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When you visit a doctor, hospital or health care center in Atlanta, the last thing you might expect is to deal with the harmful errors of a careless physician. Yet medical malpractice occurs at alarming rates in Georgia and throughout the U.S. At Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC, we are passionate legal advocates for victims of medical malpractice in Atlanta. Contact us for a free case review, where we will discuss your legal options as a patient or family member who has suffered from medical malpractice. You may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Georgia?
The legal definition of medical malpractice in Georgia is a death or injury to any person caused by negligent care rendered by an authorized medical, dental or health services professional. Negligent care means care that fell short of the accepted standards of the medical industry. Medical practitioners have a legal and ethical obligation to use a high level of care when treating patients. Any action or omission that falls short of this standard constitutes malpractice when it harms a patient. Common examples of medical malpractice are:
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Mistakes in prescribing or administering medications
- Failure to treat (sending a patient home without medical care)
- Emergency room errors
- Mistakes made during surgery, including anesthesia errors
- Foreign objects left behind in the body cavity
- Causing birth injuries through negligence during pregnancy or delivery
- Poor patient care or follow-up care
- Malfunctioning medical equipment
At Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC, our medical malpractice lawyers represent clients and family members injured due to any type of medical malpractice. We have connections to medical experts and years of experience in this practice area that allow us to understand what our clients are going through. We are passionate about bringing medical professionals and health care centers to justice for the preventable errors in Atlanta that can cost victims their lives.
Elements of an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
To have a valid medical malpractice claim in Georgia, certain elements must exist. You or your medical malpractice lawyer must provide clear and convincing evidence that establishes the following elements as more likely to be true than not true, or true with at least a 51 percent certainty:
- The doctor or defendant owed the victim a duty of care. There must be proof of a doctor-patient relationship between the victim and the defendant. This would have given the defendant a duty to adhere to the applicable standard of patient care.
- The defendant breached this duty of care. The doctor or defendant must have committed an act or omission that was outside of the standard of care; something that a reasonable and prudent health care provider would not have done in similar circumstances.
- The injuries were a direct outcome of the breach of duty. There must be a provable link between the defendant’s breach of the medical standard of care and the victim’s injury, illness, infection or death.
- The victim suffered compensable losses. There must be evidence of specific losses suffered, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to win. You may need an attorney’s assistance to gather evidence and prove these four elements, such as medical records, doctor’s notes and medical expert testimony. You may need a lawyer’s help to meet all of the other legal requirements for this type of lawsuit in Georgia, as well.
What Are the Requirements to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Georgia?
In addition to meeting the burden of proof with clear and convincing evidence, you must obey Georgia’s other medical malpractice laws for a valid lawsuit, such as state-specific filing requirements. These laws include:
- Statute of limitations. State law places a filing deadline of two years on most medical malpractice claims. If you don’t discover your injuries or their cause within two years, however, you may have five years from the date of the negligent act or omission instead (the statute of repose).
- Affidavit of expert. Georgia law requires a plaintiff to accompany a medical malpractice claim with an affidavit prepared by a qualified medical expert, who has given his or her sworn opinion that the health care provider being sued has committed at least one negligent act.
- Evidence. As is the case in any personal injury lawsuit, you will need evidence that proves the claim you are making. You must meet the burden of proof of a “preponderance of the evidence” to win your case. While evidence varies from case to case, it often includes expert opinions, medical records and proof of losses.
It is important to avoid filing errors that could compromise your eligibility for financial compensation. Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer to file your claim for you can ensure a smooth and efficient legal process.
What Is the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement?
Medical malpractice can be extremely harmful to the patients it affects. A victim of medical malpractice in Atlanta may suffer life-changing injuries or medical conditions, such as permanent nerve damage or a spinal cord injury. It is important to understand the true value of your medical malpractice claim before accepting a settlement from an insurance company. You may be eligible for more money than the insurer is offering. You could recover the following types of damages, and more:
- Required medical care, such as revision surgeries or new treatments
- Lost wages and future earnings
- The costs of living with a long-term disability
- Legal fees and other out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional or psychological distress
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages
Case value is generally related to the severity of the victim’s injuries. Other factors that can be used to calculate compensation include age, overall health and the amount of insurance coverage available. Before you rush to accept the very first settlement offer, discuss the value of your case with an attorney at Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC, in Atlanta. You can trust our lawyers to give you a fair and accurate estimation of the value of your case.
Speak to an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney for Free Today
No patient should ever be subjected to the injuries, losses, and pain and suffering that accompany medical malpractice. At Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC, we provide compassionate legal advocacy for those injured by medical malpractice in Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding areas. We can help you and your family understand your rights and take the steps that are necessary to move forward with a claim. Begin your case with a free initial consultation with one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers today. Contact us online or call (678) 504-8564 to request your meeting.