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Medical Malpractice Defense in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania address – by appointment only:
1515 Market Street Suite 1200
Philadelphia, PA 19102
888-680-1745

Medical malpractice allegations are some of the most severe legal threats that healthcare providers can face in Pennsylvania. A verdict or even a settlement can cost over a million dollars in some cases, and even the merest allegation of malpractice can hurt your professional reputation. You may even face an action against your medical license.

Lynette Byrd
Attorney Lynette Byrd
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Defense Team Lead
Former DOJ Attorney envelope iconContact Lynette
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Defense Team Lead envelope iconContact Nick
Kevin M. Sheridan
Kevin M. Sheridan
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Defense Consultant
Former FBI Special Agent
Wade McFaul
Wade McFaul
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Defense Consultant
Former HHS-OIG Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge

The medical malpractice defense team at the national law firm Oberheiden P.C. has two law offices in Pennsylvania to represent healthcare providers across the state:

1515 Market Street Suite 1200
Philadelphia, PA 19102

429 Fourth Ave. Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Call them at (888) 680-1745 or contact them online to get effective medical malpractice defense lawyers on your side.

Who We Represent

The medical malpractice attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. legally represent healthcare providers of all sorts, including individuals as well as corporations or other legal entities in Pennsylvania.

Some examples of the types of medical professionals and health care professionals that we have represented in the past have been:

  • Doctors
  • Physicians
  • General practitioners
  • Specialists
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Physician assistants
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Dentists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Medical testing technicians and other lab workers

While medical malpractice can only be committed by a living, breathing person, if that person is an employee of a healthcare facility or entity, then that entity can be held vicariously liable for the malpractice through the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Under this doctrine, employers must cover the costs of their employees’ negligence, so long as it happened in the scope of their employment – which is nearly always the case in medical malpractice claims. Therefore, corporate healthcare providers can also get sued for medical malpractice and professional negligence.

In the past, our Medical Malpractice Defense Group at Oberheiden P.C. has represented health care providers such as:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Clinics
  • Dentist offices
  • Hospitals
  • Surgical facilities
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Emergency rooms
  • Nursing homes
  • Medical schools
  • Laboratories

By now, many of these healthcare facilities have taken steps to insulate themselves from the threats of a malpractice claim by hiring fewer employees and more independent contractors. If you represent a healthcare facility and would like to look into these measures as well, the healthcare defense and compliance team at Oberheiden P.C. can help.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle in Pennsylvania

A medical malpractice claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit. The plaintiffs in all personal injury claims need to prove three things by a preponderance of the evidence in order to establish the defendant’s liability:

  1. The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care
  3. That breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries

Medical malpractice cases revolve heavily on the standard of care that the healthcare provider needed to uphold. The standard of care is what the provider needed to do in order to satisfy their duty of care to the plaintiff, the alleged victim.

Plaintiffs will argue in their medical malpractice lawsuit that the standard of care that they were entitled to receive was very high. They may even believe that they are entitled to care that is “better than average,” as if half of the doctors in Pennsylvania commit malpractice all the time.

The true standard of care is much lower: It is the type of care that a reasonably skilled and competent practitioner of a similar level of expertise would provide. This generally takes an expert witness to establish, and can change depending on your specialty: General practitioners are expected to uphold a lower standard of care than specialists who are working in their field.

Some examples of the sorts of conduct that can amount to medical malpractice are:

  • Misdiagnosing a patient when the symptoms were clear
  • Failing to diagnose a patient after missing patent medical symptoms
  • Performing wrong-site or wrong-patient surgeries and other surgical errors
  • Leaving medical equipment or other foreign objects inside a patient during a surgery
  • Prescribing the wrong drug to a patient, or prescribing the drug to the wrong patient and other medication errors
  • Miscalculating the amount of anesthesia to use so that the patient wakes up during a surgery
  • Performing a surgery that is not medically necessary
  • Discharging a patient when their medical condition still posed a serious threat to their well-being
  • Mixing up lab results
  • Failing to order medical tests when the symptoms clearly indicated that they were needed
  • Using excessive force during a delivery and injuring the baby

The Costs of Liability

Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases that can show that you breached your duty of care and that this caused their injuries then have to show the extent of their losses. In serious cases, like those involving a birth injury or in wrongful death cases with a young victim, the compensation that they could be entitled to receive can be massive – it is not uncommon for medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit verdicts or settlements to exceed a million dollars.

