Assisting Clients in Gwinnett County Bring Medical Malpractice Claims Against Healthcare Providers
People place their lives in the hands of medical doctors and other healthcare providers every day. Healthcare providers in Gwinnett County owe their patients a duty of reasonable care when treating them. When a healthcare provider violates this standard of care, and a patient becomes injured or ill, or if the patient’s current injury or illness becomes worse due to medical negligence, then the healthcare provider can be on the line for medical negligence or medical malpractice.
Cases of alleged medical negligence and malpractice could take a significant period of time to investigate and resolve. If you or someone you love suffers from a medical complication that you believe resulted from a healthcare provider’s carelessness or negligence, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side as soon as possible.
The Gwinnett County personal injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can speak with you about your situation and begin an investigation to determine whether medical negligence occurred. In medical malpractice cases, there are specific procedural requirements in investigations and litigation to which everyone involved must adhere. An experienced Brauns Law lawyer will be sure to follow these procedures and observe all protocols to help you pursue and recover the monetary compensation that you deserve.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Medical negligence or malpractice takes place when a healthcare provider makes a serious medical mistake. Although medical negligence can take several different forms, all types can result in severe injuries and conditions that can sometimes impact a patient for the rest of their life.
Some of the most common types of malpractice in the medical context include:
- Poorly performed medical procedures
- Failing to secure the written consent of the patient
- Careless actions or inactions during a medical procedure
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a patient’s medical condition
- Unsanitary conditions
Poorly Performed Medical Procedures
Doctors are required to perform injections, surgeries, and other medical procedures in a safe, careful, and reasonable manner that fits within the established standard of care. For example, the regional standard of care should dictate the actions of an internist. Medical specialists, on the other hand, must perform in accordance with a national standard of care. When a doctor performs a procedure unreasonably, they may be liable for medical negligence or malpractice.
Failing to Secure the Written Consent of the Patient
Whenever a patient decides to undergo medical treatment or a medical procedure, the healthcare provider must explain all of the potential risks and benefits of the procedure to the patient beforehand. The patient can then decide whether or not to undergo the medical procedure. The patient must also provide written consent to the procedure, should they choose to go forward with it. If the patient can’t provide their written permission, then the patient’s guardian or representative may sign for the consent.
If a healthcare provider does not receive the patient’s consent to a procedure, or if the provider exceeds the scope of that consent, and a complication occurs during the procedure as a result, then the patient may file a claim or lawsuit against the provider for medical malpractice.
Careless Actions or Inactions During a Medical Procedure
When a healthcare provider performs a medical procedure, the provider must abide by all of the established norms for performing that procedure. In addition, the healthcare provider must act safely and carefully before, during, and after it. If a healthcare provider leaves a surgical instrument, sponge, or some other foreign object inside the patient’s body before closing the surgical wound, resulting in chronic pain, discomfort, or another complication for the patient, the healthcare provider may be on the line for negligence.
Performing the Wrong Procedure
Healthcare providers are also responsible for ensuring that they perform the correct medical procedure on a patient. An example of performing an incorrect medical procedure would be operating on a patient’s left leg when it was the right leg that needed the operation. Moreover, if a healthcare provider performs a procedure on part of the body to which the patient did not consent, medical negligence or malpractice may have occurred.
Misdiagnosing or Failing to Diagnose a Patient’s Medical Condition
Finally, healthcare providers are responsible for making sure that they accurately diagnose a patient’s medical condition. They do this by performing imaging studies, such as MRIs and X-rays, along with diagnostic tests, such as biopsies. It is also essential that they complete this testing within a reasonable amount of time. When a healthcare provider does not do the proper testing on a patient, it is more likely that they will fail to diagnose the patient’s underlying medical condition. At other times, the healthcare provider may diagnose a patient with the wrong medical condition.
When the provider does not test within a reasonable period of time, a delayed diagnosis can result. Such a delay may lead to more serious illnesses, injuries, and medical complications. If a patient shows that a healthcare provider misdiagnosed, failed to diagnose, or delayed in diagnosing a medical condition, resulting in a further complication, the patient may have a valid legal claim for medical malpractice.
