Medical malpractice is defined as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes injury to the patient.” This is a slightly complicated way of saying that medical malpractice is committed when your doctor does something negligent during your treatment that leads to injury or death
Medical malpractice scenarios
While establishing negligence is the common thread throughout any scenario where medical malpractice may have occurred, it’s important to have your case reviewed by an attorney in order to receive a full evaluation of whether or not you have an actionable case. Some malpractice examples include:
- Diagnosis issues – this category includes situations where a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis occurred which led to a failure
in correctlytreating the patient. It could result from pertinent medical information being left out of a patient’s records or even faulty test results. Also within this area are situations where a doctor failed to request proper testing for the illness or disease in question.
- Childbirth injuries – injuries or even death during childbirth that result in a doctor not acting fast enough when the unborn child is in distress can lead to a medical malpractice suit. An example of this is if a medically-necessary c-section is delayed too long, resulting in negative effects on the baby.
- Medication errors – from prescribing the wrong medication all together to administering an incorrect
doesto simply giving a patient the wrong medication on accident — situations in this category can have immediate, serious impact.
- Anesthesia errors – injuries relating to anesthesia can stem from a patient being given too much as well as not taking proper precautions should they have an increased health risk due to previous treatments.
- Surgery errors – complications which occur while you’re in surgery may also be grounds for medical malpractice depending on the situation during the operation.
Proving medical malpractice in Georgia
Knowing the types of malpractice that may occur during your interactions with medical professionals is only half of the process of establishing a viable suit. Proving medical malpractice has taken place requires certain criteria to be met.
In order to win monetary compensation for your suit, you need to prove that, “substandard medical care resulted in an injury.” It’s the court who will calculate the monetary damages you’re entitled to based on actual economic loss and the cost of any future medical care you may require.
Non-economic pain and suffering may also be included in the sum total of your compensation. Having an attorney familiar with medical malpractice law at your side during your case can help ensure the court’s compensation calculation is appropriate.
Additionally, since most doctors carry medical malpractice insurance, having an attorney available to interact with the insurance company during your claim process makes sure someone is watching out for your best interests.
Noneconomic pain and suffering may also be included in the sum total of your compensation. Having an attorney familiar with medical malpractice law at your side during your case can help ensure the court’s compensation calculation is appropriate
Types of damages you may be awarded
Should you have an established medical malpractice case that your attorney agrees should be filed, there are a few types of compensation the court may decide to award you based on an evaluation of your case. These include:
- Compensatory – these damages cover actual financial loss such as medical costs as well as lost wages resulting from missed work due to your injury.
- Non-Economic – anything that’s not financially accounted for goes into this category, also known as damages for paining suffering.
- Punitive – courts use this area of damages to financially punish the medical provider for their negligent act. These damages are only allowed in cases where it is extremely clear that the healthcare professional’s behavior included willful misconduct, malice, or even fraud during treatment.
While your case may not be eligible for punitive damages, if you’re awarded compensation, it will most likely come from calculations by the court within the other two areas. Your attorney will ensure your case demonstrates why you’re entitled to damages as well as establish negligence through evidence.
Getting the best outcome for your case with the right attorney
Medical malpractice law is based on common law in the United States, which primarily means the specific parameters of the law can vary between states. Because of this, it’s important to engage an experienced attorney should you feel like you’re in a position to file a medical malpractice suit.