Understanding surgical error and your recourse

Surgeries are very complex procedures, and patients trust their doctors to complete them properly. Unfortunately, not all physicians are equal in skill, and some may end up injuring patients rather than helping them.

In the case of surgical error, a medical malpractice claim may be beneficial. Though it cannot undo the pain and issues that the error causes, it may serve as a beneficial form of recourse.

Definition of surgical error

In short, a surgical error is when a physician makes a mistake during surgery that causes additional harm to the patient. This can occur in various surgical cases. Even if it has been years since the surgery, a patient may file a claim within two years of learning of the discrepancy.

Burden of proof

In a malpractice case, the victim must prove negligence on behalf of the offending party. In the case of surgical error, the patient must show the following three things:

  •    There was a physician-patient relationship.
  •    The physician was negligent while providing treatment.
  •    The treatment was the direct cause of harm to the patient.

For a patient to be able to successfully show these things, it is critical to have proper information. This includes medical records from the doctor and hospital, expert medical witness testimony and any media such as video, pictures or scans. The witness will help to pinpoint where the physician went wrong, so this testimony is vital to the case.


Pennsylvania legislation details what qualifies as negligence, as well as how the courts must calculate compensation. Take time to review the law and understand how it may apply to your case. In the Pennsylvania law, there are certain stipulations that can alter your award amount. For example, if the court finds you negligent in any way, your settlement amount will decrease by the percentage of your negligence.

As you can see, the medical malpractice claim process is quite in-depth. However, with the right preparation, it is possible to garner the reward you deserve.

Written on behalf of Friedman Schuman. Contact our firm for a consultation to discuss your legal matter.

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