Table of Contents
- The Truth About Medical Malpractice
- How to Prove Medical Malpractice
- Birth Trauma Malpractice
- Other Common Types of Medical Malpractice
- What Is a Lack of Informed Consent?
- Statute of Limitations and Damage Caps in Duluth
- Contingency Means No Fees Unless We Recover Compensation
- Duluth Medical Malpractice FAQs
Duluth is home to first-class healthcare, including the Gwinnett Medical Center. Even though Duluth residents have access to the best physicians, medical malpractice can still occur. When an individual experiences complications or injuries due to a hospital or medical professional’s negligence, medical malpractice has occurred.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm may file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking financial compensation for physical, mental, and emotional damages. David Brauns is a reputable Duluth medical malpractice lawyer who can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm team will fight to hold negligent medical professionals accountable and obtain the most compensation allowable by law so you can focus on your recovery. Call (404) 418-8244 for a free review of your case now.
Many people think there’s nothing they can do when a physician or healthcare professional makes a mistake that results in harm to a patient. This is simply not true. You have a legal right to receive medical care that is free from negligence, and medical facilities and workers have the duty to care for you with professionalism and safe practices. By law, healthcare professionals cannot be reckless and must exercise reasonable judgment.
Hospitals and medical professionals stand to lose a great deal if a medical malpractice suit is successful. When egregious errors are successfully proven, the responsible parties can lose a significant amount of malpractice insurance money, not to mention the hit they will take to their reputation. In many cases, the parties may even find themselves at the center of a criminal investigation.
With so much on the line, you can expect to encounter strong pushback after a medical accident or mistake. Often, the staff receives training on how to limit their liability exposure. The staff may even hide or deflect the real cause of an injury that takes place, or say there isn’t anything they can do. Always remember that once an accident occurs, the responsible party may not be looking out for your best interests.
You are your best advocate. Please don’t accept the word of the hospital or its staff as final. Contact a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm. We will also advocate for you. Our legal team can help you determine who is the responsible party for an injury to you or a loved one.
To successfully win a medical malpractice claim in Georgia, the plaintiff must meet two important criteria.
You must prove:
- The medical provider failed to provide a duty of care.
- The breach of this duty is the cause of the injury.
When medical professionals act negligently or commit an error easily prevented, it is considered a failure to exercise the required duty of care. For example, a doctor may need to operate on your shoulder to access the tendons. While these sorts of procedures are unfortunate, they are usually a necessary part of the process and not unreasonable by any means.
But what if the technician that day marks the wrong shoulder for surgery, on which the surgeon then operates? In this case, the medical professionals acted negligently. They have a duty of care to protect their patients from such mistakes.
Sadly, and despite the best intentions of the tending medical professionals, injuries occur during childbirth.
When a doctor or health professional makes an error during prenatal care or labor, that mistake can cause a devastating injury to the infant that can leave lifelong damages. Many times the injuries are minor and can be treated successfully, but more severe injuries can impact your child for years to come.
Here are some of the most common reasons for childbirth injuries caused by medical negligence:
- Misuse of forceps during labor
- Oxygen deprivation to the baby
- Surgical errors during a Caesarian section
- Placental abruption and other abnormalities
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Nerve damage during birth
- Hemorrhaging of the mother
When a mother or baby suffers any of these injuries, they face physical, emotional, and financial burdens that are difficult to bear.
The negligence listed above can lead to severe injuries, including but not limited to:
- Cerebral palsy – Research shows that roughly two or three per 1,000 infants have cerebral palsy. In many instances, cerebral palsy is due to brain damage that took place during childbirth.
- Cephalohematoma – This birth injury results in the accumulation of blood under the scalp. A raised bump may become noticeable several hours after birth. Cephalohematoma may occur due to the doctor’s misuse of forceps.
- Brachial plexus – Brachial plexus injuries include nerve damage that extends from the spine to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. The severity of these injuries can vary, from a minor and temporary injury to a permanent disability.
- Facial paralysis – This injury happens when an infant’s face is under immense pressure during delivery, damaging the facial nerves in the process. Like many childbirth injuries, the odds of facial paralysis increase whenever the doctor employs forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver the baby.
- Brain injuries – Injuries to the brain are often the result of oxygen deprivation. Consequently, these injuries can lead to cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. Brain trauma can occur when the baby stays in the birth canal too long or when the infant receives insufficiently monitoring during labor.
