may be harder to determine, and the healthcare professional may refuse to settle.
How long a case will take to resolve may be as short as a few months, or as long as more than a year. The sooner that you contact an attorney, however, the better your chances are of a more timely resolution.
No, not all medical mistakes are considered medical malpractice. Some medical mistakes are not serious enough to be considered a deviation from the standard of care, and such mistakes may not leave a patient with serious harm.
Further, in order to be considered malpractice, a mistake must cause a patient an injury or loss that they would not have otherwise experienced. For example, if a patient’s chances of experiencing a known complication is 9 out of 10 regardless of whether or not there was negligence during the surgery, the patient cannot sue if the complication occurs.
In order for a malpractice claim to be pursued, the medical professional in question must have failed to do what a reasonable professional in the same position would have done. Misdiagnosing a condition that showed all of the signs of another condition, and that the doctor tested for and followed up on, then, may not be malpractice. On the other hand, if a doctor misdiagnosed a condition because they failed to properly assess a patient’s symptoms, run tests, or refer them to a specialist, and if the patient suffered harm as a direct result, a case for malpractice can be made.
Each state is responsible for establishing its own statute of limitations, or the amount of time that a plaintiff has to bring forth a lawsuit before damages can no longer be pursued. It is imperative that you bring forth your claim within the statute of limitations; if you do not, you will likely be barred from recovering compensation at all. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice action is two years from the date that the patient discovers – or reasonably should have discovered – that injury occurred.
Pursuing a medical malpractice case can be expensive. Hiring experts, paying staff to investigate and build a case, lawyers’ fees, and court fees can all add up. At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we never want the cost of a medical malpractice action to be a deterrent for a client who has been harmed at the hands of a medical professional. As such, our law firm handles all costs of pursuing your lawsuit, and will never charge you for our services until your case is successful. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that if your case is settled and you recover damages, we will collect a portion of that award. If your case is not successful, you will not owe us a cent for fees or costs.
If you are pursuing a medical malpractice action, you will need to obtain a copy of your medical records. Luckily, this is usually easy to do. This is because per federal law, you have the right to access your medical records, and can request paper copies or electronic health records. Health records that are protected under the law include lab results, billing information, and other medical test results. These things must be provided to you free of charge. Keep in mind that one type of medical record that you do not have a right to are a provider’s psychotherapy notes.
In order to recover your medical records, you must be the patient in question, or the personal representative of the patient. Because most healthcare providers are required to keep your health records on file, you can request a copy of your healthcare records by contacting the facility/provider directly.
The amount of money that you will be able to recover if you have been a victim of medical malpractice, and if your case is successful, will vary on a case-by-case basis. That being said, you are entitled to the full value of your losses. Types of damages that you may be able to recover include:
In addition to the above, you can recover compensation for any other types of economic or noneconomic damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available if the malpractice was committed with intent, malice, or gross recklessness.
It can be very hard to determine what the chances are that your lawsuit will be successful and that you will recover your full settlement amount. The best way to get an idea of what your claim’s chances are is to meet with an experienced malpractice attorney who has successfully handled malpractice claims in the past and understands the elements of a strong case. At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., if we do not believe that your case is worth pursuing and that you will not recover compensation, we will inform you of this and will not waste your time.
Liability in a medical malpractice case will likely depend upon who breached the duty of care owed to you, and their relationship with another party, such as an employer. Typically, an employer bears responsibility for an employer’s action, so long as those actions occurred within the scope of employment. This is known as vicarious liability, or as the doctrine of respondeat superior.
In a medical malpractice case, this may mean that an individual healthcare practitioner is not liable for the malpractice; instead, their employer, such as a hospital, may be held liable instead.
Proving the elements of a medical malpractice case can be difficult. The following reviews the four elements and how to prove them—
You may have to go to court in order to get the settlement offer that you deserve. While we always pursue out of court strategies first to save our clients time and money, going to court may be unavoidable. Out of court, a judge is not involved in a settlement; rather, both parties have autonomy in negotiating for a settlement amount, and accepting or rejecting settlement offers.
In court, you will have to present your case before the court, and sometimes before a jury. Then, whether or not you receive a settlement amount, and how much is received, will be determined by the court. Once a verdict is issued, it is non-negotiable, although the defendant may be appeal to appeal a verdict in some cases.
No, you cannot reopen a medical malpractice case after you have accepted a settlement offer. The only time that you could pursue a medical malpractice case after accepting a settlement is if you discovered new injuries related to a separate act of malpractice that were not addressed in the first malpractice action.
When you accept a settlement, you sign a release of claim. This means that in exchange for the settlement offer, you agree to release the defendant from any further actions, thereby forfeiting your right to pursue damages. If you have been offered a settlement by your doctor’s insurance company, it is very important that you understand your right to reject this offer, and that you contact an attorney immediately for legal counsel.
