Georgia Medical Malpractice Statutes of LimitationWith any type of personal injury case, including medical malpractice cases, you need to abide by the statute of limitations that Georgia gives victims of these kinds of injuries. To succeed with your medical malpractice, you have to pay attention to how much time passes after your injury. Georgia allows for victims of medical malpractice two years from the date of their injury to bring their case or settle it in civil court. Sometimes, that doesn’t necessarily mean two years from the date of the incident that caused your injuries. Medical malpractice has some gray area for the statute of limitations because there are some incidents of medical malpractice that do not reveal themselves right away. For instance, if you have undergone surgery and have serious pain days or weeks after the surgery to find out that your surgeon left a tool in your body, then your statute of limitations would begin the day you discover there is a tool in your body and not the initial day of your surgery. Another example would be if you were given a prescription from your pharmacist, under the impression that it is the right medication you take it. Eventually you discover that you’re either not getting better, or you have unusual side effects that signify that you are not taking the right medication. Your statute of limitations begins when you discover the malpractice in this instance.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases We Have Successfully HandledMedical malpractice is a sort of blanket term for a lot of different kind of incidents and accidents. We have handled a lot of different types of medical malpractice cases and encourage you to call our office if you or someone you loved has been a victim of any of the following types of medical malpractice cases. They include:
- A misdiagnosis case
- A surgical error case
- An anesthesia error case
- A medication error case
- A birth injury case
Frequently Asked Medical Malpractice Questions
What mistakes should I avoid when filing a medical malpractice claim?
When we have people come to see us over a potential medical malpractice claim, we often see that they have harmed their case by doing several things that are hard to recover from. We don’t want this to happen to you, so here are some things to avoid. First thing to do is to document your injury when you realize there is an issue following some sort of medical treatment or procedure.It’s important to go back and make sure you have records documenting what has occurred. You may or may not feel comfortable going back to the same doctor who has caused the harm, so use your judgment of whether you think you should go back to that doctor or go to an independent doctor. It’s very important to make sure you are getting treatment and you’re documenting that something went wrong as a result of your medical treatment. Also, we find that people have waited too long in medical malpractices cases to seek legal representation and get the right attorney. Medical malpractice cases are cases where evidence can tend to disappear quickly, especially when medical devices are involved. It’s important that you get the right attorney involved so that evidence can be preserved, and you will have the ability to present that case later as you develop the evidence. Make sure you hire an attorney who knows how to handle medical malpractice cases and can take those cases all the way through trial with expert witnesses, if necessary.
What is failure to diagnose?
One interesting type of case we see on a fairly regular basis is a medical malpractice case known as a “failure to diagnose.” When a patient is put through a series of tests that may indicate many types of afflictions or illnesses but doctors miss it and cause harm to the patient as a result, the case is born out of that failure to diagnose. We most often see these in cancer cases when there are indicators that are not picked up on; in some cases, that means that a person’s cancer gets further down the line and the treatment is either not effective or it has to be more drastic than it would have been, if the cancer had been identified early on.If you have been in a situation where you feel like a doctor who was treating you or a loved one did not diagnose the condition that you had in time, and that was negligent on the part of the doctor, please give us a call as early on in the process as you can so that we can help you negotiate this situation and see if you may have a potential medical malpractice claim for failure to diagnose.
What should I look for when choosing a medical malpractice attorney?
One increasingly common type of case that we encounter is for medical malpractice. A medical malpractice case involves a doctor or nurse who has breached the standard of care for their industry and in doing so, injured a patient. It’s extremely important to make sure when hiring a medical malpractice attorney that you have someone who has extensive experience with these types of cases. They are very difficult to work up and require a lot of expert witnesses to make your case. You want to make sure that you have an attorney who has demonstrated his or her ability to take these cases and achieve successful results. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we regularly handle personal injury cases. We want to make sure that our clients get the best possible resolutions.Another issue that you want to make sure you address is to make sure you have an attorney that knows the insurance system, how it works and how to get the best possible result for you. I spent many years representing insurance companies before switching sides to begin representing injured individuals in personal injury cases. I have defended medical malpractice cases. Now, I can put the knowledge I have of those types of cases to use for my clients to help them achieve the best possible result. Finally, always make sure that you have an attorney who has demonstrated that he or she will take cases all the way through to trial when necessary. Most cases settle before trial, but in some instances insurance companies will not issue fair offers and an attorney is required to take a case to trial. Unfortunately, there are a lot of attorneys around who simply will not go to trial. These attorneys are never going to get the best possible offers and resolutions for their clients because the insurance company know that they’re simply going to take whatever offer they can get, even if it’s not a fair one. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time trying cases and putting them to juries to help our clients get fair compensation.
How much does it cost to hire a medical malpractice lawyer?
With regard to medical malpractice cases and all other types of cases we handle, we are frequently asked what the cost is for our services. One of the important things that you need to know about personal injury cases is that we handle these matters on a contingent fee basis. That means that we are compensated based on a percentage of the recovery in a case, whether it’s a car wreck case, a medical malpractice type of case, or any other type of case. You’re never required to pay money out of your own pocket for a personal injury lawyer such as myself, so the cost to you is only a percentage of the recovery. If there’s no recovery, then you don’t own anything. This is a portion of the risk that the attorney has to take on while we carefully evaluate our cases.The great thing about this is that someone who has a medical malpractice case or thinks they have a medical malpractice case will always have access to an attorney to evaluate that claim and let them know whether or not it is viable. If you think you have a medical malpractice claim or someone you know has a medical malpractice claim that needs to be evaluated, please give us a call as soon as possible so that we have the maximum amount of time to investigate that claim and help you determine whether there is a claim that needs to be pursued.