Other common types of medical malpractice include:
Misdiagnosis – A misdiagnosis can occur in different ways. For example, a doctor may diagnose a patient with the wrong condition. One of the most common examples of misdiagnosis is when a doctor tells a patient they have the flu when they actually have Lyme disease. Sometimes a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, which is also considered misdiagnosis and can result in an incorrect course of treatment.
Surgical malpractice – This type of malpractice is particularly scary. When you are under the knife, the last thing you want to consider is that your surgeon could make a costly mistake.
Some of the most common are:
- Performing the wrong surgical procedure
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Operating on the wrong patient (Yes, it happens!)
- Leaving instruments inside the patient
- Not using sterile instruments
- Failure to monitor vital signs
- Not practicing safe surgery procedures
When these types of mistakes happen during surgery and harm the patient as a result, that patient likely has a legitimate medical malpractice claim.
Medication mistakes – Patients have the right to expect doctors to possess the required knowledge and experience to prescribe the correct medication properly. Unfortunately, medication errors are more common than we’d like to think, and the consequences can be very serious.
In many cases, a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, which can initiate further health problems in the patient. Other times, the prescribed medication dosages are either too high or not enough, bringing about serious consequences. Sometimes, a healthcare professional writes a prescription without considering the patient’s age, medical history, allergies, and other important factors.
There are countless ways for medication errors to occur, too many to mention in this space, but the bottom line is that you, as a patient, have the reasonable expectation that your prescriptions and treatment are correct for your conditions. If your doctor breaches their duty of care by making a medication error that harms you, you may have a medical malpractice case.
Anesthesia errors – No one wants to go through surgery, and the thought of it is enough to cause anxiety for many patients. However, most people take comfort in the fact that they will be under anesthesia and won’t feel any pain during surgery. What most people don’t count on is that medical professionals sometimes make mistakes when it comes to delivering anesthesia.
For instance, medical professionals may be negligent in preparing the anesthesia, or they may fail to inform the patient of safety procedures properly. Many injuries also occur when the anesthesia receives insufficient monitoring during surgery. Anesthesia errors are potentially hazardous, perhaps even more so than surgical mistakes. Errors in anesthesia delivery can lead to severe brain damage.
Informed consent refers to the process through which a patient learns about the potential benefits and risks of a medical intervention before consenting to that intervention.
Patients have the right to be involved in their medical care decisions.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals must give patients adequate information about their care and potential risks so the patients can make informed decisions about a proposed procedure or treatment. Without such information, a patient cannot provide informed consent to a proposed medical intervention.
Among other things, the physician must provide a detailed explanation of the procedure and inform you why it is necessary. They should also mention other potential treatment options and outline the benefits and potential risks of the proposed treatment. A doctor needs to inform the patient of the expected outcome and the healing time that is likely necessary.
Perhaps most importantly, the doctor should allow the patient ample opportunity to ask questions about the proposed treatment. If a physician fails to provide a patient with adequate information about a medical intervention, and unanticipated injuries occur, a patient may file a claim for damages.
The state of Georgia places a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. Statutes of limitations are essentially time limits, and the window of opportunity to file a medical malpractice claim in Georgia is two years from the date of the injury. If the cause of injuries or death is not known right away, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of discovery. It’s important to note, however, that Georgia also adheres to a five-year statute of repose, which means that you cannot file a claim more than five years after the act that caused your injury regardless of when you discovered the injury.
Let’s says you received medical treatment on March 1, 2014, but you are unaware that the treatment caused harm to you until April 15, 2016. Under the ordinary statute of limitations guidelines, it would be too late to file a malpractice suit. However, under the state’s statute of repose of five years, you would have until April 15, 2021, to file your claim. Similarly, if you didn’t discover that the treatment was responsible for your injury until April 25, 2021 (more than five years from when you received treatment), you would not be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.
It’s also worth noting that Georgia does not impose caps on damages for medical malpractice claims. That means there is no limit to the amount of compensation you could obtain. However, there is a $250,000 cap on punitive damages, with a few exceptions.
At Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, we understand how complex and expensive medical malpractice cases can become. Most cases require substantial legal and financial resources that many Duluth families could not afford to pay for upfront, particularly after a medical mistake has already proven costly.
