Georgia is among the top 16 states in the US with the highest medical malpractice costs per person per year. Many Georgians suffer losses and injuries due to negligence by their healthcare providers, and they have the right to seek compensation for their damages.
However, the legal procedures involved in such cases are complex, leading many victims to seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney in Tifton.
At Joe Durham Jr., P.C., we have noticed an increase in inquiries from residents of Tifton and Dougherty County seeking legal assistance for medical malpractice cases. Some clients are knowledgeable about their rights and options but prefer to have our support to save time and effort.
Others are unsure if their situation qualifies as medical malpractice and turn to us for advice and guidance. To ensure our clients have all the necessary information and advice, we start by defining medical malpractice during our initial discussions. This allows clients to determine if they have a viable case or not.
What is Medical Malpractice or When to Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Tifton?
Medical malpractice is defined as a tort by Georgia Code section 51-1-27, making healthcare professionals liable for civil action. The law requires medical practitioners to exhibit reasonable care and skill, and any breach of this requirement can lead to a civil lawsuit.
Victims of medical malpractice can seek compensation for their losses or injuries, but they need to prove that the healthcare provider failed to follow the protocol.
Specifically, they need to demonstrate that the medical provider acted differently than any reasonable person would have acted in their position, caused the injuries or losses claimed by the victim, and that the amount of compensation sought is justified by the injuries and losses suffered.
Victims need to act fast as waiting too long could result in them losing their right to compensation. We will explain the reasons and timeline in the following paragraphs.
What are the Statutes of Limitations on Medical Malpractice In Georgia?
The law sets time limits known as statutes of limitations, which dictate the timeframe in which affected parties can take action such as seeking compensation or enforcing rights. These time limits vary depending on the nature of the case and also vary from state to state.
In Georgia, for instance, code section 9-3-71 sets a two-year deadline for medical malpractice actions. The clock starts ticking from the day the malpractice occurred. In theory, any actions initiated after the two-year deadline have no chance of success.
However, experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Georgia may be able to extend the deadline due to certain exceptions allowed by Georgia laws.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from the date of the malpractice. However, there are exceptions. The discovery rule states that the countdown should begin on the day of discovery, with a maximum of five years allowed.
There are also exceptions for foreign objects left inside the patient, patients under five years old, and those legally incompetent at the time of malpractice. To take action after the two-year limit, special circumstances need to be proven, and an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help.
Joe Durham Jr., P.C. encourages clients to act fast and contact them for assessment and recommendations.
Defendants Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Tifton May Choose for Their Claims
Georgia Code Section 9-11-9.1 outlines the potential defendants in a medical malpractice claim, which can include healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, dentists, nurses, optometrists, physicians, physician assistants, and radiological therapists.
The specific defendant will depend on the details of the case and the available evidence.
In some cases, healthcare professionals are not the only defendant in a medical malpractice claim. The medical facility, laboratory, clinic, or third-party service provider may also be held responsible. Selecting the right defendant is crucial, as the claimant must provide enough evidence to prove their case.
Unlike other injury claims, medical malpractice claims require an expert affidavit.
The Expert Affidavit and Its Importance for Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical malpractice claims begin with the claimant filing an initial complaint which notifies the court and the healthcare professional of their intentions. Along with the complaint, the claimant must file an affidavit of expertise.
This document should present the opinion of another healthcare provider who is an authority in their field and has higher qualifications than the defendant. The expert’s affidavit should identify and prove the defendant’s negligent act and breach of standards.
This document is crucial for the claimant’s case, and without it, they may request a time extension to supply it.
In a brain surgery malpractice case with the surgeon as the defendant, the court will require the claimant to submit an affidavit from another brain surgeon with higher qualifications and experience than the defendant.
This affidavit should explain the defendant’s wrongful actions and the breached standards. It will provide solid arguments and count as under-oath testimony. Claimants without an expert’s affidavit may request a time extension to submit one.
