Helping Patients Hold Negligent Doctors Accountable in Lawrenceville
When people visit a medical doctor or another healthcare provider for a lingering medical condition or problem, they expect their doctor to exercise the proper degree of care when providing treatment, performing medical procedures, and prescribing medication.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and even good healthcare providers can occasionally make mistakes. If you believe that you suffer from a complication that was a result of medical negligence or medical malpractice, you may hold the responsible healthcare provider accountable.
Cases that involve medical malpractice or medical negligence can take a significant amount of time to investigate and resolve properly. In many cases, experts will have to testify about the alleged medical mistakes that the treating healthcare provider may have made.
In addition, when it comes to filing a claim or lawsuit arising from medical negligence or medical malpractice, you need to satisfy various procedural requirements promptly. Therefore, you should not take on such a claim without the assistance of an experienced Lawrenceville Medical Malpractice Lawyer.
The experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate the circumstances behind the alleged medical malpractice and determine if you have a viable claim. If so, we can assist you with filing a lawsuit and an affidavit of a qualified expert and will pursue your case through the court system. We make it our top priority to help you receive the monetary compensation that you deserve as a result of medical malpractice and medical negligence.
Types of Medical Negligence That Can Lead to a Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit
Serious medical mistakes can lead to a claim against a healthcare provider for medical malpractice or medical negligence. Medical malpractice comes in a variety of forms, and it is compensable when an injury or illness results from the healthcare provider’s negligence.
Some of the most common types of negligence that can occur in the healthcare setting include:
- Failing to obtain a patient’s written consent to a procedure – Before performing a medical procedure on a patient, a healthcare provider is required to obtain the informed written consent of either the patient or the patient’s legal representative or guardian (in cases when the patient is an elderly individual or minor). When a healthcare provider fails to obtain the patient’s consent or does not explain all of the potential risks and benefits associated with a medical procedure before performing it, and some sort of complication occurs as a result of the procedure, the patient may have a valid malpractice claim against the healthcare provider.
- Failing to follow the prevailing medical standard of care – When it comes to treating patients and performing medical procedures, healthcare providers should adhere to a high standard of care. Specifically, they must emulate to the standard of care of a reasonable healthcare provider under the same or similar circumstances. A national standard of care typically applies to healthcare providers who are specialists in a particular field of medicine. If a patient can prove, based upon the testimony of a qualified medical expert, that a healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care when performing a medical procedure or providing medical treatment, then the patient may be successful at a medical negligence claim asserted against the provider.
- Leaving a foreign item inside a patient’s body following a medical procedure – When a healthcare provider, such as a surgeon, performs a medical procedure, they are required to act with the utmost care before, during, and after the procedure. Sometimes, when a healthcare provider is careless, they may leave a surgical instrument, foreign object, or surgical sponge inside of a patient’s body before closing the surgical wound. Serious complications can arise when this takes place, and the patient may sue the healthcare provider for medical malpractice.
- Performing incorrect medical procedures on a patient – In some cases, healthcare providers perform an incorrect medical procedure on a patient. For example, if an accident victim injures their right arm, but the surgeon instead operates on the patient’s left arm, this is a serious medical complication. Moreover, when a healthcare provider acts in this manner, they exceed the scope of the patient’s consent. The patient may assert a claim for medical negligence against the provider.
- Inaccurate medical diagnosis – For a healthcare provider to treat a patient successfully, they must first correctly diagnose the patient’s medical condition. A healthcare provider comes to a diagnosis by examining the patient and ordering imaging studies, such as X-rays and MRIs, as well as biopsies and other medical tests. When the results of these tests come in, a healthcare provider must review them, reach a diagnosis, and treat the patient accordingly. In cases where a healthcare provider makes an incorrect diagnosis, fails to diagnose, or belatedly diagnoses a patient’s medical condition, the patient’s injury or illness may become worse, leading to severe complications. The patient may have a valid medical malpractice claim against the provider.
- Lack of cleanliness in the medical office setting or operating room – In the age of COVID-19, cleanliness and sanitary practices have become essential everywhere, especially in medical offices, operating rooms, and medical facilities. In addition to keeping exam rooms, operating rooms, and other facilities clean at medical offices and hospitals, healthcare providers are also responsible for adequately sanitizing all surgical instruments and other medical devices. If a qualified medical expert can demonstrate that a lack of cleanliness caused your injury or illness, then you may have a valid legal cause of action against your healthcare provider for medical negligence or malpractice.
