Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers
We Can Handle Your Medical Negligence Claim
Physicians and other hospital staff are all held to a standard of care, meaning they are expected to exercise caution and attention in their job duties, whether giving a diagnosis or performing a surgery. Any blatant failure to adhere to this standard of care is considered negligence. For instance, if it were standard practice in the medical community to treat an infection with antibiotics, it would be considered negligence if the physician didn’t order antibiotics for an infected patient and his condition worsened.
Medical malpractice claims can be filed in instances where such negligence leads to a patient’s injury or death. This is why medical facilities and medical professionals carry high-priced medical malpractice policies. A successful medical malpractice claim allows a patient who has suffered harm to receive compensation for his or her injuries and losses. In a medical malpractice wrongful death claim, the deceased’s spouse and family can receive compensation.
Medical malpractice claims can be complex affairs, and many personal injury attorneys may not have the experience, knowledge, and resources to get you the compensation you deserve. At Grant Law Office, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys have a reputation for success acquired over many years of hard work and passionate representation. Call us at (404) 995-3955 or (866) 249-5513 for a free, comprehensive consultation.
To prove medical malpractice has occurred, we will establish the following:
To prove medical malpractice has occurred, we will establish the following:
- The defendant (physician, hospital, or other medical professional) owed a duty of care to you, meaning that the defendant was responsible for your care.
- The defendant failed to exercise this duty of care, meaning that the defendant didn’t care for you, as determined by accepted protocols.
- You suffered harm as a direct consequence of this failure.
- The harm you suffered resulted in losses, both economic and non-economic.
What Damages May I Recover in My Georgia Medical Malpractice Suit?
A victim may seek compensation for economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, and other expenses incurred from the injury (assisted living, medical equipment, etc.). He or she may also pursue compensation for the future costs of persistent medical care. An attorney, with the help of medical professionals, can help establish the extent of a victim's injuries and associated costs.
Additionally, a victim may acquire non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of life's enjoyment, and other less concrete effects of the injury.
What Are the Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
Medical negligence can take on many forms. The possibility of negligence leading to harm is not restricted to any specific medical procedure. A patient may become the victim of medical negligence and not even know it until years later, when the consequences of the treating physician's negligence are made apparent. Common types of medical negligence may include:
Some more serious types are discussed below.
Before medical treatment is given, the condition being treated must be identified correctly. This identification is known as a "diagnosis." Medical malpractice can easily occur during diagnosis in several ways, including:
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition entirely;
- Mistaken diagnosis, identifying the condition as something that it is not; or
- Delayed diagnosis that postpones prompt treatment.
Failure to diagnose and mistaken diagnosis almost always result in a delayed diagnosis, because they both use up time between the patient's first attempt to find an answer and the identification of the proper diagnosis.
Despite rapid advancements in medicine in the past century, surgery still poses risks. Common surgical errors that may amount to medical negligence include:
- Unintentional laceration or perforation during surgery;
- Wrong site surgery, such as amputation of a healthy limb instead of a diseased one; or
- Surgical tools left inside patient, like sponges or clamps.
Anesthesia is a key part of most surgeries. Because anesthesia is a delicate and complex practice, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists must be properly trained. Anesthesia errors that can occur during surgery include:
- Negligent preparation of anesthesia medications, equipment, or the patient; or
- Failure to monitor or respond promptly to signs of distress.
The birthing process is a delicate one, and the entire medical staff must be on the lookout for signs of fetal or maternal distress. They must also pay careful attention to ensure all procedures are carried out correctly. Medical malpractice birth injuries that may cause harm during labor and delivery include:
- Negligence in C-sections, such as not ordering a necessary C-section or ordering an unnecessary C-section, or errors made during the C-section itself;
- Improper treatment during a difficult birth, such as the improper decision to use forceps or a vaccum extractor to move the process along;
- Medication errors that can harm the mother, the baby, or both; and
- Complications in induced labor, including inducing labor too quickly or failing to induce labor when needed.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Your Injury?
Most medical treatments involve a number of parties, from the hospital receptionist that signs you in and takes down all your information, to the nurse who releases you from the hospital when the treatment is over. Because so many parties are involved with a patient’s treatment, there are many potential defendants in a medical malpractice claim, including:
- Doctors. This includes all medical doctors: primary care physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, radiologists, licensed alternative medicine practitioners, dentists, etc.
- Other medical professionals. This would include anyone else involved in your treatment: anesthesiologists, EMTs, paramedics, policemen, and other first responders; nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, X-ray techs, etc. - either in private practice or employed by a doctor.
