Tag Archives: Pennsylvania Law

How to Find a Lawyer When Your Baby Suffers a Birth Injury

Having a baby is a joyous and exciting experience for most families. Unfortunately, sometimes complications during childbirth can cause serious injuries to babies. When this happens, it can be a devastating experience for parents. To ensure that their rights are protected and that their baby receives the best possible care, it’s important for families to find a lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases. This article will provide information on how to find a lawyer when your baby suffers a birth injury.

Understand the Types of Birth Injuries

The first step to finding a lawyer when your baby suffers a birth injury is to understand the types of birth injuries that can occur. Birth injuries can be divided into two categories: those caused by medical negligence and those caused by natural causes. Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to provide a standard of care that a reasonable person would expect. Natural causes, on the other hand, are caused by factors beyond the control of the medical professional, such as a baby’s size or a mother’s health.

Sometimes a birth injury can occur as a result of natural causes or medical malpractice. In these cases, you will likely need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help identify the specific cause of a birth injury. For instance, cerebral palsy can and does occur without medical malpractice. However, sometimes cerebral palsy results from intraventricular hemorrhaging that could have been avoided had a baby been delivered sooner. Prenatal hypoxia is one cause of intraventricular hemorrhage. Causes of Intraventricular Hemorrhage

Research Local Lawyers

Once you have a better understanding of the types of birth injuries that can occur, the next step is to begin researching local lawyers who specialize in birth injury cases. Start by looking for lawyers who are members of relevant legal associations.  For instance, if you are looking for an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Pennsylvania, you should search for a lawyer who is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Justice. PAJ The PAJ provides resources to help families find experienced lawyers who specialize in birth injuries.

Check the Lawyer’s Credentials

Once you have identified a few potential lawyers, it’s important to research their credentials to ensure they are qualified to handle your case. Look for lawyers who have experience in handling birth injury cases, as well as those who have a proven record of success. You should also ask for references from former clients, or look for online reviews, to get an idea of the lawyer’s reputation.

Schedule a Consultation

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential lawyers, it’s time to schedule a consultation. During the consultation, ask questions about the lawyer’s experience with birth injury cases, the process for filing a claim, and the estimated cost of their services. You should also be prepared to discuss the details of your case and provide any relevant medical records.

Make Your Decision

After your consultation, it’s time to make a decision about which lawyer to hire. Consider factors such as the lawyer’s experience, the cost of their services, and the type of compensation you may be entitled to. It’s also important to trust your instincts and choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable working with.


When a baby suffers a birth injury, it’s important for families to find a lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases. The best way to find a lawyer is to understand the types of birth injuries that can occur, research local lawyers, check the lawyer’s credentials, schedule a consultation, and make an informed decision. With the right lawyer on your side, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that your baby receives the best possible care.

James Goslee is an experienced medical malpractice, personal injury and product liability trial lawyer in Philadelphia.  James Goslee is a Super Lawyer who is a shareholder at CPR Law.  James Goslee can be reached at or on linked in at LinkedIn or by phone at 215-567-3500.

Bringing a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania


If your child has suffered a birth injury in Pennsylvania, you may be considering filing a lawsuit against the hospital or doctor responsible for the injury. Birth injuries can range from minor to severe, and they can have long-term physical, psychological, and financial consequences for your family. Knowing what to expect when bringing a birth injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania can help you prepare for the legal process and manage the emotional toll. This guide will provide an overview of the steps to filing a birth injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

Step 1: Review the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Generally, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania is two years. However, if your child was under the age of 18 when the injury occurred, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until they reach the age of 18. It is important to be aware of the statute of limitations to ensure that you do not miss the deadline to file your lawsuit.

Step 2: Collect Evidence

To build a strong case, you will need to collect evidence to prove your claim. This can include medical records, witness statements, and other forms of evidence that can prove that the hospital or doctor was negligent and caused your child’s injury.

Step 3: Set Up a Consultation with a Birth Injury Attorney

Once you have collected the necessary evidence, it is time to set up a consultation with a birth injury attorney. During the consultation, the attorney will review your evidence and discuss the potential for a successful lawsuit. It is important to choose an attorney that has experience handling birth injury cases in Pennsylvania.

Step 4: Determine Which Parties to Name in Your Lawsuit

It is important to determine which parties you will name in your lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances and the evidence, you may be able to name the hospital, doctor, or both in your lawsuit.

Step 5: File the Lawsuit

Once you have determined the parties to name in your lawsuit, you can file your lawsuit. This involves filing a complaint with the court and serving the defendants with the complaint. The defendants will then have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint.

Step 6: Prepare for Mediation

Mediation is a process where the parties come together to try to resolve the dispute without going to trial. A mediator, who is usually a lawyer, will facilitate the mediation. The goal is to resolve the dispute as quickly and as amicably as possible.