If you have suffered an injury or illness because of medical negligence, reach out to an experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice lawyer at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm as soon as possible. We will do everything possible to thoroughly investigate your claim and help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Healthcare Provider for Medical Negligence
Doctors and hospitals have insurance companies ready to fight liability when patients file insurance claims for malpractice. For this reason, and because many medical malpractice claims involve severe injuries, not all cases that involve an allegation of medical negligence or medical malpractice settle out of court. Instead, the injured patient’s attorney must file a lawsuit against the at-fault healthcare provider.
However, you must meet other specific requirements, including an expert affidavit requirement.
The purpose of an affidavit of a qualified expert is to provide a complete factual and medical basis for the medical malpractice allegations that you are asserting in your complaint. In the affidavit, the expert must be willing to state, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the defendant doctor committed a minimum of one act of medical negligence or malpractice.
This expert must also be a healthcare provider in good standing who has the necessary qualifications to testify in a court of law. In addition, the affidavit must reference the factual scenario that serves as the basis for the medical malpractice or medical negligence complaint.
The affidavit of a qualified expert is a necessary and essential component of the medical malpractice complaint filing process. In fact, if an expert affidavit does not accompany your filing, the court could dismiss the entire complaint. The experienced Lawrenceville personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will make sure that both the affidavit of a qualified expert, along with the actual complaint, is filed with the court in an efficient and timely manner.
Applicable Deadlines for Filing a Medical Malpractice Complaint in Lawrenceville
Medical malpractice cases, like all other cases, are subject to a Georgia statute of limitations. The statute of limitations serves as the filing deadline for medical malpractice complaints against healthcare providers. In the state of Georgia, under the majority of circumstances, there is a two-year window of time for filing a medical malpractice complaint against a defendant healthcare provider. This two-year period begins on the date of the patient’s injury that resulted from the malpractice or negligence of the healthcare provider.
If the patient passed away as a result of the healthcare provider’s negligence, the two-year filing period begins on the date of the patient’s death. In some instances, the negligence may result from a medical or surgical error. At other times, the healthcare provider may have incorrectly diagnosed, failed to diagnose, or belatedly diagnosed a patient’s medical condition, leading to one or more serious medical complications.
The medical negligence may also stem from a procedural error that a healthcare provider committed during surgery, injection, or some other medical procedure.
It is crucial to keep in mind that there is another potential deadline that applies to medical malpractice cases in Georgia, besides this two-year statute rule. There is an overall five-year statute of repose that applies to medical malpractice cases. The statute of repose comes into play when a patient does not discover a medical mistake that a healthcare provider made until some later point in time.
In those cases, the patient has a period of five years in which to file a complaint against the provider, starting on the date they discovered the medical mistake.
Statutes of limitation and statutes of repose that apply to medical malpractice and negligence cases adhere to very strict deadlines. In other words, if you are the injured patient and you do not file your medical malpractice claim against the at-fault healthcare provider within the set time period, your case will likely end up dismissed. This dismissal means that you can’t pursue monetary compensation for the injuries and complications arising from the alleged medical malpractice.
However, certain exceptions may apply to your case. For example, if you were a minor at the time when the alleged negligent act occurred, the statute of limitations may be tolled for a period of time.
Moreover, in cases where a healthcare provider leaves a foreign object, such as a syringe, surgical instrument, or sponge, inside a patient’s body following a medical procedure, then the patient can still file a lawsuit against their healthcare provider within one year of the date they discover the foreign object’s existence. This one-year time period is still in place even if the two-year or five-year limitations periods have elapsed.
File a medical negligence or malpractice claim against an at-fault healthcare provider promptly. Otherwise, you may be waiving your right to recovering a significant amount of monetary compensation. The experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will make sure to file your case promptly and that the statute of limitations is satisfied in your case. Once we file a lawsuit against the defendant healthcare provider, we can help you pursue the monetary compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Lawrenceville Medical Malpractice FAQ
What is the duty to care in a Lawrenceville medical malpractice case?
Healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and other providers, owe a very high duty of care to the patients whom they serve. Specifically, these professionals must provide the utmost care when treating their patients and perform all medical procedures competently and according to a reasonable standard of care.
What’s the difference between a mistake and medical malpractice?
When a medical provider makes a serious medical mistake while performing a procedure or otherwise acts unreasonably under the circumstances, and a patient suffers a complication, injury, illness, or death as a result, then the provider could be liable for medical malpractice—particularly if the medical professional violated the standard of care.
