Decatur Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical professionals are susceptible to human error like anyone else. Hospitals and medical treatment centers establish protocols to protect patients from such errors, but they are unfortunately not foolproof.
As an experienced personal injury attorney can attest, medical malpractice can leave patients with severe injuries or cause premature death. If you or a loved one was hurt by a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, contact a Decatur medical malpractice lawyer and schedule a consultation today.
What Are Common Types of Medical Errors?
Any type of healthcare professional who is licensed to treat patients in Decatur could be liable for malpractice, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, and dentists. Hospitals, medical treatment centers, emergency care facilities, or other entities that perform medical services could also be found responsible for paying damages to an injured patient.
Making a small mistake may not qualify as malpractice, as an injured patient must show that the medical professional’s conduct was grossly negligent, willful, or reckless in order to recover compensation. A plaintiff must also prove that medical treatment that was given to or withheld from them was the direct medical cause of their injury. Regardless of how an injury was sustained, the burden of proof lies on the injured patient.
Mistakes that could constitute medical malpractice include errors made in surgery, misdiagnosis of a condition, incorrect treatment protocols, failure to treat or diagnose a disease, and improper hospital care. A dedicated medical malpractice lawyer in Decatur could help a victim determine whether their doctor’s actions could warrant a lawsuit.
What is The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases in Decatur?
A patient injured by a medical professional in Decatur generally has two years from the date they discovered their malpractice injury to file a lawsuit against the medical professional or treatment center responsible for harming them. If a patient died because of medical malpractice, their family likewise has two years from the date of their death to begin a case.
The statutory period for malpractice begins on the date that the patient discovers their injury as opposed to the date the injury was inflicted, as some medical mistakes are not obvious for months or even years after they happen. Once the patient knows about the malpractice and how it affected them, the two-year filing period begins.
Statute of Repose
Furthermore, a patient cannot file a lawsuit if more than five years have passed since the date of the malpractice. As outlined in the Official Code of Georgia §9-3-71, Decatur’s statute of repose states that a person who discovers their injury four years after their treatment has only one year to file their case.
However, the statute of repose does make an exception for situations where a surgeon or other medical professional leaves a tool or a foreign object inside of a patient during surgery. In this case, a patient would have one year to file a lawsuit from the date the foreign object was discovered, regardless of when it was left there.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
An injured patient may be able to sue for their economic damages and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages in some cases. Economic damages make up the objective costs and expenses that the injured person incurred from the malpractice, such as hospitalization costs, medical bills, and lost wages.
A civil court could also award non-economic damages for a person’s emotional and mental suffering. The State of Georgia does not cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, so injured patients can receive as much compensation for their pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or mental distress as a judge or jury awards.
Punitive damages are relatively rare in medical malpractice cases and are meant to expressly punish a healthcare provider for their actions. These damages are typically only available when there is clear evidence that a medical professional acted with malice, committed fraud, or willfully caused a patient’s injury.
Learn More from a Decatur Medical Malpractice Attorney
Insurance companies for medical providers often deny medical malpractice claims and force victims to prove their case in court. The litigation that follows such claims can be complex and difficult to navigate, so you should enlist the help of skilled legal counsel.
If you were injured by a physician, nurse, hospital, or another medical professional, contact a Decatur medical malpractice lawyer to get started on your case. No matter what, you will always take home more money than our fees upon successful litigation with our firm.