Everyone makes mistakes. However, when a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider makes a mistake, the results can be devastating. Our firm has seen horrific and irreversible results from the most minor of health care decisions or medical procedures, consequences that may or may not be immediately identified. You don’t always know there’s been a medical mistake at the time that it happens.
Under medical malpractice law, medical errors legally become medical negligence, or malpractice, when the error falls below the “accepted standard of care” in the community where the doctor, or other providers, is located. Medical negligence cases, or malpractice, allow money damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other types of compensation. Medical malpractice attorneys work with victims and their families in pursuing claims both in and out of the courtroom to ensure that their medical malpractice remedies under current Georgia law are promptly identified and demanded. Medical malpractice is a legal term used to define substandard care by a healthcare provider. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice
Even though giving birth today is safer than in times past, serious short-term and long-term complications can occur if proper care is neglected. Birth injuries can range from concerns that resolve within a few days to lifelong disabilities or treatments. Even though doctors are human and expected to make mistakes, a failure to observe a basic standard of medical care can have dramatic consequences for you and your family. Georgia law requires any party claiming to practice medicine or surgery to use a reasonable degree of care and skill. It also requires that doctors implement techniques and treatments commonly used by others in the profession.
Doctors undergo extensive education to guarantee they have the knowledge they need to care for people. Accurate determination of a patient’s needs is critical to keeping people healthy. If the wrong diagnosis is given, a patient may have large expenses for unnecessary treatments or painful side effects from the wrong medication. Doctors are responsible to be thorough and precise in giving you the care you need. A hasty or negligent diagnosis of a patient could be fatal.
Too many people die each year as a result of not being properly cared for in a hospital. Hospitals are responsible for the safety and well-being of those entrusted to their care. Often hospital staff members will know of a mistake in the care of a patient but will avoid reporting it out of fear of the consequences. You must be confident that your loved one will be cared for vigilantly while staying in the hospital.
If you feel that your loved one has been inadequately cared for while in residence, meet with an attorney as soon as possible to determine what help is available to you.
There is no cure for the loss of a loved one. But when a patient dies due to negligence on the part of the doctor, justice must be administered to those responsible for their treatment. Dealing with circumstances like this can be incredibly emotional and excruciatingly painful. You will want someone to comfort you in your time of loss and give you clear counsel for what comes next. Even though finances can never replace a lost loved one, they can help lessen the burden of funeral expenses and other treatments.
If you are a surviving relative of a victim of wrongful death, an attorney can help you move forward from your devastating loss. Reach out to Castan & Lecca today to see how you can be cared for.
Statute of Limitations for Medical
Malpractice in Georgia
Generally, Georgia Code § 9-3-71 gives patients only two years from the date of injury or death to bring a lawsuit for medical malpractice.
The clock does not start running on the date you receive medical treatment unless you suffered an injury at that same time.
For example, consider the following:
- In surgery, a doctor makes a fatal mistake that costs your spouse his life. Here, the death occurred on the same day as the surgery, so the clock starts to run on that date.
- In surgery, a doctor makes a mistake that severely wounds your spouse, who dies a month later. In this situation, the clock starts running at the date of death, not the date of surgery.
- A doctor prescribes medication that ultimately causes cancer two years later. The clock probably starts running on the date you developed cancer, which is the injury.
A Different Statute of Limitations
for Foreign Objects
Doctors sometimes leave sponges, clamps, or other objects in a patient after surgery. Georgia Code § 9-3-72 sets a one-year statute of limitations in these cases. The clock starts ticking from the date you discovered the foreign object—not from the date of surgery.
The Statute of Repose
Georgia ultimately cuts off your right to sue after five years have passed from the negligent or wrongful treatment you received. This is the statute of repose, and it limits your ability to sue.
For example, you might have received treatment 10 years ago that was negligent, which ultimately weakened your heart. If you suffer a heart attack, you might want to blame the doctor who treated you a decade earlier.
In this case, you might think the statute of limitations clock starts from the date of the heart attack, giving you two years to sue. However, the statute of repose cuts off your ability to sue because more than 5 years have passed since the doctor negligently treated you.
The statute of repose might sound unfair—because it is. Nevertheless, it is the law Georgia’s legislature passed.
Statute of Limitations for Minors
A separate Georgia medical malpractice statute of limitations applies to children. Children who suffer an injury might get additional time to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Under § 9-3-73, the statute of limitations cannot run out before a child’s 7th birthday. This means if your child is injured before turning 5, he or she can still sue up to age 7, even if more than two years have passed.
The statute of repose also cannot run out until your child reaches age 10. For example, your daughter might have received negligent medical treatment at age 3. Even though more than five years have passed since the treatment, she can still sue at age 9.
Talk to us today to learn more about medical malpractice cases and to share your story with caring and sympathetic professionals who can help you find a path forward.