Yes, you can file your medical malpractice lawsuit against any medical or healthcare professional who acted in a negligent manner, thereby causing or contributing to your injuries. This may include:
If you think that you may have a claim against a party other than one listed above, contact our law office and we can help you to determine the best course of action moving forward.
No, you cannot sue for what might have happened during a medical procedure. While we acknowledge that the possibility of what might have happened can be extremely distressing and discomforting, you can only file a lawsuit in the event that you have suffered actual damages. The potential of damages is not enough to bring forth a civil action.
A misdiagnosis (or a delayed diagnosis) is considered to be medical malpractice in the event that the misdiagnosis led to actual harm. For example, if your cancer was misdiagnosed (x-rays were misread, or was not received at all) and if as a result of that misdiagnosis your treatment was delayed and the cancer spread, making it more difficult to treat and causing you economic and noneconomic losses, the yes – you may file a malpractice suit. If the misdiagnosis did not result in serious harm – i.e. you were diagnosed with a simple cold, when really you had strep throat, which healed on its own in two weeks’ time – a medical malpractice claim is probably not appropriate.
Preponderance of the evidence refers to the amount of evidence that the plaintiff is required to prove during a civil case (in a criminal case, the “burden of proof” is “beyond a reasonable doubt”). In Pennsylvania, preponderance of the evidence means that more than 50 percent of the evidence supports the plaintiff’s claim, or that the plaintiff’s claim is true more likely than not. Essentially, while there is no room for doubt about a defendant’s guilt in a criminal case, in a civil case, the plaintiff must prove that it is 51 percent (or more) likely that the defendant committed an act of malpractice, and that the malpractice was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
In a state that follows a pure contributory negligence rule, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation from a defendant in the event that the plaintiff is found to be even one percent at fault for their injuries. Jurisdictions that use contributory negligence include Washington D.C., Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Rather than contributory negligence, most states follow either a pure comparative fault, or a modified comparative fault law (Pennsylvania follows the latter). In a pure comparative fault state, plaintiffs can pursue compensation even if they are 99 percent at fault, and the damages that they recover will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. In a modified comparative fault state, plaintiffs can recover damages assuming they are no more than 50 or 51 (depending upon the state) percent at fault, and their damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
If you are pursuing a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania, then, you can seek damages so long as you did not contribute to your injuries at a percentage greater than 51 percent.
Before a doctor implements a plan for your care, for example, a surgery, they must obtain your informed consent. This means that you have the right to be fully informed about the course of treatment, including any potential risks associated with the treatment as well as alternatives, and that you must give your consent to the treatment knowing of these risks. During the process of giving informed consent, you are told about the risks and benefits of the treatment/procedure, you can ask any questions, and you are given time to think about your decision moving forward.
A doctor has a legal obligation to get your informed consent. If you do not give informed consent and suffer harm, you may be able to file a medical malpractice action.
An attorney may turn down a medical malpractice case for a number of reasons. The most common reasons include: The amount of damages that the plaintiff will recover are not enough to justify the cost of pursuing the claim, especially if litigation is necessary; whether or not the healthcare professional breached the standard of care owed to the plaintiff is questionable, and there are strong defenses to this allegation; or/and causation is unclear, and the defense has a strong argument against a plaintiff’s claim of causation.
At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., if we believe that you have a strong case, we will not turn it down. We are not afraid of a challenge, and will work hard on your behalf.
Also known as an Affidavit or Merit or Offer of Proof, the filing of a Certificate of Merit is a legal requirement that that is meant to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits that are filed. The Certificate of Merit is an opinion from a medical expert/certified physician offering evidence that the physician has reviewed the plaintiff’s medical records, and based on the review, believes that there is a strong argument for an act of malpractice committed by the defendant based on the fact that evidence suggests the defendant deviated from the appropriate standard of care. The Certificate of Merit is required before the lawsuit can proceed. In Pennsylvania, a Certificate of Merit must be filed within 60 days of the date that the complaint (malpractice action) is filed.
The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, which is the unified state court system for Pennsylvania, annually reports medical malpractice case filing statistics for our state, as well as statistics related to medical malpractice jury and non-jury verdicts by year. Some of the more interesting facts include:
There are so many health care centers and providers in the Philadelphia area, and a number of university hospitals where Philadelphians go to obtain much needed care. Inevitably accidents, mistakes, and oversights made my medical staff will undoubtedly occur.
Stewart L. Cohen
Whether in the courtroom or the community, Stewart L. Cohen...
Harry M. Roth
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Joel S. Rosen
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