In the case of an injury or illness that results from medical malpractice, the patient can ultimately file a claim or lawsuit against the provider or the facility where the medical provider works. In the case of a patient death resulting from medical negligence, the deceased patient’s surviving loved ones can bring a wrongful death claim against the offending healthcare provider.
Even good doctors and nurses sometimes make mistakes. However, when medical negligence or medical malpractice has serious consequences, the patient can take legal action against the provider by way of a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical negligence and suffered an injury, illness, or some other medical complication as a result, the experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate your claim, and if necessary, take the appropriate legal action against the healthcare provider who made the mistake.
We will work to help you find closure by pursuing the monetary compensation that you deserve for everything that you endured as a result of the malpractice. If the provider’s insurance company refuses to offer you full and fair compensation, we can litigate your case through the state court system, and if necessary, take it all the way to trial.
What types of healthcare provider actions and inactions constitute medical malpractice and negligence?
Many actions and inactions by healthcare providers constitute medical malpractice or medical negligence in and around Lawrenceville.
These can include:
- Surgical errors
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Medication errors
- Delay of treatment
- Wrongful discharge from the hospital
- Birth injuries
- Hospital errors and infections
Any of these has the potential to result in serious complications and injuries, which might require additional treatment and cause preventable pain.
One of the most common forms of medical malpractice involves negligently or incorrectly performing a medical procedure. When a surgeon or other provider performs a medical operation or procedure, they must perform the procedure following the prevailing standards of care. In fact, many surgeons and specialists are held to a national standard of care when it comes to practicing medicine competently, and they are required to perform all medical procedures under that standard of care.
In addition to performing surgery, injections, or other medical procedure incorrectly, medical malpractice can also include careless actions or inactions that take place during the procedure. For example, the surgeon could carelessly leave a syringe, sponge, or another piece of equipment inside a patient’s body, before closing up the surgical wound. Such carelessness can lead to serious complications for the patient in the future, such as the need for revision surgery.
Failing to obtain a patient’s written consent to a procedure can also amount to medical malpractice by a healthcare provider. Before undergoing an injection, surgery, or other medical procedure, the patient who is authorizing the surgery must provide their informed written consent. If the patient cannot consent, the physician must obtain the written permission of the patient’s legal representative or guardian.
If the patient provides no such consent, a court could deem the procedure that the physician performs unauthorized. If any complication arises, the patient could assert a medical malpractice claim against the negligent healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are also required to perform the correct procedure on the patient (the procedure to which the patient provided their informed written consent). They must not exceed the scope of the patient’s consent. Exceeding the scope of a patient’s consent to a medical procedure can also result in the patient filing a claim or lawsuit against the healthcare provider.
Another common form of medical malpractice in Lawrenceville involves failed or late medical diagnoses. A failed medical diagnosis happens when a healthcare provider misses a medical diagnosis altogether, causing the patient to suffer a serious illness or other complications. The provider can also diagnose the patient’s medical condition too late to avoid serious consequences.
To prevent failed and late medical diagnoses, healthcare providers are required to order the necessary tests, such as biopsies and MRIs, and review the results thoroughly and promptly. In some instances, failed and late medical diagnoses can lead to a patient’s untimely death.
Finally, when a healthcare provider fails to maintain a clean medical facility, the provider can be deemed responsible for any patient injury or illness that reasonably results. Failing to maintain a sufficiently clean office environment can foster the spread of germs and bring about disease, most especially in the current age of COVID-19. Providing a clean office environment means ensuring that all patient exam rooms and examination tables are clean and adequately sterilizing the medical instruments (including those used during a medical procedure) before their use on a patient.
If you or a person you love has suffered an injury, illness, or complication that you believe resulted from medical negligence or malpractice, the experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate your case. If there is a likelihood that malpractice occurred, we can then take legal action against the at-fault healthcare provider on your behalf. We can then pursue a favorable settlement offer on your behalf, and if necessary, litigate the case in the state court system.
Is there a time limit on filing a medical malpractice claim in Lawrenceville?
When it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim in Lawrenceville, there are specific time limits that apply. The purpose of these time limits, called statutes of limitation, is to ensure that evidence remains fresh and that witnesses whose testimony could be important in the case remain available. According to Section 9-3-71 of the Georgia Code, under most circumstances, the time deadline to file a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit seeking monetary compensation and damages is two years.