Obtaining a time extension for filing an expert affidavit in a medical malpractice claim is only possible when the claim is filed with less than 10 days before the statute of limitations expires. The claimant’s medical malpractice lawyer can obtain the extension, but only if they took over the case with less than 90 days before the statute of limitations expires.
The court will give them 45 days to obtain and file the affidavit. At Joe Durham Jr., P.C., obtaining the expert affidavit is a priority, and they have a list of reputable experts to turn to in order to ensure timely acceptance of their clients’ complaints and avoid delays.
Types of Losses Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorneys May Recover for Their Clients
The value of a medical malpractice claim in Georgia is determined by the circumstances and severity of the malpractice, the impact on the patient’s life and health, the evidence available against the defendant, and the skills and experience of the medical malpractice lawyer representing them. Georgia laws allow malpractice victims to claim and recover the following types of losses:
- Economic losses : These refer to quantifiable losses and expenses. Common examples include doctor consultations, medicines, and medical procedures and devices. Home care, lost wages, and lost earning capacity fall into this category as well.
- Non-economic losses : They refer to subjective, difficult to quantify losses. Common examples are pain and suffering, loss of joy, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
Punitive damages : The court may award these damages to punish intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence. Georgia code section 51-12-5.1 caps these damages at $250,000.
Prior to 2010, Georgia had non-economic damage caps in place, but they were deemed unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court. As a result, there are no absolute limits to the compensation a claimant can receive, and the amount depends on various factors.
Joe Durham Jr., P.C. has a track record of obtaining impressive compensation for clients, and starting on a case early can lead to greater benefits for clients.
The Importance of Working with a Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorney
In Georgia, medical malpractice cases are typically settled in court and require strict adherence to procedures. While the average person may not be familiar with these procedures, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Tifton is well-versed in them.
The medical lawyer will ensure that all procedures are followed on time and properly, and will keep their client informed throughout the process. Though the claimant is responsible for proving the malpractice, their lawyer will take the lead in doing so.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Tifton can help the victim and their family in this scenario. They can gather evidence and build a strong case against the healthcare professional responsible. The lawyer can estimate the cost of future medical treatments, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic losses. They can also identify and interview witnesses, and consult with medical experts to strengthen the case.
With the medical malpractice attorney’s help, the victim and their family can focus on the recovery process, while the medical lawyer fights for their rights and interests.
The law allows malpractice victims to recover expenses, lost wages, and future losses. They are also entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, and partial disability. In case of a spouse leaving them due to the situation, they can claim loss of consortium.
To obtain compensation, they need to prove the following aspects:
- The doctor prescribed/administered the treatment they were allergic to.
- The doctor should have expected their allergic response and taken measures to prevent it.
- They failed to exercise reasonable care (perform a tolerance test).
- The treatment induced the anaphylactic shock and all its consequences.
- The expenses, losses, and suffering of the patient justify the value of the compensation claim.
It can be very challenging for a partially disabled patient to prove their case. They need specific knowledge about the treatment administered, safety protocols, side effects, and more. Estimating future expenses and documenting already-incurred ones is also crucial.
An inexperienced patient will struggle to navigate this complex process. However, an experienced medical malpractice attorney has the knowledge, resources, and contacts needed to secure a fair compensation.
As a general rule, cases handled by experienced medical malpractice lawyers settle for higher amounts. Medical malpractice attorneys in Tifton, GA, carefully consider settlement offers, negotiate with the defendant, and put their clients’ interests first.
Consult a Tifton Medical Malpractice Lawyer Now!
If you have suffered losses or injuries due to medical malpractice in Tifton, Georgia, it can be overwhelming to navigate the legal process. However, Joe Durham Jr., P.C. can help.
With their extensive experience in handling medical malpractice cases, they can provide the guidance and support you need to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us through the office at 229-351-5320 or online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Tifton medical malpractice attorneys, who will review your case and answer your questions. With their help, you can leave the legal formalities to them and focus on your recovery.