Savannah Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or another health care provider fails to meet the accepted standards of care in the medical industry, resulting in patient injuries or deaths. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice in Savannah, Georgia or the surrounding region, Bowen Painter Trial Lawyers can help. We will listen to your story, determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and help you build a case, if so. We are committed to holding doctors, hospitals and others accountable for poor patient care.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the violation of the accepted standards of patient care, resulting in patient injuries, illnesses, infections or deaths. All health care providers have a legal duty to obey best practices and standard operating procedures when treating patients. Any action or omission that falls short of this duty, resulting in patient harm, constitutes medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can take place at a doctor’s office, hospital, emergency room, surgical center, nursing home, pharmacy or dentist’s office. It can lead to serious patient harm, including overdoses, staph infections, permanent nerve damage, and brain damage.
It’s important to understand medical malpractice doesn’t occur every single time a doctor makes a mistake. A primary step in determining if medical malpractice occurred is to examine whether the doctor’s action or inaction was of the level and type that a reasonably prudent doctor with a similar background would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
For example, if you have been sick for a very long time and it took your doctor several months or years to diagnose you, causing you to miss out on treatment in the meantime, you might be wondering if this is medical malpractice because they failed to diagnose you in a timely manner. The answer is: it depends. If it’s a common issue that other doctors with similar backgrounds would have been able to diagnose, it could certainly be medical malpractice. If it was a more complicated presentation and your ultimate diagnosis was rare, it’s less likely that it would be considered medical malpractice.
Although most patients assume that their health care providers are acting with reasonable prudence and care, medical malpractice is one of the most common causes of patient injuries and deaths in the U.S. If you believe a loved one has died due to the carelessness of a medical professional, consult with our Savannah wrongful death attorneys.
Savannah Hospitals Safety Grade Levels
Common sense tells us that we want to go to the best hospital to receive the best care. While this is obvious, determining which hospitals and which doctors are the best is much less clear. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you. A patient advocacy group, Leapfrog, created a tool that lets you search for hospitals’ safety ratings. The rating is based on issues such as infection rates, surgical errors, and safety issues. There is also information on specific doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. To come up with safety ratings, Leapfrog gathers data from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and other supplemental sources.
The hospitals are rated either an A, B, C, D, or F, with A being the best, and F being the worst. This allows potential patients to quickly search for quality hospitals and doctors so they can decide where to receive care.
Do I Have a Case?
Bringing a medical malpractice cause of action in Georgia can allow your family to hold one or more parties accountable for a preventable error that caused a serious injury or the loss of a loved one. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Savannah if you or your attorney can prove the following four elements as more likely to be true than not true:
- Duty. The defendant must have owed you a duty of care, or a legal obligation to act in a certain way. In a medical malpractice case, a duty of care is only established with an official doctor-patient relationship.
- Dereliction. A dereliction of duty describes any mistake or error that makes the health care provider fail to fulfill his or her obligations toward the patient.
- Damages. Damages are the legal term for the losses suffered by the filing party. They often include injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Direct cause. Finally, your lawyer must establish that the defendant’s dereliction of duty was the direct cause of your damages.
An attorney from Bowen Painter Trial Lawyers can help you prove your medical malpractice case with a thorough investigation that determines fault and causation. Our attorneys can gather key evidence, hire qualified medical experts and even take your case to court, if necessary, for maximum financial compensation. Although we know that a monetary award will not fix everything, we hope that it can help your family move forward.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in Savannah, GA
Medical malpractice is a broad practice area that can refer to many individual acts of carelessness, wrongdoing, or recklessness by a health care provider. The most common examples of medical malpractice in Savannah, Georgia include:
- Brain Injuries
- Birth injuries
- Delayed diagnosis
- Emergency room errors
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to treat
- Lack of informed consent
- Medical device malfunction
- Medication mistakes
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Premature patient discharge
- Surgical and anesthesia errors
If you suspect that your health care practitioner or the hospital where you sought care committed any of these mistakes in connection to your injury or a loved one’s passing, consult with an injury attorney in Savannah right away to discuss your legal rights.
