Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer
According to a 2018 Johns Hopkins study, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. It is hard to fathom that reputable healthcare providers can be responsible for so many devastating and preventable medical errors.
You must prove four things to win a medical malpractice case in Georgia. Just like in a personal injury case, first, you must prove that the healthcare provider had a “duty” to do something; second, you must prove that the healthcare provider violated that “duty”; third, there must be causation; and, fourth, there must be an injury. All four factors must be present to win your medical malpractice (or personal injury) case under Georgia law. If you cannot prove just one of these four elements to the satisfaction of a judge and/or jury, you cannot win your case according to Georgia law.
In a medical malpractice case, “duty” is synonymous with “standard of care.” What is a “standard of care”? It is basically what another reasonable physician or healthcare provider would do in the same or similar situation. By Georgia law, “standard of care” specifically means the “degree of care and skill ordinarily employed by the profession generally under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances”.
There are many “standards of care” in medicine. But standards of care are taught in medical school; residency programs; and fellowship programs. Physicians are tested about standards of care on their board certification exams. They are often set forth in medical textbooks, peer-reviewed journals, guidelines published by national and international professional societies, and even hospital policies. That being said, standards of care can be so basic and widely accepted that most all physicians are able to easily articulate them without even referencing any literature.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider violates the standard of care, that is, fails to do what other reasonable healthcare providers would do in the same or similar situation, and it causes someone an injury. Many people think that medical malpractice and medical negligence are different. Not so. They are the same, and medical malpractice can occur in many different medical settings. Unfortunately for patients and consumers, medical negligence can lead to devastating outcomes.
If you were injured because of a doctor or other medical professional’s mistake or error, you might have a claim. At The Moses Firm, our attorneys represent individuals who suffered injuries because of malpractice at their medical providers’ hands. We fight for our clients to receive the compensation they need to heal or move on after a case of medical malpractice. Call us today at 404-721-1050 to speak to an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice in Atlanta, Georgia
Many different types of medical errors can lead to medical malpractice claims. Some common forms of medical malpractice claims include the following:
- Anesthesia Errors
- Birth Injuries
- Brain Damage & Cerebral Palsy
- Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack
- Failure to Diagnose an Infection
- Failure to Diagnose Stroke
- IV Infiltration
- Maternal Death
- Medication Errors
- Nursing Errors
- Surgical Errors
- Unnecessary Procedures
The injuries caused by any of these mistakes can be life-altering, if not, deadly in the worst scenarios. For the victims and families of medical malpractice, understanding what went wrong can sometimes be difficult to understand, especially when hospitals and healthcare providers are purposely trying to mislead you and/or trying to cover-up a medical error. Medicine is a complicated practice, and it is important to have a legal professional who understands the best way to investigate and pursue a claim help you.
Against Whom Do I File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Depending on the situation, you may be filing a claim against a doctor, a doctor’s medical practice, a hospital, or even an entire hospital system. It is highly dependent on the facts of your case. It is important to discuss your concern with an attorney to understand the best course of action for recovering damages.
Proving Negligence in an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Claim
Even when the facts, science, and truth are on your side, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to win your medical malpractice case. You, along with your attorneys and the expert witnesses who are helping you, must convince twelve people on a jury that you are right, the healthcare providers are wrong, and you deserve to be compensated for your injuries, harms, and losses.
Sometimes juries decide that they just “like” a doctor and feel badly about telling a doctor that he or she committed medical malpractice that caused someone’s death or injuries–even when it is confirmed by all the facts and science. Even when there has been a clear mistake and a catastrophic injury, doctors, hospitals, their insurance companies, and their defense lawyers refuse to take responsibility and acknowledge that any mistake occurred. They litigate cases for years hoping that patients and/or their families will give up or their lawyers will run out of money to fight a case. They create baseless theories to try to convince an unwitting jury that the bad outcome was caused by some unrelated complication. What makes matters worse is that defendants will often ask their physician friends from reputable hospitals to testify on their behalf and try to sell these baseless theories to a jury. We know this from first-hand experience in numerous different cases. But these are just unfair tactics and arguments used by defendants to avoid responsibility and accountability for their serious mistakes. That is why it is critical that you have an experienced and skilled lawyer who knows how to handle your complex medical malpractice case fight for you.
Building Your Atlanta Medical Malpractice Case
Because of the technical nature of medical malpractice claims, proving liability will depend a great deal on the facts of the case. Not only is your memory of the event important, the medical records will be critical evidence in essentially every medical malpractice case. Medical records from the time of the event are usually the most important. But even records before the event will be helpful to prove your prior condition, and the medical records after the event can be used to show how badly you have been injured.
Your imaging studies like x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, fetal monitoring strips, and pathology slides can also be very important to your case. An autopsy may also turn out to be critical evidence when the patient died. Medical bills are often used to prove the extent of the injuries that have been suffered and even those documents can help prove what was done or not done during the patient’s treatment.
In Georgia, an injured party cannot just file a “Complaint” to initiate a medical malpractice case. Georgia law under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1 specifically requires that a litigant file with the Complaint an affidavit from a competent expert witness to state that there was at least one violation in the standard of care. This is a technical requirement that must be followed or else your case will likely be dismissed. The reason this law exists is to ensure people only file meritorious medical malpractice claims. But it is common for litigants and inexperienced lawyers to make mistakes with the expert affidavit filing requirement. So it is important that you hire the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at The Moses Firm to help you with your case.
Statutes of Limitations in Atlanta, Georgia
There are strict time limits within which you must file your medical malpractice case in Georgia. You should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your particular situation. In general, Georgia law under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71 provides that there is a two-year statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases from the date of the injury or death. There may be exceptions that apply to your case so it is imperative that you promptly consult an experienced Atlanta, Georgia medical malpractice lawyer without delay.
In addition to a statute of limitations, Georgia also has a statute of respose, which is also set forth in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71. The statute of repose is considered the absolute cut-off for filing medical malpractice cases even when exceptions or tolling may apply unless there is some fraud or some other exception that might apply. In Georgia, the statute of repose is five years from the negligent act or omission. Each situation is different, and there could be other rules that apply to your case so you should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, to evaluate your case. To learn more about whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim, contact an Atlanta, Georgia medical malpractice attorney at The Moses Firm.
Call The Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Moses Firm Today
The attorneys at The Moses Firm have experience handling complicated medical malpractice claims. Our attorneys are ready to help you and fight for you if needed. Call us today at 404-721-1050 for a free consultation with one of our dedicated Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys.