As trusted injury lawyers in Georgia, we’ve helped countless clients secure the compensation they deserve. If you’ve suffered serious losses in an accident caused by someone else, we may be able to help you, too. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
Healthcare can be expensive, especially if you’re uninsured or underinsured. When you finally decide to seek medical treatment, you expect to receive high-quality care. Unfortunately, that’s not always what you get.
Each year, many Georgians find themselves in a nightmare scenario: They visit their healthcare provider, but instead of getting better, they emerge from treatment worse than before. Unsure of their rights and options, they continue to suffer in silence. And then the new bill arrives.
At Joseph Williams Law, we can’t stand to see people treated this way. If you’ve suffered serious injuries or illness at the hands of a medical professional, you deserve compensation. Luckily, we may be able to help you secure a settlement through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you’re injured, afraid and unsure of where to turn, take heart: You do have options. This article will explain everything you need to know about medical malpractice cases in Georgia, including why a compassionate medical malpractice lawyer may be your best option to find justice.
If you’ve been harmed by a healthcare professional in Georgia, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Call our law firm at (912) 259-6548 to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice specialists today.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
In simplest terms, medical malpractice is negligence committed by a medical professional. It refers to a preventable error that resulted in harm to a patient.
It’s important to understand that not every injury that occurs in a medical setting involves malpractice. You’re only eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the practitioner’s negligence is considered actionable, meaning the following three must be true:
- The physician owed you a duty of care.
- There was a breach of that duty.
- The breach of duty resulted in or caused you harm.
In order to prove liability, you’ll need to demonstrate that the doctor owed you a duty of care. Although a physician has no legal duty to assist an injured stranger, they do have an obligation to people with whom they’ve entered into a patient-doctor relationship.
For example, suppose a doctor is eating dinner at a restaurant when one of the patrons starts having a heart attack. Legally, the doctor is not obligated to help the stranger, so if they choose not to, the cardiac arrest victim can’t sue for medical malpractice. However, if the doctor does jump in and try to assist, they are liable for any injuries that result from negligence.
Essentially, a doctor doesn’t owe you a duty of care until they enter into a relationship with you as your doctor. But after doing so, they must act with the skills, quality of care and diligence expected of any other reasonably competent physician, a level known as the standard of care. Failure to do so leaves them open to a lawsuit.
Suing for Medical Negligence
Medical negligence can occur in a variety of scenarios and be caused by several different types of healthcare professionals. Most medical malpractice claims come into play when a healthcare professional is negligent during the diagnostic, treatment or advisement process.
Common mistakes made during the treatment or diagnosis include the following:
- Failure to order the appropriate tests
- Failure to review lab results
- Failure to treat a patient’s infection
- Failure to diagnose cancer
- Failure to identify and treat medical conditions in an appropriate time frame
- Prescription drug errors leading to injury or overdose
Errors made during surgical procedures are also fertile ground for medical malpractice claims. Mistakes can include organ transplant errors, plastic surgery errors and leaving surgical objects in during surgery, as well as errors resulting in birth defects or injury to the mother.
Although many medical malpractice lawsuits are directed toward individual providers, they can also be brought against organizations. These are especially prevalent in nursing facilities and can include accusations of negligent patient supervision, bedsores and overall negligence.
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries?
Determining liability in medical malpractice cases isn’t always easy and will likely require a thorough investigation on the part of your attorney. After reviewing the evidence and consulting industry experts, your medical malpractice lawyer will pinpoint an individual, facility or multiple providers as the at-fault party.
Potential defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits include physicians, surgeons or specialists, as well as nurses at all levels of training. They may also be anesthesiologists, pharmacists, medical technicians, dentists, psychiatrists—any healthcare provider that owed you a duty of care and breached it.
In some cases, the defendants are organizations, including hospitals, clinics, treatment facilities and nursing homes. Rather than individual errors, these cases deal with systemic failures and negligence that is typically perpetrated on multiple levels.
How to Win Your Medical Malpractice Cases
It’s important to understand that securing a settlement in medical malpractice cases—especially compared with other types of injury cases—is far from a guarantee. Healthcare providers and their professional liability insurers typically do everything they can to fight accusations of medical negligence, and in many cases, they win.
In fact, research suggests that physicians win 80% to 90% of jury trials with weak evidence of medical negligence and about 70% percent of cases with borderline compelling evidence. Perhaps most notably, healthcare providers win about 50% of cases where strong evidence of medical malpractice is presented.
These statistics, while jarring, shouldn’t dissuade you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. However, they should impress upon you the importance of hiring a top medical malpractice lawyer who has the experience, resources and skills to secure the settlement you deserve.
Factors That Affect Your Compensation
Before pursuing a lawsuit, many injury victims want to know how much compensation they stand to gain. The answer, however, depends on the specific details of each particular case, including the following factors:
- The egregiousness of the provider’s error
- The severity of harm or injury caused to the patient
- The provider’s liability insurance coverage
To support your medical malpractice claim, your attorney will present numerous pieces of critical evidence, including official medical records, bills, radiology films, etc. They may also present electronic communication between providers discussing your care, as well as witness interviews and depositions from other healthcare providers.
In Georgia, medical malpractice lawyers are required to use a medical expert who can establish the appropriate standard of care. This expert witness is called to explain to the court how a healthcare provider may have breached the standard of care, injuring the patient as a result.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive
Under Georgia law, medical malpractice victims can receive both economic damages and non-economic damages. Whereas economic damages refer to calculable financial losses like medical expenses, lost wages, etc., non-economic damages refer to losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Medical malpractice is complex, and proving negligence can be difficult when it requires specialized medical knowledge. If you’re wondering if you have a case, the best way to find out is by speaking with a trusted medical malpractice lawyer. In the meantime, read through the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
• What is informed consent?
Informed consent is a legal concept based on the idea that a physician has a duty to disclose the necessary information so that the patient can make an informed decision about their treatment. This information includes potential benefits, risks and alternatives associated with a medical procedure or treatment, as well as a patient’s written consent to proceed.
• How will a jury know if a doctor’s actions were negligent?
Most jury members won’t have the specialized knowledge necessary to recognize medical negligence on their own. That’s why medical malpractice lawyers in Georgia are required to present testimony from a medical expert who can explain how the provider acted negligently.
• Can I sue for medical malpractice if I’m unhappy with the results of my surgery?
There’s no guarantee when it comes to the outcome of a particular surgery, and a patient’s dissatisfaction with the result is not grounds for a lawsuit. Unless they can prove the necessary elements, including that the provider’s deviation from the standard of care resulted in their injuries, they won’t have a claim.
Joseph Williams Law: Premier Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Georgia
When you undergo medical treatment, you expect to get better—not worse. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation that many Georgians find themselves in each year, and most of them have no idea where to turn.
At Joseph Williams Law, we specialize in supporting injury victims of all kinds, including individuals who have been harmed at the hands of their trusted medical providers. When you’re ready to pursue the compensation you deserve, getting started is simple. Contact our law office online to schedule a free case evaluation or give us a call at (912) 259-6548.
how can we help you?
Are you in need of a qualified lawyer in South Georgia? Williams Law is here to help with unmatched knowledge of the law and a personal approach with your best interests at its center.
We offer free consultations: let us know the details about your case in the box below, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.