The clock begins to run from the date on which the patient suffered “death or injury that resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligent omission or act.” Negligent omissions and acts by a healthcare provider include anything that the healthcare provider might have done wrong in your case, such as making a serious medical mistake, failing to diagnose your medical condition, or committing an error while performing a surgery, injection, or other medical procedure.
The medical malpractice statute of limitations in Georgia also allows for an overarching five-year filing deadline (called a statute of repose). This deadline applies when discovering the medical provider’s error did not take place until some later point in time. Regardless of when the patient (or someone else) ultimately found the medical error, you must file any lawsuit against your healthcare provider within the five-year deadline following the discovery date.
In almost all cases, these time limitations are firm deadlines. In other words, if you fail to file the necessary lawsuit against your healthcare provider within the applicable deadline, you can no longer file a lawsuit or assert a claim for monetary compensation and damages at any point in the future.
However, there is an exception that applies when a surgeon negligently leaves an instrument or some other foreign body inside the patient before closing up a surgical wound. In that instance, the patient has a period of one year from the discovery date to file a lawsuit against the negligent healthcare provider. This deadline even applies if the regular two-year or five-year statutory deadlines have already run out.
Moreover, if the patient who was the victim of medical malpractice was less than five years old when the alleged medical malpractice happened, and when a patient is legally incompetent at the time of the alleged negligence, a court can toll the filing deadlines established by the Georgia statute of limitations. Doing so would then allow the patient more time to file a lawsuit arising out of the alleged medical negligence or malpractice.
Failing to abide by time limitations prescribed by the Georgia statute of limitations can have serious consequences in a medical malpractice case. By failing to file on time, you essentially waive your right to pursue and recover monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered that resulted from alleged medical negligence or malpractice. The skilled Lawrenceville medical malpractice lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will be sure to file your case on time, maximizing your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve in an efficient and timely manner.
What is the affidavit-filing requirement in Lawrenceville medical malpractice cases?
If you are contemplating filing a lawsuit for medical negligence or medical malpractice against a healthcare provider, you cannot file the lawsuit all by itself. Contemporaneously with the legal complaint, you must file an expert affidavit, sometimes also known as an affidavit of a qualified expert. This affidavit is a legal document that the qualified medical expert in the case must complete.
In addition, the expert who completes this affidavit must have the necessary qualifications to testify in court and must state, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the offending healthcare provider committed at least one negligent act when treating the patient. For example, the healthcare provider might have botched a medical procedure or failed to promptly diagnose a patient’s serious medical condition.
Although it is relatively rare, the court can allow for a 45-day extension to file the affidavit of a qualified expert in some cases. These extensions are usually only granted if there is a new medical malpractice attorney who is involved in the case, the deadline to file the affidavit is quickly coming up, and there is not enough time for the new medical malpractice attorney in the case to have the affidavit prepared for filing along with the legal complaint.
If the injured patient’s attorney does not file the affidavit at the same time as they file the complaint, then the complaint can be subject to a motion to dismiss that is filed by the healthcare provider’s attorney in the case. Once the defense attorney files the motion, the court will likely rule that the patient did not comply with the affidavit-filing requirement and dismiss the case.
The experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will file a qualified expert affidavit along with the legal complaint in your case in an efficient and timely manner. Your lawyer will also work to help you recover the damages you deserve in your medical malpractice case.
What is the legal burden of proof in a Lawrenceville medical malpractice case?
In a Lawrenceville medical malpractice case, the injured patient has the burden of proving liability and damages. The qualified expert who testifies in your case must show that the offending healthcare provider acted unreasonably under the circumstances. Moreover, they must show that you suffered your injuries and damages as a result of the healthcare provider’s malpractice or negligence.
Assuming you satisfy this legal burden of proof, you could be eligible to recover monetary compensation in the form of damages. For example, you could recover all of your treatment costs and medical bills, including the costs of anticipated future medical procedures that are necessary to correct the healthcare provider’s medical mistake.
In addition, you might recover monetary compensation for all of the inconvenience, physical and mental suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and inability to use a body part that resulted from the alleged medical negligence or malpractice.
Speak With a Lawrenceville Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or a close family member has suffered from a medical complication that you believe resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligent act, seek legal assistance as soon as you can. The legal team at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can thoroughly investigate your case, pursue litigation against an at-fault healthcare provider, and pursue monetary compensation on your behalf.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Lawrenceville medical malpractice attorney, please give us a call at (404) 418-8244 or contact us online for more information.
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Brauns Law, P.C.
892 legacy park Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30043