But the costs of the lawsuit that are paid to the victim are not the only ones that medical malpractice defendants will face.

Both institutions and healthcare professionals are bound to suffer losses to their business income due to the negative publicity that the medical malpractice lawsuits will cause. No one wants to be the victim of medical malpractice, and a prior incident will deter patients from coming to your facility.

Individuals will also see their medical malpractice insurance premiums increase and could even face legal action against their medical license if the incident was severe or if there have been several now.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law and Oberheiden P.C.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in Pennsylvania?

The statute of limitations provides the timeframe during which the victim of the alleged malpractice must file their lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is complex.

Typically, it is two years from the date that the victim discovered or should have discovered their losses, or seven years from the date of the malpractice, whichever comes first (42 Pa. Stat. § 5524(2) and 40 Pa. Stat. § 1303.513).

However, if the malpractice claim is over a foreign object that was left inside the patient during a surgery, the seven-year maximum does not apply (40 Pa. Stat. § 1303.513(b)). The seven-year maximum also does not apply to instances of medical malpractice that could not have been discovered until much later (Yanakos v. UPMC, 218 A.3d 1214 (2019)).

If the malpractice was fatal, the resulting wrongful death lawsuit can be filed within two years of the patient’s death, not two years of the malpractice (40 Pa. Stat. § 1303.513(d)).

Finally, if the victim of the malpractice was under 18 at the time of the incident, the statute of limitations tolls, or does not begin to tick down, until the minor’s 18th birthday (42 Pa. Stat. § 5533). This means healthcare providers who commit medical malpractice during the delivery of a child could face a lawsuit for it up to 20 years later.

Are There Damage Caps?

Only for punitive damages.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the country that does not limit how much compensation medical malpractice plaintiffs can recover in a lawsuit. Many other states cap, or limit, how much victims can recover in noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering or for loss of companionship, because of how difficult these damages are for the jury to state in a dollar amount.

Pennsylvania does, however, limit the punitive damages that can be assessed in medical malpractice claims to twice the amount of the compensation that was awarded, unless the malpractice was intentional. These damages can only be awarded if you acted willfully or with reckless indifference, and cannot be assessed against the employing entity through vicarious liability (40 Pa. Stat. § 1303.505).

Why Shouldn’t I Use the Defense Lawyer Provided By My Medical Malpractice Insurance Company?

Because your insurance company’s lawyer will act in the best interests of the insurance company. While these will often align with your own interests, there are circumstances where it will not. In these cases, the lawyer will be a threat to your future, not a protector of it.

What Makes the Medical Malpractice Defense Team at Oberheiden P.C. Different?

Oberheiden P.C. is one of the only firms that exclusively employs senior-level lawyers on its legal team.

Other firms attract clients with top legal talent, but then delegates their clients’ cases down to junior associates, who then do most of the work with what is often minimal oversight.

That does not happen at Oberheiden P.C. because we do not have junior associates, or even any paralegals, on our staff. All of the work on your case is performed by a senior-level attorney with years of experience handling similar cases.

Why Don’t You Call Yourself the Best Medical Malpractice Defense Firm in Pennsylvania?

Because these sorts of statements have more impact when they come from our prior clients. You can read their testimonials here.


Legal Defense Strategies We Can Use

A medical malpractice allegation or lawsuit, however, does not necessarily mean that you will be held liable. There are numerous legal defenses that you can use to counter the allegations.

Just a few of the ones that the medical malpractice defense attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. have used in the past have been:

  • The statute of limitations has passed
  • The patient gave their informed consent to the procedure
  • Malpractice occurred, but you were not the one who committed it
  • Malpractice occurred, but it was not the cause of the victim’s losses
  • You did, in fact, uphold the appropriate standard of care

This last defense is often the strongest, as it combats the claims of medical malpractice head-on. Proving that you did not commit medical malpractice in court by showing that you provided the care expected of a reasonably skilled and competent practitioner would not just protect you from the liability that the lawsuit threatens; it would also better position you for any potential legal threats down the road related to the incident.

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