Medical Malpractice FAQ
What is Medical Malpractice?
Answer: Medical malpractice is a legal term used to describe professional negligence by a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, or hospital, that leads to harm or injury to a patient. This may occur when a healthcare provider fails to follow the accepted standard of care, fails to diagnose a condition properly, or causes an injury during treatment. Medical malpractice claims require proof that the healthcare provider had a duty to provide a certain standard of care, failed to meet that standard, and caused harm to the patient as a result.
Who Can Be Liable For Medical Malpractice?
Answer: Liability for medical malpractice can fall on various healthcare providers including but not limited to:
In some cases, multiple healthcare providers may be held liable for medical malpractice if their actions or inactions contributed to the harm or injury of a patient. Additionally, medical facilities and institutions, such as hospitals and nursing homes, can also be held liable for medical malpractice if it can be shown that their policies, procedures, or lack of proper supervision led to the harm of a patient.
What Are Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Answer: Medical malpractice can take many forms, but some common examples include:
• Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
• Surgical errors, such as performing surgery on the wrong body part or leaving instruments inside the patient
• Birth injuries to the mother or child during delivery
• Anesthesia errors
• Medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication or incorrect dosages
• Failure to obtain informed consent for a medical procedure
• Failure to properly monitor a patient’s condition or respond to medical emergencies
• Misinterpretation of lab results or x-rays
• Unnecessary treatment or procedures
These examples are not exhaustive and can vary widely based on the specific circumstances of each case. To determine whether a particular situation constitutes medical malpractice, it is important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
What Is The Standard Of Care In A Medical Malpractice Case?
Answer: The standard of care in a medical malpractice case refers to the level of care and skill that a reasonably competent and prudent healthcare provider would have exercised under similar circumstances. The standard of care is determined based on the medical community’s general understanding of the best practices and procedures for treating a particular condition or performing a particular medical procedure.
In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care owed to the patient. This requires the plaintiff to show that the healthcare provider’s actions or inactions fell below the level of care and skill that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would have exercised under similar circumstances, and that this breach caused harm to the patient.
The standard of care can vary depending on many factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, and specific medical conditions, as well as the complexity of the medical procedure or treatment being performed. In some cases, there may be more than one accepted standard of care for a particular medical situation, and the specific standard that applies will depend on the individual facts of each case.
If The Standard Of Care Was Breached, Will I Win My Claim For Medical Malpractice?
Answer: A breach of the standard of care is a necessary component of a medical malpractice claim, but it is not the only factor to consider. The plaintiff must also show that the breach caused harm or injury to the patient, and that this harm was a direct result of the healthcare provider’s actions or inactions.
Additionally, even if the standard of care was breached, the defendant may be able to raise defenses, such as the patient’s pre-existing medical conditions or the presence of unforeseen complications, that can mitigate their liability or potentially defeat the claim altogether.
Ultimately, whether or not you win your claim for medical malpractice will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. If you believe that you may have a claim for medical malpractice, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you on your legal options.
I’m Dissatisfied With The Results of My Medical Procedure. Do I Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?
Answer: Determining whether you have a medical malpractice claim requires a thorough evaluation of the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider breaches the standard of care owed to a patient and that breach causes harm.
If you believe that your medical procedure did not go as planned and that the outcome was due to a failure on the part of your healthcare provider to provide appropriate care, you may have a potential medical malpractice claim. However, to establish a valid claim, you will need to provide evidence of the following:
1. A doctor-patient relationship existed.
2. The healthcare provider had a duty to provide appropriate care.
3. The healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care.
4. The breach caused harm to the patient.
It is recommended to consult with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim and to discuss your options.
What Should I Do If The Medical Provider Denies Any Wrongdoing
Answer: If the medical provider denies any wrongdoing, you may still have options to seek recourse. Here are some steps you can consider:
1. Obtain copies of your medical records: Reviewing your medical records can provide important information about the details of your treatment and may help you understand why the outcome was different from what you expected.
2. Get a second opinion: Consult with another healthcare provider to determine if the original diagnosis, treatment, or procedure was appropriate.
3. File a complaint with the state medical board: You can file a complaint with the state medical board if you believe that the healthcare provider violated ethical or professional standards. The board will investigate the complaint and take appropriate action.
4. Consider alternative dispute resolution: You may be able to resolve the dispute through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration.
5. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney: An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and can provide guidance on how to proceed.
It’s important to keep in mind that proving medical malpractice can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of medical standards of care, procedures, and evidence. An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and determine the best course of action.
What Is Informed Consent?
Answer: Informed consent is a legal concept in medical treatment, where a patient is fully informed about the risks, benefits, alternatives, and expected outcomes of a medical procedure or treatment before deciding whether to agree to it.
The purpose of informed consent is to ensure that the patient has enough information to make an informed decision about their medical treatment and to ensure that the patient’s autonomy and right to make decisions about their own healthcare is respected.
Informed consent requires that the healthcare provider discuss with the patient the following information:
1. The nature of the procedure or treatment
2. The risks and benefits associated with the procedure or treatment
3. Alternative options and their associated risks and benefits
4. Any material risks of the procedure or treatment
Once the patient has received this information, they can then make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the procedure or treatment. Informed consent is typically documented in the patient’s medical records, and the patient is required to sign a consent form indicating that they understand the information and agree to the procedure or treatment.
How Do I Prove A Medical Malpractice Claim?
Answer: Proving a medical malpractice claim can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of medical standards of care, procedures, and evidence. Here are the steps to prove a medical malpractice claim:
1. Establish a doctor-patient relationship: You must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the healthcare provider.
2. Demonstrate a breach of the standard of care: You must show that the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care that is generally recognized and followed by healthcare providers in the same specialty and geographic area.
3. Show that the breach caused harm: You must prove that the breach caused harm to you and that the harm was a direct result of the breach of the standard of care.
4. Prove causation: You must prove that the harm you suffered was a direct result of the healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care and not due to other factors.
5. Prove damages: You must be able to prove the extent of your damages, including physical harm, emotional distress, loss of income, and other losses related to the medical malpractice.
It is recommended to consult with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim and to help you build a strong case. Your attorney can help you gather and present the necessary evidence and expert testimony to support your claim.
My Loved One Died, And I Think That The Medical Provider’s Negligence Caused Their death. Should I Get an Autopsy?
Answer: An autopsy can be an important tool in determining the cause of death and whether medical negligence was a contributing factor. If you suspect that your loved one’s death was caused by medical negligence, an autopsy can help establish the cause of death and provide valuable evidence in a potential medical malpractice lawsuit.
An autopsy is a medical examination of the deceased person’s body to determine the cause of death. It can also help to identify any medical errors or mistakes that may have contributed to the death. An autopsy can also help provide answers and closure for surviving family members.
Keep in mind that in some cases, an autopsy may not be necessary. If the cause of death was obvious and not in question, an autopsy may not be needed. It is recommended to consult with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice law to determine if an autopsy is necessary in your case and to discuss your options.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Recover in A Medical Malpractice Case?
Answer: In a successful medical malpractice case, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of the medical negligence. Some of the types of compensation you may be able to recover include:
1. Medical expenses: You may be able to recover the costs of any additional medical treatments required as a result of the medical negligence, including hospitalization, surgery, medications, and rehabilitation.
2. Lost wages: If you were unable to work due to the medical negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for the wages you would have earned.
3. Pain and suffering: You may be able to recover compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the medical negligence.
4. Loss of quality of life: If your medical condition has permanently altered your ability to enjoy life’s activities, you may be able to recover compensation for your loss of quality of life.
5. Wrongful death: If a loved one died as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for their wrongful death, including loss of income, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses.