Step 7: Prepare for Trial

If mediation is not successful, the case will go to trial. During the trial, both sides will present evidence and witnesses to prove their case. The judge or jury will then decide who is responsible for the birth injury.


Bringing a birth injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania can be a challenging and emotional process. Knowing the steps to filing a birth injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania can help you prepare for the legal process and manage the emotional toll. It is important to consider the statute of limitations and to collect evidence, set up a consultation with a birth injury attorney, determine the parties to name in your lawsuit, file the lawsuit, prepare for mediation, and prepare for trial.

James Goslee is an experienced medical malpractice, personal injury and product liability trial lawyer in Philadelphia.  James Goslee can be reached at https://cprlaw.com/attorneys/james-p-goslee/ or on linked in at https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-goslee-8214415/

Pennsylvania Superior Court Confirms a Fictional “Lord of the Rings” Character Can’t File a Lawsuit

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is LOR-1-683x1024.jpg

Who is allowed to file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. This is a straightforward, but often overlooked question. An amusing opinion by the Pennsylvania Superior Court offers some insight. Short answer – definitely not fictional characters from Lord of the Rings.

In Ex. Rel Six et. al v. Gustafson, et al, two individual plaintiffs filed suit to regain possession of six storage containers that had, in prior landlord tenant litigation, been awarded to the Gustafsons. The named, individual plaintiffs were “Thomas E. Bombadil” and “Timothy D. Parr.” But these plaintiffs had an existential problem having nothing to do with property law or rules or procedure. They didn’t exist.

The trial court dismissed the matter after it was discovered that “Thomas E. Bombadil” was not a living, breathing person, but a fictional character from the “Lord of the Rings.” Likewise, as pointed out by the trial court, “Timothy D. Parr” did not exist and, in various pleadings, “regularly denied his own existence.”

The fictional plaintiffs appealed to the Superior Court. But, as you can imagine, the Superior Court was unmoved. In affirming the trial court’s dismissal the Superior Court offered the following insightful and humorous analysis:

In a typical case, we would dispose of an appeal by addressing the merits of cognizable claims and denying relief when none is due. We cannot even get to that point here, however, because we can only consider claims asserted by a real person or entity, and “Appellants” do not dispute the trial court’s findings that they do not exist.

There you have it. Who can file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania? Real people with real injuries. And definitely not Tolkien characters!


Hospital Falls, Injuries and Corporate Negligence in Pennsylvania

Photo Credit: jynmeyer

The risk of hospital acquired infections has generated a lot of publicity in recent years.  And rightfully so.  Infections can be dangerous and hospitals have a poor track record of keeping patients safe.  This issue has garnered particular attention recently given the growing list of antibiotic resistant bacterium and recently discovered, widespread contamination of crucial medical equipment (e.g., https://jamiegoslee.com/2016/09/13/unsuspecting-patients-exposed-to-deadly-mycobacteria-infection/).  But one of the most persistent and significant risks facing hospital patients remains overlooked, under-reported and preventable.  What is this risk?  Falling.

Believe it or not, the biggest risk you likely face going into a hospital for surgery is not an infection, surgical complication or medical malpractice, but a post-operative fall.  This is especially true for older patients undergoing procedures involving anesthesia.  Older patients are especially sensitive to anesthesia and the drugs well known cognitive side effects.  It is not uncommon for patients to have some disorientation as anesthesia begins to wear off.  But older patients are at an increased risk for confusion, often unable to remember or follow instructions (such as “don’t get out of bed”) for days after receiving anesthesia. Also, older patients often remain physically infirm and unsteady for days (sometimes weeks) after surgery.  In short, older patients are not only more likely to fall, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries.

For decades, hospitals have recognized the danger patients face if they fall. For decades’ hospitals recognized that too many patients were falling down and suffering catastrophic injuries.  Many of these patients were suffering injuries that left them permanently disabled.

Hospital falls and injuries became a national epidemic. To address this problem, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (“Joint Commission”) requires accredited hospitals to adopt policies and procedures to reduce the risk of patient falls.  These policies and procedures are called “fall precaution guidelines.”  And nurses are primarily responsible for implementing these guidelines.

Normally, fall precaution guidelines utilize a two-step process. The first step for nurses is to identify which patients are at an increased risk for falling.  The second step is for nurses to implement specific tools or interventions to prevent high risk patients from falling.

One of the most popular, evidence based fall prevention guidelines used by hospitals is called the Hendrich II Model.  The Hendrich II is popular because it has a predictive accuracy rate of about 70%.  In other words, it is correct in identifying high risk patients about 70% of the time.

