A research study carried out by the John Hopkins Research Center listed medical negligence (errors) as the third leading cause of death in the United States. The center stated that these errors caused more than 250,000 deaths per year. Aside from the death rate, several patients end up with life-changing conditions due to their doctors’ negligence.
This is why Georgia laws allow victims of medical errors to file a personal injury claim against the erring doctor. In addition, where the victim dies, their legal beneficiaries can file a wrongful death action. While it sounds like an easy thing to do, medical negligence cases are quite technical, with several defenses available to medical practitioners.
For this reason, you must know what constitutes medical negligence to avoid filing a voidable case. If you plan to commence a medical malpractice action, you should speak with an experienced Carrollton medical malpractice lawyer. Having an attorney increases your chance of winning.
What Is Medical Negligence?
As a general rule, doctors must uphold the utmost reasonable standard of care when dealing with patients. Under Georgia Statute 51-1-27, any person who holds themselves out as a medical practitioner can get sued for medical malpractice if they fail to exercise “a reasonable degree of care and skill,” and an injury occurs. What amounts to “precise care and skill” depends on the circumstances.
However, it would be compared with what other doctors with similar training would do in the same circumstance. Thus, for an injured patient to have a valid medical negligence case, they must show that:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed, thereby creating a duty of care
- There was a breach of the duty by the failure to exercise the required skill and care
- There is a proximate connection between the breached duty and the patient’s injury
The above comes under the elements of negligence, with damages being the fourth element to prove. Damages mean that the injury led to the victim suffering losses. The latter could be the money spent in treating an illness the patient doesn’t have. It could also be having to live with a medical condition developed due to the medical error.
Note that proving breached duty and causation in medical malpractice is difficult. This is because doctors can argue they were “sufficiently careful” under the circumstances. Also, the law does not require perfection from medical practitioners; it only expects medical professionals not to be careless.
Thus, most doctors in their defense would claim they acted the way another doctor would have in the same circumstance. In addition, they can claim that an underlying medical condition excluded in your medical history caused the complication. The best way to beat these arguments is to have a concise medical history and work with a Carrollton medical negligence attorney.
What Does Medical Negligence Cover in Carrollton?
We already established that medical professionals can make mistakes when administering care. Below are medical errors covered by medical negligence in Carrollton.
- Improper Diagnosis: A doctor who fails to diagnose an ailment properly leaves themselves open to a malpractice lawsuit. The problem with misdiagnosing is that the patient does not get the treatment they require, which might trigger another medical condition. The problem is further compounded by the fact that several illnesses have similar symptoms, albeit different treatments.
- Failure To Provide Treatment: Treatment here is not refusing to treat, but follow-up treatment, for instance, after a surgery. Medical professionals must provide adequate follow-up care to their patients or face a lawsuit in the event of injury or death.
- Failure To Perform Surgery Properly: Surgeons are supposed to operate with precision, yet mistakes do happen. For example, they might forget implements like sponges inside a person, leading to complications. If this happens to you, you have grounds for medical negligence.
- Failure To Administer Anesthesia Properly: When an anesthesiologist fails to administer anesthesia properly, the patient can suffer brain damage or, at worse, die.
- Failure To Exercise Care During Delivery: Another common medical malpractice case is birth injury. Mistakes during labor and delivery open a medical professional to a lawsuit.
Note that each of these cases is decided based on their merits. Therefore, what works for one might not work for another. Thus gather the following information when considering filing an action:
- Your complete medical record, including that of any pre-existing medical condition
- Information on the doctors and hospitals treating you
- Receipts of medical equipment, medical bills, and proof of financial loss
- Details of the pain and suffering caused by the injuries
Get Help From a Carrollton Medical Negligence Attorney
Are you a victim of medical negligence? Our Carrollton medical negligence lawyers at the Law Office of John B. Jackson can help you get justice. Contact us today for a free case review.