As a patient, you place enormous faith in medical professionals in Smyrna, entrusting them with your care and well-being. Because your health and the health of your loved ones is on the line, you have the right to expect your doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide you with responsible, attentive care that meets the standards of their profession.
When a healthcare provider or facility deviates from the recognized standard of care when treating a patient, this negligent treatment is known as medical malpractice. Victims of medical malpractice may suffer severe injuries and complications as a result, requiring expensive corrective treatment. Sometimes, medical malpractice and negligent medical errors can even result in death.
While dealing with injuries and health complications caused by medical malpractice is never easy, it is critical to remember that you have legal options. Healthcare providers and hospital facilities can be held responsible for their actions.
The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. represents victims of medical malpractice in Smyrna, Metro Atlanta, and surrounding areas in Georgia. Call us or contact us online to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions in a free consultation.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims in Smyrna
What constitutes medical malpractice? An illness or injury not healing properly or experiencing normal complications from treatment is likely not enough to sue for malpractice. Rather, your lawyer will have to demonstrate that your healthcare provider violated the standard of care in your treatment. This means that they did not provide the care that a responsible healthcare provider in similar circumstances would reasonably have provided. Your attorney will then have to show that this malpractice directly led to your injuries, which caused you significant harm.
The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. handles a wide variety of medical malpractice claims in Smyrna and throughout Georgia. Some of the most common kinds include:
- Surgical Errors
- Failure to Diagnose
- Delayed Diagnosis
- Anesthesia Errors
- Retained Foreign Objects After Surgery
- Bacterial Infections
- Failure to Adequately Treat
- Birth Injuries
- Brain Damage
- Prescription Drug Errors
- Emergency Room Errors
- Hospital Negligence
- Failure to Follow Guidelines
- Lack of Informed Consent
Many of these negligent or careless actions can lead to serious health problems for the patient. Failure to diagnose an injury or illness can allow it to worsen, sometimes past the point of treatment. An incorrect diagnosis can force patients to undergo unnecessary treatments, which can sometimes create additional health problems. Many of these actions can cause permanent damage, chronic illness, and even death.
It is important to note that Georgia Code § 9-11-9.1 requires any action for damages alleging professional malpractice to also include an affidavit of an expert competent to testify. The affidavit must include the factual basis for at least one negligent act or omission. Your attorney can work with medical experts to help build the strongest case on your behalf.
Liability in Medical Malpractice Claims
Under Georgia Code § 9-11-9.1(g), the professions to which medical malpractice claims apply include:
- Medical Doctors
- Occupational Therapists
- Osteopathic Physicians
- Physical Therapists
- Physicians’ Assistants
- Professional Counselors
- Radiological Technicians
- Respiratory Therapists
- Speech-Language Pathologists
In addition, you may be able to hold liable hospitals and other facilities in specific cases.
Liability in medical malpractice cases can often become complicated because exact causes can be very difficult to determine. Additionally, an entity that would seemingly be liable for the negligence of professional performing services at a facility may actually be immune from civil actions if the medical professional was an independent contractor.
Compensation for Victims of Medical Malpractice in Smyrna
Georgia Code § 9-3-71(a) establishes that an action for medical malpractice must be brought within two years of the date of the injury or death caused by the malpractice. This is known as the statute of limitations. If the malpractice was not immediately discovered, particularly if the at-fault party took steps to disguise the malpractice, a victim may bring a claim within five years of the malpractice under Georgia Code § 9-3-71(b). This is known as a statute of repose.
In a medical malpractice action, a victim who takes their case to trial may be awarded compensatory damages. In most cases, compensatory damages are a combination of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the tangible losses a victim has suffered or will suffer, such as medical bills and lost income. Noneconomic damages refer to more subjective types of harm, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Georgia Code § 51-12-5.1 also allows for punitive damages to be awarded when it is proven that a defendant’s actions showed a willful disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are somewhat rare and are usually awarded more to punish defendants for reprehensible conduct and discourage others from behaving similarly.
In 2005, the Georgia Legislature enacted the Tort Reform Act of 2005, which created a number of limits (commonly referred to as “caps”) on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice claims, including a limit of $350,000 in actions against healthcare providers and medical facilities, $700,000 in actions against multiple medical facilities, and $1.05 million in actions against multiple healthcare providers and medical facilities.
In Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, PC v. Nestlehutt, however, the Supreme Court of Georgia concluded that the noneconomic damages caps violated the right to a jury trial guaranteed under the Georgia Constitution. The trial court, in that case, held that the statute violated the Georgia Constitution by encroaching on the governmental separation of powers and the right to equal protection.
How The Champion Firm Can Help with Your Medical Malpractice Case in Smyrna
If you sustained severe injuries or you have a loved one who was killed because of medical malpractice in the Smyrna area, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. has years of experience handling medical malpractice claims, and we understand how to approach these cases so all of the necessary evidence can be collected and medical experts can be consulted.