Under Georgia law, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you or your loved one suffers injury, illness, or death as a result of a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare professional’s negligence. A medical malpractice attorney can help show that professional negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of adequate care when providing medical services to a patient.

Medical malpractice claims can be brought against any healthcare provider and can be based on any kind of medical service.

The purpose behind medical malpractice lawsuits is to compensate victims and enforce a standard for adequate medical care that applies to all healthcare providers, including doctors, surgeons, dentists, nurses, and specialists.

These standards also govern all forms of medical services, including surgeries, prescriptions, diagnoses, and other procedures. While most people associate medical malpractice with botched surgeries, for example, you may also have a medical malpractice claim if you or a loved one received a misdiagnosis that led to a subsequent illness or injury, or if you are prescribed harmful medicine that the doctor should have known would have adverse effects.

Other common cases where a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help:

  • Surgical errors, which can include performing the wrong kind of surgery on a patient, causing an additional injury during surgery, or forgetting a surgical tool in the patient’s body after surgery
  • Improper prescriptions, where a patient is prescribed the wrong medicine or is prescribed medicine he is allergic to, therefore aggravating their medical condition or causing a new injury or illness
  • Misdiagnosis, including a failure to identify a medical problem that becomes aggravated due to a lack of treatment, such as blood clots, strokes, or aneurysms
  • Errors in administering anesthesia, such as administering the wrong dosage or neglecting a patient’s allergies to certain drugs
  • Faulty medical devices, such as pace makers, that are installed incorrectly or misuse by the healthcare provider
  • Lack of adequate care, which can result from being neglected by hospital staff or not sufficient access to medicine, food, and other necessities

To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you have to prove that the medical care you received fell below the acceptable standards of medical care as defined by other medical professionals.

Plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits face a high standard to prove that a defendant healthcare provider committed malpractice. Under Georgia law, healthcare providers must exercise “a reasonable degree of care and skill” in their profession, and they are accountable for “any injury resulting from a want of such care and skill.”

What constitutes a “reasonable degree of care and skill” is different in each case and is measured according to the standards and practices used and recommended by other medical professionals under similar conditions. Healthcare providers commit malpractice if they fail to act as a reasonable and competent medical professional would have under the circumstances. The standard changes based on the patient and the procedure —for example, the standard of care may be different for a risky emergency operation than it is for a routine out-patient procedure.

Because medical malpractice cases are so complex, it is necessary to retain medical experts to help you establish your malpractice claim. In fact, Georgia law requires that plaintiffs file a medical expert’s affidavit with their complaint.

Medical malpractice lawsuits almost always feature a battle of experts. Both sides call on medical experts to provide competing testimony over how a medical professional should have or should not have acted in in a given case. Experts also argue over which healthcare standards and practices should have been applied and whether the treatment provided by the defendant met those standards and practices.

Plaintiffs generally want to set a high standard of care in order to show that the treatment they received was objectively below that standard. Defendants want their actions to be judged by a lower standard, which allows them to argue that their judgments or decisions were reasonable under the circumstances, even if mistaken. Ultimately, however, it is the jury that decides which experts to believe, and it is the jury who decides whether the healthcare provider’s actions fell below the acceptable standard of care.

Establishing that a healthcare provider did not perform up to the appropriate standard of medical care is only half the battle in a medical malpractice case. A plaintiff must also prove that the poor medical care they received caused them a new injury or aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.

Causation can be difficult to prove in medical malpractice cases because patients are usually already sick or injured before receiving medical care. If a patient suffers a stroke during an operation, for example, they will have to show that their stroke was caused by the surgery as opposed to a pre-existing disposition to suffer strokes. Consequently, medical experts are often necessary to explain to the jury how a patient’s medical condition is a new injury and not the result of a pre-existing illness or injury, or that a patient’s pre-existing condition was aggravated by the poor treatment they received.

A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must also prove that the injury was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. Here again, it can be difficult to prove foreseeability if a plaintiff has an allergic reaction to a medicine he has never tried or if the patient has an undisclosed pre-existing condition.

You can seek different types of damages for malpractice based on the injury caused. You can seek compensation for the medical costs you incurred and lost wages, in addition to pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can include temporary physical and emotional pain, as well as permanent disabilities.

In rare cases, you can also seek punitive damages, which are awarded to plaintiffs as a way to punish healthcare providers when their conduct is egregiously harmful. Georgia law only allows punitive damages in malpractice cases if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that a healthcare provider’s actions were a result of willful misconduct, malice, or fraud.

Georgia law places strict time limits on medical malpractice lawsuits

If you believe you have a valid claim for medical malpractice, it is important to act quickly— under Georgia law, you only have two years to file a malpractice claim for your illness or injury.

There are only a few exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations, such as exceptions for minors or when the injury or illness caused by the defendant’s malpractice causes another injury or illness after the two-year period. In cases involving foreign objects left in a patient’s body, plaintiffs must file a malpractice claim within a year after discovering the injury. Ultimately, however, all medical malpractice claims expire in five years, even if the injury or condition could not have been discovered sooner.

Call an experienced medical malpractice attorney now

It is important to find a competent attorney with knowledge of the law and experience handling medical malpractice suits. Our attorneys have that. We know and employ the best medical experts available to help you establish your claim, and we have helped many patients obtain compensation for their injuries, costs, and suffering.

Call our experienced attorneys if you believe you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a debilitating medical condition as a result of receiving poor medical treatment. We can help evaluate your claim, advise you of your legal options and remedies, and help you seek justice.

Not satisfied with your current personal injury attorney? You have a right to a new lawyer at no additional cost to you.  Find out how easy it is to switch to our firm.

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