Compensation Available in a Medical Malpractice Case
There are various types of compensation available for medical malpractice victims if their claim is successful. Generally, our attorneys work diligently to recover both economic and non-economic losses on behalf of our clients, and this can include the following:
- Past, current, and future expected medical bills
- Prescription medication costs
- Medical devices
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost wages if a victim cannot work
- Various out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
There is no set amount of compensation available to medical malpractice victims in Georgia. Rather, there are several factors that influence compensation amounts, including the severity of the injuries, the egregiousness of the mistake, whether or not a person can recover, how long the recovery takes, and other factors.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Process
While you should always seek the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, it’s still helpful to understand how a claim works so you can advocate yourself and make sure you gather as much evidence as possible along the way. Each case is unique, but the typical process of any medical malpractice lawsuit includes the following steps:
- Speak With a Lawyer. The first step in initiating a medical malpractice lawsuit is to speak with an experienced lawyer. You should do this as soon as you realize you are injured.
- Preliminary Investigation. Once you decide which lawyer or firm you want to work with, they will need to do a preliminary investigation to determine if your case has any merit. This will be done before officially filing your claim. During this investigation, your lawyer will begin to gather evidence and determine if they believe a medical professional should be held liable for your injuries.
- File The Lawsuit. Once your lawyer determines that you have a valid claim, they will initiate the lawsuit. A complaint will be filed, stating the grounds for your claim and requesting monetary damages. Additionally, you are required to include an affidavit from an expert that is competent to testify on a negligent act or omission that would support your malpractice claim.
- Discovery and Depositions. Next, your lawyer will request discovery from the defendant, which often includes all medical records and doctor’s notes, as well as names and contact information of expert witnesses that the defendant plans to use at trial. Your lawyer may also try to obtain any past disciplinary records for the defendant.
- Trial. The next step is to take the case to trial where your claim will be heard by a judge or a jury, and it will be decided if the defendant committed medical malpractice. Throughout this process, your attorney will likely attempt to negotiate with the defendant’s attorney to try to come to a settlement agreement before the case goes to trial. The majority of medical malpractice claims settle out of court, as it is easier, less stressful, and less expensive for everyone involved.
Georgia Statute of Limitations For Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Every state has time limits in place that regulate how long individuals have to file medical malpractice lawsuits. This time limit both called the statute of limitations.
The medical malpractice statute of limitations for Georgia can be found in section 9-3-71 of the state code, and it says that these claims must be filed against the health care provider within two years from the date which “an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” Put simply, the claim must be filed within two years from the date the health care professional made a mistake.
As with other states, Georgia does have a “discovery rule” in place, which means that an individual can file a lawsuit beyond the two-year deadline if the health care provider’s error was not discovered or could not have been discovered right away. In these situations, the claim must be filed within two years from the date the mistake is discovered. However, there is an overall statute of “repose” in place. This means that no medical malpractice claim can be filed beyond a total of five years after the incident actually occurred, regardless of when the malpractice was discovered.
There are various exceptions to the medical malpractice statute of limitations. First, the two- and five-year deadlines do not apply if a foreign object is left inside of a patient, such as an instrument or a surgical sponge. If this occurs, an individual can file a lawsuit one year after discovering the presence of the foreign object, regardless of when the discovery occurs.
If the medical malpractice victim is considered “legally incompetent” or under the age of five when the incident occurs, there are special rules that apply. We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled Georgia medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible so they can walk you through your case and help you determine when to file your claim.
Why Hire a Savannah Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Medical malpractice claims in Savannah become incredibly challenging, particularly for those who do not have much legal experience or resources at their disposal. A Savannah medical malpractice lawyer will handle every aspect of your claim. This will begin with conducting a complete investigation into the alleged malpractice and gathering any evidence needed to prove liability.
However, the role of an attorney is multifaceted and will also include ensuring that their client is evaluated by trusted medical professionals who can become expert witnesses and provide testimony to a jury. An attorney will handle all negotiations with other parties involved, including insurance carriers for the medical professionals and medical facilities involved. The ultimate goal is to negotiate a fair settlement, but an attorney will also prepare the case for trial if necessary.
Contact Our Savannah Medical Malpractice Lawyers For a Free Case Evaluation
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit could give your family justice, closure, and the compensation that you need for your current and future medical, physical, and financial needs. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Savannah are here to discuss your potential lawsuit. We have what it takes to guide you through the legal process and pursue the best possible results. Contact Bowen Painter Trial Lawyers online or by calling (912) 335-1909 anytime to request a free initial case evaluation.