Here is how it works. At least once every 24 hours, nurses rounding on patients are supposed to assign a fall score to their patients.  A fall score is a numeric score that is used to identify who is at risk for falling.  Following the guidelines, nurses are supposed to consider various factors that have been shown to put patients at risk for a fall.  Each factor has a number associated with it.  The nurses go down the list of factors and check the box next to each one that applies to a patient.  They then add up the numbers associated with each box they check, and that is a fall score.

So for instance, patients who are unable to stand up on their own are at higher risk for falling.  If you are a patient who can’t stand up on your own (for instance if you just had major knee surgery), under the Hendrich II model, you get a fall score of 4.  Certain medicines can also increase your risk of falling. Under the Hendrich II if you are taking certain medicines, you get additional points. If you are on pain medicines, you may get 2 additional points because pain medications can cause confusion, drowsiness and balance problems.

Using the Hendrich II, a patient with a score of 5 or higher is considered a “high fall risk.”  And once a patient is identified to be a high fall risk, the guidelines have a list of preventative measures that can be used to reduce the risk of a fall or injury.  For example, nurses rounding on high-risk patients should:

  • Instruct the patient that under no circumstances should they try to get out of bed without first notifying a nurse.
  • Make sure all the nurses and staff are aware that the patient is a fall risk. Preventing falls takes a team effort, so the entire staff must be aware of the risk.
  • Make sure a call bell is within easy reach of the patient so the patient does not need to get out of bed to contact a nurse.
  • Make sure that the patients bed is in the lowest position possible. This is important because if a patient does try to stand up and falls, they are closer to the ground.
  • Make sure the patient has on non-slip socks.
  • Using a bed alarm. A bed alarm is an alarm that goes off if a high-risk patient tries to get out of bed. This is important for two reasons. One, it serves as an audible reminder to patients that they should not try to stand up. Second, it alerts the nursing staff so that they can enter the room and assist the patient.
  • For elderly patients, particularly those who recently had anesthesia or are taking medications known to cause drowsiness or disorientation, notify the patients loved one that they have been identified as a fall risk and encourage them to stay with the patient. This is important because elderly patients can become confused, especially at night and try to get out of bed.  Having a loved one nearby can reorient a patient and keep them in bed.

Fall precaution guidelines have proven effective for reducing the risk of patient falls.  But they are only effective if they are used.  What is troubling is that many hospitals go to great lengths to formulate and “officially” adopt fall precaution procedures to comply with the Joint Commissions mandate, but don’t actually use those procedures and do not adequately train nurses to use them.  In other words, hospitals create the procedures to get the Joint Commission off their back and then put them on a shelf, never to be seen again. Unenforced policies are worth less than the paper they are printed on.

And this problem, of formulating, but not enforcing fall prevention procedures brings me to a critical legal issue in Pennsylvania.  For 30-years Pennsylvania has recognized that hospitals owe non-delegable duties to ensure the safety of their patients.  Indeed, since the seminal case of Thompson v. Nasson, hospitals have been subject to direct negligence (as opposed to the vicarious negligence of its staff) for breaching 4 specific duties.  These duties include the following:

(1) a duty to use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities
and equipment;
(2) a duty to select and retain only competent physicians;
(3) a duty to oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls as
to patient care; and
(4) a duty to formulate, adopt and enforce adequate rules and policies to ensure
quality care for patients.

The last duty, the duty to formulate, adopt and enforce rules and policies has particular importance in hospital fall cases. This is true because, as noted above, hospitals are good at adopting fall prevention policies, but often fail to enforce them (which requires allocation of time and resources).  But a review of the case law in Pennsylvania shows that direct negligence cases involving the duty to formulate, adopt and enforce policies and procedures focus primarily on whether policies and procedures were adopted and whether they were adequate.  There is almost no case law dealing with a frequently encountered scenario where a hospital adopts adequate policies, but does not require or adequately train its nurses to use them.

The lack of precedent on the issue is likely the result of lawyers not advancing this theory through trial. For whatever reason, the focus of plaintiffs’ lawyers has been on whether a hospital has procedures and whether those procedures work. In my opinion this is a mistake.  As noted above, even the best policies and procedures are pointless if they are not used.  And although not presented with the square issue, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has made clear that a hospital’s failure to actually enforce its policies can give rise to a claim of negligence: “hospitals [have] obligations to observe, supervise, or control a patient’s treatment approved by multiple physicians, and to apply and enforce its consultation and monitoring procedures.”

Given the prevalence of injuries caused by hospital falls and the recurring pattern of hospitals not enforcing policies aimed at preventing these occurrences, lawyers would be wise to pursue a broader approach in representing injured clients.

James Goslee is a trial attorney in Philadelphia and can be reached at https://jamiegoslee.com/about/