Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. They claim more than 250,000 lives each year. Even when patients survive, they can end up with life-altering injuries. This means that thousands of people, including many in Georgia, suffer harm at the hands of those who should heal them. Fortunately, the law provides recourse for individuals who suffer injuries because of a medical professional’s negligence or error. However, many people don’t know what to do if they’ve been hurt. If you don’t seek advice from a competent medical malpractice attorney in Albany, Georgia, you may not know who you can pursue for damages. This article will provide some of the basic information you need to know. If you believe you or a loved one was a victim of malpractice, you must seek legal guidance.
Potential Defendants to a Medical Malpractice Case
Several types of injuries and incidents can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. These include birth injuries, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, medication errors, and anesthesia errors. In many cases, multiple professionals work with the patient from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery. It can, therefore, be difficult to determine who should be held responsible when something goes wrong.
Georgia Code Section 9-11-9.1 sets out the professionals and institutions which can be named in a malpractice claim. Depending on the situation and the evidence you have, you may be able to pursue a:
- Medical doctor
- Physician’s assistant
- Radiological therapist
- Hospital or another medical facility
- Drug manufacturer or supplier
Of course, you will need to have a strong case if you want to get compensation.
The Role of the Affidavit of Expert and the Statute of Limitations
In a medical malpractice claim, the burden of proof falls on the claimant. It is, therefore, important that you chose the right defendant. This needs to be a person or entity against whom you have strong evidence. Not only do you need to have evidence, but you’ll need an expert to sign a supporting affidavit.
Under Georgia Code section 9-11-9.1, every medical malpractice lawsuit must include an affidavit. This is a sworn opinion from a medical expert stating at least one negligent act committed by the professional in question. The expert must provide a factual basis for their opinion. The affidavit is submitted along with the complaint which sets out your allegations against the health care provider or establishment.
As your Georgia medical malpractice attorney will explain, this makes malpractice cases different from other injury claims. This is because medicine and the human body are complicated. Some conditions are difficult or impossible to treat so not every unsuccessful procedure or treatment protocol is because of malpractice. In many cases, it’s difficult to tell whether a doctor acted negligently or not.
Even if you’re convinced someone acted wrongfully, you need an expert in a similar field to back you up. If you fail to submit an acceptable affidavit of expert, your lawsuit could be dismissed. However, the court may first ask you to fix the issues and file again. If the statute of limitations is almost up and you only recently hired a lawyer, you may get an additional 45 days.
How the Statute of Limitations Works
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case is two years. The clock starts running on the date the injury occurred except in specific circumstances. In any case, the action must be brought within five years of the negligent or wrongful act or omission. This five-year timeframe is called a statute of repose. It applies to situations in which the patient’s injury isn’t discovered right away. In cases involving minors, the statute of limitations begins on the child’s seventh birthday. Meanwhile, the statute of repose begins when the child turns ten.
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Contact the Professionals at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. Today to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe you believe you were harmed because of a medical professional’s actions, you should seek compensation. Since cases of medical malpractice in Georgia are usually complex, you’ll need a competent lawyer. When you work with our experienced attorneys, you can be sure that you’ll get the representation you deserve. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you get justice. Medical errors can result in serious injuries, so you need to protect your legal right to recover damages. Call our Georgia medical malpractice law firm today to schedule a consultation so we can give you the preliminary advice you need. We’ll review your case and explain how the law will affect you.