David Brauns is a committed advocate for his clients and fights each medical malpractice case on a contingency basis, meaning there will never be any fees until you recover financial compensation. By working on a contingency basis, we’ve removed the financial risk for you. If you were injured by a medical mistake, contact Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm today. We’ll go to work for you so you can direct your focus to your recovery.
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about medical malpractice lawsuits. For information regarding your own situation, contact a Duluth medical malpractice attorney directly.
How do I know if I have a Duluth medical malpractice case?
It is hard to know conclusively on your own that you have a strong case that could result in financial compensation. Of course, in some cases, the doctor obviously made a mistake. That is often not the case where some possible claims have gray areas. Medical malpractice cases involve subjective judgments when you are trying to prove that the doctor acted unreasonably. Therefore, getting a professional legal opinion is always a must.
You may have your suspicion that the physician messed up, but won’t know until you get an opinion from an attorney who can advise you about the strength of your case. Your attorney will likely need to consult with medical experts themselves to advise you exactly where your case stands. Therefore, it is best to set up an initial consultation with our attorneys as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Will my Duluth medical malpractice case settle out of court?
While you may frequently hear talk about what happens at trial, the truth is that most medical malpractice claims never get that far. In fact, the large majority of cases filed will end up with a settlement since the doctor and their insurance company also want to manage their own legal risk in your case. However, some cases will end up in court in front of a jury.
If both involved parties cannot agree on a satisfactory settlement agreement, our lawyers are always prepared to try your case in court. In some cases, the defendant simply will not offer you the settlement that you need to cover all of your damages. In those instances, you will have no choice but to take your case all the way to a trial.
With every medical malpractice case, you need to be prepared to litigate, even if the odds are that your case will settle. You need the right Duluth medical malpractice lawyer from Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm on your side.
If my case is likely to settle, why do I need a Duluth medical malpractice attorney?
Settlements do not happen on their own. For your case to reach the point where the defendant will make you a reasonable settlement offer, you will need to do a lot of work that requires professional expertise. The first thing that happens is that you will need to file a legal complaint in court that will survive when the defendant tries to get it dismissed (and they will). Our attorneys will work with the medical experts and review your medical records to ensure that we draft the strongest possible legal complaint for you.
In addition, negotiating a settlement requires professional judgment and expertise. Many people do not even know what their case is worth. The defendant will usually make several lower offers first before they even get serious about settling your case. Our attorneys not only know how to litigate a case, but they are also negotiators with a great deal of experience. They will help you plot legal strategy from their very first conversation with you, so you can be in the best possible position to reach a fair settlement agreement.
What are some examples of medical malpractice in Duluth?
In general, medical malpractice happens when your doctor fails to act as a reasonable doctor would in treating you. What would be considered unreasonable would depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. If a medical mistake injured you, the law might consider it medical malpractice.
Examples of situations of malpractice that could result in compensation include:
- The doctor performs surgery on you and leaves a medical instrument inside your body.
- An obstetrician delays performing a C-section when the baby is in distress, resulting in the infant sustaining permanent birth injuries.
- Your physician fails to diagnose an illness in a timely and accurate fashion.
- The doctor prescribes two different drugs for you without realizing that they can have a dangerous interaction with each other.
These are just some examples. Medical malpractice does not even have to be as egregious as some of the examples above. When your doctor does not uphold the expected standard of care, a court or settlement agreement can make sure they pay you damages.
Can I sue anyone else besides the doctor for medical malpractice in Duluth?
While your doctor carries malpractice insurance, ideally, you would like to sue more entities than just the doctor. Having more defendants with deeper pockets is always better for your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Here, what you are really looking for is the ability to sue the hospital or medical practice where the doctor works. So long as they employ the doctor, and the doctor’s negligence was within the scope of their job, your attorney could add these entities to your lawsuit since the doctor is their representative. Hospitals may carry even more insurance than the doctor, so the policy limits of their coverage could be even greater.
How do I prove that a Duluth doctor was negligent?
One of the major questions that your lawsuit will need to answer is how the doctor’s actions fell short of the appropriate standard of medical care. You may be wondering how you can demonstrate that to the jury’s satisfaction if your case goes to trial.
Your medical malpractice attorney will work with medical experts and other doctors who will help them establish that at trial. Every medical malpractice case will have testimony from medical professionals who will explain to the jury what a reasonable doctor would have done in that situation and what your doctor did wrong.
These experts will review your medical records and the care notes that your doctor made to help recreate what happened at the time of your injury to show that your physician was negligent. Our attorneys have experience working with the necessary experts that would help you prove your case.
