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Medical malpractice

What Is A Medical Malpractice Review Panel?

April 24, 2017 by James McHugh, Jr.
Medical Malpractice Review Panel

We trust our doctors to treat us, operate on us, and make good decisions about our healthcare. Most doctors uphold a very high standard of care, but unfortunately there are a few doctors who make egregious mistakes in treatment and care. When this occurs, patients have a right to seek compensation for the harm a doctor has caused. However, the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is becoming more complicated as some states are utilizing medical malpractice review panels.

What Is A Medical Malpractice Review Panel?

A review panel consists of several doctors tasked with analyzing medical records and other documents to determine whether or not medical malpractice occurred. Patients suffering medical malpractice must first bring their claims before a review panel before they are allowed to file medical malpractice lawsuits.

The panel on any particular case typically consists of doctors trained in the same specialty as the medical provider in question. If the review panel finds the doctor acted below the accepted standard of care, they must then determine if the lower standard of care caused the patient harm.

The Problem With Review Panels

Unlike a jury, doctors on a medical malpractice review panel are not screened for biases; and many, if not all, have biases that can lead them to side with doctors. Patients harmed by medical malpractice should have their cases heard in front of a judge or jury, but review panels prevent the majority of claims from ever making it to court.

Does Pennsylvania Use Review Panels?

Eighteen states currently require review panels in medical malpractice cases, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. States like Missouri are currently considering legislation that would require review panels. At this time, the state of Pennsylvania does not use review panels in medical malpractice lawsuits. Instead, the state uses certificates of merit, which serve a similar purpose, but are less limiting of patients’ claims.

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice in Philadelphia, contact the experienced personal injury law firm of Lopez McHugh LLP as soon as possible for a free and confidential consultation.

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