Do I have a medical malpractice case?
DO I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
First and foremost, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Georgia to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case. The trusted, experienced, and proven Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers and attorneys at The Moses Firm can help you determine, for free, whether you have a viable case.
There are many legal and practical considerations that must be taken into account to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case.
Legally, there are four essential elements of a viable medical malpractice case in Georgia. They are (1) duty; (2) breach of duty; (3) causation; and (4) damages.
(1) DUTY: A plaintiff/patient must prove that the healthcare provider (that is, the physician or the nurse) had a duty to do something or not to do something. In medical malpractice cases, a “duty” is called the “standard of care,” and what that means legally, is that the care provided by the healthcare provider “must be of such degree of care and skill as, under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances, is ordinarily employed by the profession generally.” O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27. In other words, it is essentially what an ordinary and reasonable healthcare provider would do in the same or similar situation. If you have a viable medical malpractice case, your Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys will hire highly-credentialed expert witnesses who are practicing doctors and/or nurses who will testify about what ordinary and reasonable healthcare providers would do in the situation at issue. This duty/standard of care can also be proven to a jury by showing what is taught in medical schools/nursing schools; what is published by a professional society in their own standards and practice guidelines; what is documented in textbooks; what is discussed in peer-reviewed journals and articles; what is tested on a board examinations; what is taught at continuing medical education; and by even pointing to a hospital’s own policies and procedures.
(2) BREACH OF DUTY: When a healthcare provider fails to due what an ordinary and reasonable healthcare provider would do in the same or similar situation, this is called a breach of duty or a violation in the standard of care. By proving that a healthcare provider breached their duty/violated the standard of care in a situation alone does not mean you have a viable medical malpractice case. You must establish the other elements of a medical malpractice case.
(3) CAUSATION: In order to have a viable medical malpractice case, the breach of duty/ violation of the standard of care must have caused the injury to the patient. The injury must have occurred in the natural or ordinary course of events. In Georgia, the negligent act does not need not be the only cause nor the last or nearest cause. There may be other causes that contribute to the injury, but all that is required is that the negligent act caused and/or contributed to the injury. This must be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence”. In other words, the negligent act must “more likely than not” or “by the greater weight of the evidence” have caused the injury. A jury does not have have to be “certain” or “100 percent sure” that the negligent act caused the injury. All that is required in Georgia (and in every other state) is that a plaintiff prove their case with 50.1 percent confidence level that the negligent act caused or contributed to the injury. Therefore, a jury can have 49.9 percent doubt about whether a healthcare provider’s negligent act caused the injury, but in this case, Georgia law still requires a jury find for the plaintiff as long as there is at least 50.1 percent proof.
(4) DAMAGES: A plaintiff must have suffered some injury in order to have a viable medical malpractice case. Most viable medical malpractice cases involve serious or catastrophic injuries (like death, brain damage, paralysis, and amputations of arms and/or legs). There are essentially two categories of damages in Georgia, which are (1) economic and (2) non-economic damages. The economic damages includes medical bills, past and future lost wages, and funeral expenses. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering, the value of the permanency of the injury, and/or the value of the loss of life.
In addition to the necessary legal requirements of a viable medical malpractice case, there are also many practical considerations that an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will need to evaluate when deciding whether they can represent you. Being able to prove the four legal elements above alone are not the only factors that must be considered because medical malpractice cases are very difficult cases to pursue and win. Some of the reasons why they are difficult are that:
- Medical malpractice cases are aggressively defended by experienced medical malpractice defense lawyers;
- Multi-million dollar insurance corporations with deep pockets pay for and fund the defense of these cases;
- Healthcare providers can easily find expert witnesses to defend their medical care even when the care is shockingly poor and substandard, and it is more difficult for patients to find physician expert witnesses who are willing to speak the truth and stand up for patients and victims of medical malpractice;
- Medical malpractice cases take an extraordinary amount of work and take many years to complete; and
- Medical malpractice cases cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight in court.
Because of the challenges, the effort, and the risk involved in pursuing a medical malpractice case, your situation must be carefully evaluated—legally and practically—by experienced medical malpractice lawyers. Lawyers take into account the strength of the case; the egregiousness of the medical error; the magnitude of the injury and damages; the venue of the potential case; the patient’s medical history and how healthy they were before the injury; the significance and value of the pain and suffering that the injury caused among other things.
If you have a medical malpractice concern in Georgia, it is best to consult and hire a trusted, experienced, and proven Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who knows the nuances of Georgia law and who has the contacts to be able to help you. Many medical malpractice victims make the mistake of hiring an out-of-state lawyer to handle their Georgia case. Out-of-state lawyers do not know the intricacies of Georgia law, and they do not have the contacts to obtain the best possible outcome for the case. The trusted, experienced, and proven Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at The Moses Firm will carefully evaluate the legal and practical aspects of your case for free to determine whether you have a viable case.
If you have a viable case that we accept, The Moses Firm will represent you for free and will pay for all the case expenses at zero risk to you. You will only pay for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation if we obtain a recovery for you. If you have questions about the medical care you or a loved one received, please reach out to the trusted, experienced, and proven Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at The Moses Firm. We are here to help.