Hawk Law Group | February 3, 2022 | Medical Malpractice
The main difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence is intent. When a medical provider is guilty of medical negligence, their actions cause a patient harm. However, they did not intend to hurt the patient. Rather, they were careless and caused an injury.
With medical malpractice, the medical provider knew their actions could injure or harm the patient. However, the medical provider continued with the conduct despite knowing the danger to the patient.
Both medical negligence and medical malpractice can cause a patient harm. A medical professional can be liable for damages caused by their actions, regardless of whether they intended to harm the patient. It can be difficult to know whether you are the victim of negligence or malpractice. Seeking legal advice from a medical malpractice lawyer is the best way to protect your legal rights.
Four Things You Need to Know About Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice Claims in Evans, GA
If you suspect that a doctor or another medical provider harmed you or a family member, it is important to know these four things about medical malpractice claims in Georgia:
There is a Deadline for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims
Although you may not realize that a doctor harmed you, your time to file a medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit is limited. The Georgia statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims is two years from the date of the malpractice.
However, there is an exception if you did not discover the malpractice right away. In this case, you may have two years from the date you discover or reasonably should have discovered your injury to file your lawsuit.
If a doctor left a foreign object in your body, the deadline to file your lawsuit is one year from the date you discover a foreign object is inside your body. With very few exceptions, all medical negligence or malpractice lawsuits must be filed no later than five years from the date of the malpractice.
You Have the Burden of Proving Malpractice or Negligence
Some poor outcomes are not within the doctor’s control. A doctor is not responsible for factors or consequences that they could not foresee or were outside of their control. However, the doctor is responsible for providing a reasonable standard of care.
The legal elements of a medical malpractice or negligence claim are:
- The doctor or medical provider owed you a duty of care
- The health care provider breached the duty of care by failing to provide a reasonably acceptable standard of care
- The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your harm
- You sustained damages because the doctor breached the duty care
The acceptable standard of care varies depending on the facts of the case. Therefore, you need a medical expert to analyze your case to determine what a doctor in the same practice area should have done, given the circumstances. The medical expert also provides an expert opinion explaining how your doctor deviated from the acceptable standard of care.
However, you also must prove that the deviation in the standard of care was the cause of your injury. If you cannot prove that the doctor’s negligence or intentional acts led to your injury, the doctor may not be responsible for your damages.
You Need a Medical Affidavit to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Retaining a medical expert before you file your lawsuit is essential. Georgia Code §9-11-9.1 states that you must have a medical expert to certify there is a factual basis for your medical malpractice claim. In addition, an affidavit from the medical expert must be attached to your lawsuit. Otherwise, the court might dismiss the case.
There is No Cap for Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Victims of medical malpractice can receive compensation for their economic damages. Economic damages are the monetary losses caused by the malpractice. Those damages include:
- Expenses and costs related to medical treatment, nursing care, and personal care
- Costs of physical, vocational, occupational, and other forms of therapy
- Medications, medical supplies, and medical equipment
- Travel costs to and from medical appointments
- Loss of income and benefits, including future lost wages and lower earning potential
- Out-of-pocket costs and expenses
There is no cap on the amount of economic damages a jury may award for a medical malpractice case. However, the Georgia statutes capped non-economic damages until the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the cap was unconstitutional.
Now, juries can award any amount for non-economic damages. Those damages include:
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Physical pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
The amount you receive for a medical malpractice claim depends on many factors. An attorney can give you a better idea of how much your claim is worth after reviewing your case during a free consultation.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases in Evans, GA
Medical malpractice claims may arise when a doctor or medical provider is reckless or careless. Claims may also arise from intentional acts. Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Delayed or misdiagnosis of a condition
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
- Emergency room errors
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Surgical errors
- Failing to maintain equipment and maintain a sterile environment
- Anesthesia errors
- Diagnostic errors
- Failing to monitor patients or access risk factors
Medical malpractice and negligence claims can be filed against physicians, hospitals, nurses, labs, diagnostic services, and other medical providers and health care facilities. Seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to know if you have a medical malpractice claim.
Contact the Medical Malpractice Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:
We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.