Should I speak with insurance companies about my medical malpractice claim?
When someone is injured in a medical malpractice incident, they are often asked by the insurance carrier for the responsible party to give a recorded statement on their claims of what occurred. We are often asked by our clients whether it is a good idea to give these recorded statements. The answer is always no. While you may think this will help your case, the exact opposite is true. Insurance companies will use trained claims examiners who know to ask questions in a way that can lead to misleading and vague answers that could harm your case in the future. Don’t ever give a recorded statement to an insurance carrier without a lawyer present. There’s nothing that can be gained from this and it can only harm your case. You have no obligation to give such a statement.
Do I need a minimum amount of medical bills to file a medical malpractice claim?
When we have clients come see us about potential medical malpractice claims, there is some investigation and evaluation that needs to be done as to the significance of medical expenses associated with the claim. That is because medical malpractice claims are very expensive to bring. While it’s not necessary to have extensive medical expenses associated with the claim, it certainly does help. If you have a claim that doesn’t have much in the way of medical expenses associated with it, you certainly have to look at it with a skeptical eye, especially if it’s not a wrongful death case.In general, medical malpractice cases are very involved. They are very evidence-based. These cases generally require multiple expert witnesses, which is very expensive. They can take a long time to work up. You don’t want to pursue a medical malpractice claim where the value of compensation for the injury might top out at $50,000 when you expect to spend $75,000 just to work up the case. That’s not a good result for anyone and that’s not a good use of anyone’s time. What we want to look at are your injuries and the impact that they have. There are some injuries or some issues where there’s clear negligence on the part of a physician or a nurse, but the impact is not that significant. That can be something as simple as having a screw that dislodges after a surgery, but it’s not doing any damage. Those aren’t good cases. What you’re looking for in a medical malpractice case is something where someone’s suffered a life-altering injury that’s not going to go away and can’t be remedied, or that the medical treatment caused death. Rather than looking at medical expenses, look at the significance of the injury and work backwards to whether there is a medical malpractice case involved. A lot of these cases arise just because the circumstances are suspicious. Someone is undergoing a surgery and there really should be no reason they pass away as a result of that surgery. That’s something we want to evaluate and then look at the records to see what indication there is that something may have gone wrong.
How long will my medical malpractice case take?
When we have clients see us who have been victims of medical malpractice, one of the first things they always want to know is how long will it take to resolve their claim. Medical malpractice claims generally take a long time to resolve because they are heavily fact-intensive and take a lot of investigation and reliance on expert witnesses to resolve. The medical field fights hard against medical malpractice claims. The insurance carriers of the responsible parties make it very difficult to resolve these claims. Medical malpractice claims are very rarely resolved before filing a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit is filed, we have to go through the process of discovery, which is where we gather all the information that supports our case and allows us to make a claim that the medical professional has violated the standard of care and that violation injured our client. These types of cases can easily take two to five years to resolve. Often, they have to be tried to a jury.
Do most medical malpractice cases go to trial or do they settle before trial?
In most situations, one thing clients want to know about medical malpractice cases from the beginning is whether a case will go to trial. As with any other type of personal injury case, there’s no way to know early on in the claim whether it will go to trial. Whether a case goes to trial is largely driven by how reasonable or unreasonable the insurance company is going to be with regards to compensation. If an insurance company is not going to be reasonable with regards to the amount of compensation that’s due, we often have to take the case to trial and put it before a jury to obtain compensation. Insurance companies do everything they can to keep as much of their money as possible. In a lot of situations, they make it as difficult as possible, which means that you have to go to trial. As with any other type of claim, however, the vast majority of claims get resolved and are settled before going to trial.At the Gunnels Law Firm, we work up every case that we have as if we are going to trial so that we are ready in the event a case is called upon to go to trial. If the case settles, all the better, but we are always going to be prepared and ready to try any case that we have. If you have a medical malpractice case that you’d like to have evaluated and you need some assistance, please give us a call as early on in the process as possible so that we have plenty of time to evaluate that case and let you know whether it should be pursued.
How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
When people come to us after being injured due to hospital negligence, they want to know what is the value of their medical malpractice case. Because there are so many variables in these situations, there is no easy answer that can be given right away. First, if you’re able to physically recover from whatever damage you’ve suffered, that case has a lot less value to it than a case where you’ve suffered a permanent injury. We have to see what the extent of your recovery is before we even begin to think of what the value of the case may be.Under Georgia law, the things you’re entitled to recover when you’re injured due to the negligence of another are broken down into two categories. The first one is called special damages. This is lost income and medical expenses. It’s easy to determine the value of those things. The harder one to determine is non-economic damages. These are things like the amount of pain and suffering you’ve had over a given period, or the amount of pain and suffering you may have in the future, things such as the loss of ability to live your life the way you want to. For example, if you played a lot of tennis and now you can no longer play tennis ever again because of this injury, that’s a life pleasure that you don’t get to experience anymore. You’re entitled to compensation for those things. In working through these types of claims, we have to look at all the different variables in addition to the liability aspect. There are not a lot of clear liability medical malpractice claims. Doctors always tend to claim that what they did was the right thing. They’re always able to go out and find experts that will say most anything they want them to say for a price. You have to evaluate the strength of your claim in addition to how much insurance coverage they have, which for doctors is usually fairly substantial. The best thing to do if you think you have been injured due to the negligence of a doctor or nurse is to see a personal injury attorney right away to make sure that you can present your case in the most effective way possible.