WILLIAM C. “BUBBA” HEAD, PC

Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia

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42 YEARS OF LITIGATION IN GEORGIA, AND HIGHEST LAWYER RATINGS

Atlanta, Georgia Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases can, inarguably, be quite devastating to victims. These cases occur when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. That negligence may be the result of a misdiagnosis, a wrong type of treatment or health management. Those wrong calls made by medical experts can be long-lasting, which can be difficult for our clients to cope with. That is why our legal malpractice attorneys at William C. Head, PC have been working hard to help you file a malpractice lawsuit against your negligent doctor. Because this type of suit can be an uphill battle when trying to prove your suffering was caused by your doctor or team of doctors, you’d be hard pressed to find a better law firm than ours which has been providing legal expertise in the state of Georgia for over four decades. Having been recognized statewide and nationally for being super lawyers, if you need to find a malpractice attorney, we highly recommend that you check out what our experienced legal team has done in this area. We have the best medical malpractice lawyers in Atlanta, but don’t take our word for it. Check out reviews from our clients.

Now, you may be wondering how you would know if you had a medical malpractice case to begin with. We would always suggest that you contact one of our attorneys to find out if you do in fact have a case, but we want to provide a checklist of what you must be able to present in order to prove that medical malpractice occurred. It is as follows:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must prove that you had a physician-patient relationship with the specific doctor or doctors you are suing. If a doctor was treating you, it would be easy to prove a physician-patient relationship with access to those medical records.
  2.  The doctor was negligent. If you want to sue for malpractice, you must be able to prove that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have.
  3. The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients who were already ill or injured, there is the question of whether the doctor’s action was what actually caused the harm. This is where a medical expert to testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury would be helpful.
  4. The injury led to specific damages. Patients can sue for physical pain, mental suffering, additional medical bills, and loss of wages if those can be proven.

Something else to consider is what medical negligence is compared to medical malpractice. The term “medical negligence” is used synonymously with “medical malpractice” quite often. For the most part that is correct, but technically speaking, medical negligence is only one required legal element of a legally valid medical malpractice claim.

To elaborate on this a bit more, medical negligence is defined as an act or failure to act by a medical professional that strays from the universal medical standard of care. As it relates to medical malpractice law, medical negligence is basically the “legal fault” perspective. Negligence on its own would not be enough to file a medical malpractice claim, but when that negligence is the cause of injury to a patient, there may be a solid case for medical malpractice.

Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to their patients, which is to provide treatment that is in line with the medical standard of care that all licensed health professionals should be privy to.

Therefore, medical negligence becomes medical malpractice when the doctor’s negligent treatment makes the patient’s condition worse, causes unreasonable and unexpected complications, or necessitates more medical treatment, just to name a few examples of what’s considered injury in a malpractice case.

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Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Georgia

Anyone who wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia should be aware of the statute of limitations, which sets a strict limit on the amount of time you have to get your case started in the state’s civil court system.

The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia can be found in Section 9-3-71 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, and it states, “an action for medical malpractice shall be brought within two years after the date on which an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” The Georgia law also specifies that “in no event may an action for medical malpractice be brought more than five years after the date on which the negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” This “statute of repose” is important in cases where a medical error occurs, but harm to the patient does not appear right away, or when medical malpractice ends up causing a patient’s death years after the treatment error occurred. In such a case, even when it is clear that the patient’s death was caused by the medical error, a lawsuit cannot be filed if more than five years have passed since the occurrence of the error.

If you try to file your Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the court will more than likely dismiss your case, no matter how badly you were harmed. To avoid this from happening, it is so important to comply with the medical malpractice statute of limitations.
According to Georgia Code Section 9-11-9.1, when any medical malpractice lawsuit is filed in Georgia’s courts, aside from the initial complaint, the plaintiff must file an affidavit prepared by a qualified medical expert who will offer their sworn opinion about the negligent act committed by the health care provider who is being sued, including the expert’s factual basis for that conclusion.
Georgia lawmakers have legislated a “cap” on certain types of medical malpractice damages. Like most states, Georgia’s medical malpractice damage caps apply only to non-economic damages including compensation for the injured patient’s pain and suffering, anxiety, mental anguish, lost companionship, and scarring caused by the defendant’s malpractice.

Georgia has a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in any single medical malpractice claim against health care providers. For claims against a single health care facility there is a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, which goes up to $700,000 if more than one facility is deemed liable. For any single medical malpractice case, there is an overall $1.05 million cap on non-economic damages.
In2010, Georgia’s cap on non-economic damages was deemed unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court. Although the state of Georgia’s damages cap is not completely clear, one thing is and that is that the cap has no effect on a plaintiff’s economic damages. There is no limit on how much compensation a medical malpractice plaintiff can receive for things like medical care (past and future) necessitated by the malpractice, lost earnings, lost future earning capacity, and any other economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.
If you want to learn more about Georgia’s medical malpractice laws and how they apply to your case, consider discussing your situation with one of our lawyers specializing in medical malpractice.

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