Healthcare providers are responsible for adequately sanitizing all operating rooms and other areas where they see patients. The utmost importance of proper sanitization is made even more evident in the current age of COVID-19. In addition to properly sterilizing operating tables and rooms, healthcare providers must adequately maintain and sanitize all medical instruments they use on patients. If a patient develops an infection, illness, or some other medical condition due to unsanitary medical instruments or a lack of cleanliness in the operating room, the patient may have a claim for medical negligence or malpractice against the healthcare provider who performed the treatment or procedure.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a medical mistake that resulted in a more serious complication, you may have a valid legal claim for medical malpractice against the healthcare provider who treated or operated on you. The knowledgeable team of Gwinnett County medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate your case and determine whether malpractice occurred. If it did, your attorney could assist you with filing the proper claim.
Statute of Limitations in Gwinnett County Medical Malpractice Cases
If you have decided to bring a medical negligence or malpractice claim against a healthcare provider, you must do so within the required time frame. The state of Georgia, just like other jurisdictions in the country, has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Statutes of limitation are in place to ensure that investigations and litigation take place when evidence is still fresh, witnesses are readily available, and memories are fresh.
Pursuant to Section 9-3-71 of the Georgia Code, there is a set window of time for filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit in the state of Georgia. In most cases, a lawsuit must be filed against a negligent doctor within a two-year period, starting on the date when the patient sustained their injury (or on the date when the patient passed away) due to a healthcare provider’s negligent omissions or actions.
When it comes to negligent omissions and actions, a healthcare provider may have committed a surgical error or failed to diagnose (or misdiagnosed) a medical condition. At other times, a healthcare provider may have made a severe medical error during surgery or another medical procedure.
In addition to this two-year statute of limitations deadline, there is an overarching five-year filing deadline that applies to a statute of repose in some cases. For example, if a patient did not discover a healthcare provider’s medical mistake or the patient did not discover the error until a period of time after an operation or procedure, then the patient has five years from the date of discovering the medical error to file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider.
In the majority of medical malpractice cases, the windows of time set by statutes are strict deadlines. In other words, if you fail to file your lawsuit within the set period of time, you will forever waive your claim to monetary compensation in the form of damages. There are, however, some limited exceptions.
For example, in cases where a healthcare provider leaves a sponge, surgical instrument, or some other foreign object inside a patient’s body following surgery, then the patient has one year from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit against the provider for medical negligence.
This one-year window of time applies even in cases when the two-year statute of limitations or the five-year statute of repose have elapsed. Exceptions also exist in cases where the patient is a minor at the time when the healthcare provider committed the act of medical negligence or malpractice.
The knowledgeable team of Gwinnett County medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will make sure that any claim or lawsuit for medical negligence is filed within the proper time period and well within the applicable statute of limitations deadline.
Requirements for Filing a Complaint Against a Healthcare Provider
In most medical malpractice cases, there comes a time when you will need to file a legal complaint against the negligent healthcare provider in the court system. However, in addition to submitting your complaint with the court, you must fulfill an expert affidavit requirement.
A qualified medical expert is required to complete the affidavit that will accompany the complaint. The qualified medical expert must be a practicing physician with the necessary qualifications to give medical testimony at a jury trial. Moreover, the qualified medical expert must be willing to attest, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the defendant physician committed at least one act of medical malpractice or negligence. The affidavit must also set forth a factual basis for the expert’s opinion that the defendant healthcare provider committed medical negligence or malpractice.
The affidavit requirement is an extremely important and essential component of the medical malpractice complaint process. If you do not submit a medical affidavit along with your complaint, the defendant doctor’s attorney will probably file a motion to dismiss your complaint. The court may then grant that dismissal request, depending upon the circumstances.
The experienced team of Gwinnett County medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will make sure that you comply with the expert affidavit requirement and will file your complaint in a timely fashion in the state court system.
Call a Gwinnett County Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
When an injured patient decides to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against a healthcare provider, the patient has the burden of proof in all of the legal elements of the medical malpractice claim. First, the injured patient must demonstrate that the healthcare provider violated the duty of reasonable care and that as a result, the patient sustained one or more injuries or now suffers from one or more medical complications.
If the patient can demonstrate this violation on the part of the defendant, then they may recover monetary compensation for mental distress, emotional anguish, pain and suffering, the costs of all related medical bills, lost earnings, loss of use of a body part, or loss of enjoyment of life, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
If you or a person you care about has received injuries as a result of medical negligence or malpractice, the experienced team of attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with pursuing and recovering the compensatory damages that you need. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Gwinnett County medical malpractice attorney, please give us a call at (404) 418-8244 or contact us online for more information.
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