When you are the victim of a medical error, you might not know where to turn. If you have a good relationship with the doctor, you might be reluctant to endanger it by filing a lawsuit. On the other hand, you are the one who must live with the results of their carelessness.
Contacting a local injury attorney to discuss your options is always worthwhile. A Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer at Smith Hulsey could review your case, explain the process for filing a claim against a medical professional, and help you evaluate the legal alternatives.
When a legal professional considers a medical malpractice claim, they must investigate several variables before proceeding. Typically, they must review the patient’s medical records to determine whether the healthcare provider met an appropriate standard of care and whether the patient suffered actual damages due to the provider’s care.
The applicable standard of care in a medical malpractice case depends on the circumstances. A healthcare professional must use the same degree of knowledge, judgment, and skill as a similarly trained professional would exercise in the same circumstances.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 9-11-9.1 states that a doctor with credentials in a specialty relevant to the case must review these medical records before the attorney files a lawsuit. If the reviewing doctor believes the medical care did not meet an appropriate standard, they sign an Affidavit the attorney files with the lawsuit.
To be eligible for compensation, a patient must demonstrate they suffered actual and direct harm due to a medical error. Experiencing increased fear of a bad outcome or an increased likelihood of developing a certain condition is insufficient proof of harm for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The patient must have an actual diagnosis or health effect to support their claim.
In some cases, such as operating on the wrong body part, the harm is obvious. In other cases, such as a delayed diagnosis claim, the attorney must find evidence that the delay limited the effectiveness of treatment, allowed the disease to progress and cause pain or impairment, or affected the patient’s life and well-being in other respects. A Cleveland attorney could help collect the evidence needed to demonstrate that a plaintiff experienced an actionable instance of medical malpractice.
People who suffer damage to their health due to medical errors have a limited time to bring a lawsuit seeking compensation. In most cases, the law allows a patient two years from the date of injury or malpractice to file suit. However, the law contains several exceptions to this filing deadline.
Medical errors are not always immediately apparent. If a doctor misses a diagnosis, for example, the patient might not realize the doctor’s error until they receive a correct diagnosis, which might be months or years later. A patient may sue within two years of discovering the error. However, the patient loses the right to bring a malpractice lawsuit after five years.
If a medical error injures a child under five, they have until two years after their seventh birthday to bring a lawsuit. Infants and toddlers have a longer time because the long-term impact of many injuries in children is unclear until they have grown and passed specific developmental milestones. Children under 18 have no legal standing to sue, so their parent or guardian must bring a claim on their behalf. Scheduling a consultation with a Cleveland attorney as soon as possible could help patients preserve their rights and meet legal deadlines.
When you are harmed by a medical error, the healthcare provider who made the mistake should be accountable. A Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer could use their resources and legal expertise to ensure the provider takes responsibility and provides the injured patient with a reasonable settlement.
Smith Hulsey Law