The exact amount of compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the specifics of your case, including the extent of your injuries and damages. It is recommended to consult with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer to determine the full extent of your potential compensation.
How Much Is My Medical Malpractice Case Worth?
Answer: The value of a medical malpractice case can vary widely based on a number of factors, including the nature and extent of the injury, the amount of medical expenses incurred, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In general, cases that result in significant, permanent injuries or disabilities tend to be worth more than those that result in temporary or minor injuries. The only way to determine the value of a specific case is to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who can assess the facts and circumstances of the case and provide an estimate of its value.
Is There A Cap On Medical Malpractice Damages in Georgia?
Answer: Historically, in Georgia, there was a cap on non-economic damages, also known as “pain and suffering” damages, in medical malpractice cases. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-13-1 that cap was set at $350,000 per plaintiff, regardless of the number of defendants, and there was an overall cap of $350,000 per occurrence.
However, the Georgia Supreme Court declared that cap unconstitutional in 2010 in the case of Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt, et al., 691 S.E.2d 218 (2010).
Thus, Georgia medical malpractice incidents that occurred post-2010 are not subject to non-economic damages caps.
Additionally, there is no cap on economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
Will My Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Go To Trial?
Answer: The outcome of a medical malpractice lawsuit, including whether it will go to trial, depends on a variety of factors, including the strength of the evidence, the positions of the parties, and the court’s docket. Many medical malpractice cases are resolved through settlement, but some cases may proceed to trial if the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement.
Whether a case will go to trial or not is often difficult to predict and can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. An experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand the likelihood of your case going to trial and can represent you in negotiations and, if necessary, in court.
Is There A Deadline To File My Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Answer: Yes, there is a deadline, known as the statute of limitations, for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Georgia is two years from the date of the alleged act of medical malpractice, or from the date that the plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, the injury.
It is important to note that there are exceptions to this deadline, such as when the patient is a minor or mentally incapacitated, which can extend the time frame for filing a lawsuit.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that missing the statute of limitations deadline may result in the inability to pursue a medical malpractice claim, regardless of the merits of the case. Therefore, it’s best to consult with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are able to protect your rights and preserve your ability to file a lawsuit.
Why Should I Hire An Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Answer: Hiring an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can provide numerous benefits for those who have been injured as a result of medical negligence. Some of the reasons why you might consider hiring a medical malpractice lawyer include:
1. Knowledge and experience: Medical malpractice cases can be complex and require a deep understanding of medical concepts and procedures, as well as the laws and regulations surrounding medical malpractice. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can bring this knowledge and experience to your case, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.
2. Navigation of legal procedures: Medical malpractice cases involve many legal procedures that can be confusing and time-consuming. A medical malpractice lawyer can handle these procedures on your behalf and ensure that your case is pursued in a timely and effective manner.
3. Strong negotiation skills: Most medical malpractice cases are resolved through settlement, rather than a trial. A medical malpractice lawyer can use their strong negotiation skills to secure a fair settlement for you, taking into account the full extent of your injuries and damages.
4. Representation in court: If your case goes to trial, a medical malpractice lawyer can provide you with strong representation in court, ensuring that your rights are protected and that your case is presented in the best possible light.
By working with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer, you can increase your chances of obtaining the compensation that you deserve for your injuries, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your case is in the hands of a skilled and experienced professional.
I Can’t Afford To Pay A Medical Malpractice Lawyer. What Are My Options?
Answer: If you can’t afford to pay a medical malpractice lawyer, you may still have options for pursuing your case. Many Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers, including our law firm, work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they do not charge upfront fees and instead receive a portion of the settlement or award if you win your case. This arrangement can be beneficial because it allows you to have access to experienced legal representation without having to pay anything upfront.
Our Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You
At Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers, our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers have successfully represented many medical malpractice victims. We will help you achieve a great result for your case.
Call us today at (404) 939-9470 to discuss your car accident case. Also, you may fill-out our online contact form to schedule a free case review with our team. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.