When seeking medical attention for a serious injury or illness, patients should be able to trust that the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals treating them have the knowledge, training, experience, and good judgment necessary to provide competent care. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Research shows that the United States has a significant medical malpractice problem. In fact, it is the country's third leading cause of death, killing as many as 250,000 people each year, according to a 2016 analysis of medical data conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in The BMJ medical journal.
If you were seriously injured—or lost a loved one—as a result of a medical provider's negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. However, Georgia medical malpractice laws are complex and a monetary award is never guaranteed—even in seemingly open-and-shut cases. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney to handle your case may help increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Key Medical Malpractice Characteristics
When treatments do not go as planned, the outcome can be heartbreaking for patients and their families. However, not all bad outcomes are considered medical negligence. To meet the legal definition of medical malpractice, cases must contain the following elements:
- The medical professional in question was treating the patient and, thus, owed the patient a “duty of care.”
- The medical professional breached the duty of care by providing substandard care or making a negligence-related mistake that a similarly trained doctor would not have made under the same circumstances.
- The medical professional's negligence injured the patient.
- The injury caused the patient to sustain significant economic and non-economic damages.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Atlanta
There are a number of ways that a medical professional's negligence could harm—or even kill—patients. Common types of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to order or evaluate diagnostic tests. This can lead to other forms of medical malpractice, such as delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
- Delayed diagnosis. This type of malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to diagnose a serious illness, allowing the illness to progress unchecked.
- Misdiagnosis. Misdiagnoses can subject patients to unneeded—and potentially dangerous—treatments, all while the actual injury or illness remains unaddressed.
- Surgical errors. This type of malpractice can include operating on the wrong patient or body part, performing the wrong procedure, and leaving surgical instruments inside the body.
- Anesthesia errors. Another form of malpractice that can occur during surgery, anesthesia errors happen when anesthesiologists fail to administer the anesthesia correctly, give the wrong dosage, or fail to monitor the patient's vital signs during surgery.
- Medication mistakes. These errors can occur at the point of care or the pharmacy. Common medication mistakes include giving the wrong medication, administering an incorrect dosage, or failing to keep track of potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Potentially Liable Parties
Doctors are not the only medical professionals who can be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients can also bring malpractice claims against nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers.
Compensation Available for Medical Malpractice Victims
Medical Malpractice victims can seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses incurred as a result of their medical provider's negligence. Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
They can also pursue a monetary award for non-economic damages, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases
When medical negligence results in death, the victim's family may have grounds for a medical malpractice wrongful death claim. The family may be able to receive compensation for:
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
- Mental anguish
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of love, guidance, companionship, and support
- Loss of consortium
- And more
Experienced Representation for Georgia Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs
If you were a victim of medical malpractice or you lost a loved one due to medical negligence, the knowledgeable and skilled attorneys with the Champion Firm can help you fight for the compensation—and the justice—you deserve. Contact the Champion Firm today to schedule a free initial review of your case.