Legal Question in Personal Injury in Pennsylvania

Hi, my brother was injured in a car accident. As a result, he had to have hip replacement. The other insure is taking full responsibility for the rear end accident. He has full tort. The procedure went well. However, while doing inpatient therapy, which involved climbing stairs, he fell off the step, as the therapist was not standing near enough to prevent the fall, and seemed disintered in even being there. He now needs additional surgery to repair torn ligaments in the foot/ankle area as a result of the fall. Our attorney is reluctant in suing the therapist/ hospital, and wants to incorporate it into our suit against the other drivers auto insurance. Would it make sense to have two different suits here, or is this the proper way to do it. Thanks

Asked on 6/22/12, 6:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Solomon Law Office of Andrew A. Solomon

You should listen to your attorney. Any injuries that stem from the original car accident injury are recoverable in the auto case. For example, if you go to the hospital and then develop an infection from unsanitary conditions at the hospital, you are still entitled to collect for those damages from the car accident.'

A medical malpractice case, is extremely expensive due to the need for expert witnesses. Also, juries are much more likely to award damages in a motor vehicle accident case than a medical malpractice case.

On the other hand, your attorney should make sure that there is enough Motor vehicle insurance available to fully compensate your brother. If there is, for example, only $15,000 of coverage available in the MV case, this is certainly not enough to fully compensate your brother. If there is 100 to 200,000 available than that would be different.

The second case against the hospital is a tougher case to prove and more expensive, but depending on the damages resulting from the malpractice, it might be advisable to get a second opinion.

Lawyers today are hesitant to get involved in medical malpractice cases because they are so expensive to handle and usually won't become involved in such a case in the absence of catastrophic, permanent injuries.

The key question your brother must ask his lawyer is "how much coverage, both liability and UIM is available from the motor vehicle case. Anything less than $100,000, I would get a second opinion from a lawyer who specializes in med mal cases. Also, your brother should not settle the MV case thinking he can later sue the hospital. Generally, he can't.

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Answered on 6/23/12, 4:37 pm

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