- Treatment facilities. Any facility involved in patient care can be held liable in cases of medical malpractice, including hospitals, surgery centers, clinics, labs, nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospices, urgent care centers, etc. At such facilities, it is up to the company to thoroughly validate an employee’s skill, training, licensing, work record, and more. If an employee of a facility commits an act of medical malpractice, the facility or doctor that employs him or her can be sued for medical malpractice. This is known as “vicarious liability.”
- Health maintenance organizations and insurance companies. There have been cases where HMOs were found vicariously liable for not adequately vetting the doctors that they allowed into their organization. HMOs can also be sued if they do not approve a treatment that’s needed, or force a patient’s release from a hospital before it is safe. Insurance companies can be held liable for the same reasons, or for refusing to pay for a needed treatment after the treatment has been completed.
- Pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. The makers of a medication can be held liable for medical malpractice if their product causes harm to a patient, particularly if the company failed to adequately warn physicians and consumers of possible adverse effects. The manufacturer of a medical device, such as hernia mesh, pacemakers, stents, and IUDs, can be sued if the product causes harm to a patient. A manufacturer can also be sued in a "defective product" lawsuit if the product is designed or manufactured defectively.
Defenses the Insurance Company May Use Against Your Med-Mal Claim
Following are a few situations of medical negligence and the arguments that an insurance company may try to use in defense.
- You had a known medical complication or risk. You suffer from a medical complication that is a known risk for a treatment procedure. While the medical mistake was avoidable, the fact that you had a known risk factor complicates a claim.
- You weren’t really harmed. An error was made, but caused no harm to you because of an underlying medical condition. The malpractice insurance carrier can argue that the mistake caused no harm because you have an underlying medical condition that affected the result.
- That the timing of the diagnosis didn’t matter. A common example of this is cancer. If a provider did not make a diagnosis of cancer initially and the cancer spreads, the insurance company may argue that the provider is not liable because it is the nature of the disease to spread, regardless of the timing of the diagnosis.
- That there were "layers" of error. Multiple medical errors by separate providers during the course of treatment contributed to the injury, allowing the medical malpractice insurance carriers to delay responsibility of liability.
Please note that none of these situation rules out a medical malpractice claim – your attorney will just need to be more skilled in presenting your claim to help you receive just compensation.
Statute of Limitations and Damage Caps
Georgia has a statute of limitations, or time limit, as to when you can file a medical malpractice claim. This time limit is two years from the time of the injury or death. In cases where the cause of the injury or death isn’t known until later, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that the cause or injury is actually discovered.
However, Georgia also has what is called a statute of repose, which is five years. For instance, if you received a treatment on May 1st, 2010, but didn’t know that treatment had harmed you until June 20th, 2014, you would have until June 20th, 2016 to file a claim. But, if you didn’t discover that the treatment had injured you until May 10th, 2015 (which is more than five years since the treatment), you would not be able to file a medical malpractice claim at all.
Georgia currently has no damage caps for medical malpractice claims, meaning there is no limit to how much compensation you can win.
Helping You Get the Settlement You Deserve in Atlanta
Over recent years, our medical malpractice lawyers at Grant Law Office have acquired settlement amounts numbering in the millions of dollars for satisfied clients. Clearly, winning a legal dispute, even against such powerful entities as insurance companies, is far from impossible with experienced legal representation. Contact our Georgia medical malpractice attorneys to learn more about your legal rights and options. Call (404) 995-3955 or (866) 249-5513 today.
Recent Medical Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements
- $5 Million, present value settlement - Failure to treat shunt malfunction.
- $3 Million - Failure to diagnose meningitis and brain infection.
- $2.2 Million partial settlement/Additional confidential settlement with Hospital - Neurosurgeon/hospital malpractice resulting in paralysis.
- $1.25 Million - Failure to respond to medical emergency in intensive care unit.
- $1.2 Million - Pregnancy diagnosis error.
- $250,000 Verdict - Wrongful death/failure to diagnose heart attack.
- Confidential Settlement - Wrongful death.
- Confidential Settlement - Psychiatric/wrongful death.
- Confidential Settlement - Medical malpractice caused client to develop diabetic ketoacidosis and die.
- Confidential Settlement - Medical malpractice resulting in DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
- Confidential Settlement - Pharmacy error/medical negligence.
- Confidential Settlement for minor - Negligent injury during birth/medical malpractice.
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
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Click here for more verdicts and settlements.