How do I pay my Duluth medical malpractice attorney for their work?
As a plaintiff, the good news for you is that your attorney will not ask you for a retainer when they agree to represent you in your case. They will also not present you with a bill each month for every hour of their time. Instead, you both will sign a representation agreement that states the attorney will receive payment via a contingency agreement.
With a contingency agreement, the attorney receives a percentage of their client’s financial recovery as payment for the attorney services, should the case settle in the client’s favor. Your attorney only receives payment if you recover money. You will not be getting a bill for your attorney’s time if you do not win your case.
For purposes of paying your attorney, “winning” is settling your case or claim or prevailing in front of the jury. Most contingency agreements would give your attorney somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent of your recovery. You and the attorney will determine the exact payment at the time when you hire them.
How prevalent are medical errors in the United States?
Statistics show that medical errors happen far more often than you think. In 2018, a Johns Hopkins study found that approximately 250,000 people each year die from medical mistakes. Other studies place that number as high as 440,000. The truth is that we cannot even get an accurate number of how many people die from these mistakes each year because of the way that death certificates report fatalities.
These are just the people who are killed by medical mistakes each year. The number of injuries is far higher. Many of these people have suffered injuries that will completely reduce the quality of their lives. We may never know how many people are injured each year by medical malpractice. All that you know is your injury, which is everything in the world to you and your family.
What kind of damages should I expect in my Duluth medical malpractice case?
Medical malpractice damages intend to put you in the same position as if the injury to you or your loved one never happened. Unfortunately, money cannot restore your health, but it can compensate you for your suffering.
Having said that, your particular damages will depend on what you have experienced after you sustained an injury (or injuries) by medical malpractice. The two different categories of damages that you can generally expect are economic and non-economic damages.
Within these categories, you may receive compensation for:
- All of your medical expenses, both in the past and future
- Lost wages for the time you miss from work, or a reduction in your earning capacity because of your injury.
- Pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- All costs of rehabilitation, therapy, and nursing care that you need
- Punitive damages, depending on the doctor’s mistake
Will damage caps limit my Duluth medical malpractice recovery?
Some states will have damage caps, but they may only limit a part of your recovery in your medical malpractice case. For example, the most common cap that you will see is on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. They may be limited to a certain multiple of your economic damages. Nonetheless, there are generally no limitations on compensation for things like your medical bills and lost wages. Never let any fear of damage caps keep you from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and asking for every penny to which you deserve and need, both now and in the future.
How long do I have to file my lawsuit for medical malpractice in Duluth?
Every state will have a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. In many states, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from when you were injured or should have known that you were injured.
However, the statute of limitations is very strict, and you should not rely on personal knowledge because missing the deadline to file your lawsuit can have dire consequences. If you miss it by even a day, you could permanently lose your right to financial compensation. The possibility of such a loss is another reason why you need to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who knows the rules about statutes of limitations.
Do not wait until the last minute to begin working on your lawsuit because you need to file a strong legal complaint that sets out the facts of your case.
How do I find the right Duluth medical malpractice attorney near me?
Their qualifications and your rapport with them are two major considerations when you look for a medical malpractice attorney. On the first topic, you need to make sure that the lawyer can handle your particular case. Medical malpractice cases can be scientifically intense and require an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. You would not expect someone who specializes in criminal defense to handle a lawsuit against a physician.
Our lawyers have a great deal of experience in handling complex medical malpractice cases, including:
- Surgical errors
- Failures to diagnose
- Treatment mistakes
- Birth injuries
In addition, you could work with your lawyer for a long time, meaning you will have frequent conversations and consultations. You are trusting this lawyer with your financial future. You must trust their experience and have some personal comfort with the lawyer. Our attorneys are compassionate by nature and recognize that handling your case is as much about counseling you as it is fighting on your behalf.
We understand that you are filing your medical malpractice case after you or a loved one has suffered an injury and commit to working with you in an empathetic and caring manner.
If you need the help of a Duluth medical malpractice attorney, look no further than Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm.
Get Help From an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Duluth
If you or someone you love is a victim of medical malpractice, contact our Duluth medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm to see how we can protect your rights. We’ll review your case and answer any questions you may have. We’ll also counsel you on the legal process to seek financial compensation for your damages. Schedule a free initial consultation today by calling (404) 418-8244 or contacting us online.