Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Georgia: What You Need to Know
Suffering an injury due to the carelessness of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional can be a devastating, traumatic experience. A patient places trust in their doctor, and many victims feel violated when they discover that trust was breached and are they now left to struggle with a potentially life-altering injury. If you or a loved one was seriously harmed by a doctor, this blog is meant to provide an overview of what you’re likely to encounter if you pursue a Georgia medical malpractice case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an act of professional negligence by a healthcare provider such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, or hospital, wherein the accepted standard of care is not adhered to treat the patient. It can result from an inappropriate or unauthorized action as well as inaction – both of which may result in injuries to the patient which is often fatal. Medical malpractice is the third most significant cause of death in the U.S., just after heart disease and cancer, according to an article published in Forbes.
Medical Malpractice Laws Vary
State laws on medical malpractice vary significantly and can confuse the patient’s family, who may already be stressed beyond limit by the injury. Here are a few points to guide you through the process of filing a medical malpractice claim in Georgia:
- Contact an experienced Georgia medical malpractice lawyer. Malpractice law is highly technical in nature and even the slightest error can make you lose your case or have it dismissed. A seasoned Georgia medical malpractice attorney is well versed in the applicable laws and can relieve you from having to try and wade through a maze of complex legal jargon in an effort to pursue justice.
- Check if your medical malpractice claim is barred by limitation. Georgia law requires you to file your lawsuit within two years of the date of injury or five years from the incidence of malpractice. However, unlike other states, there is no capping of medical malpractice damage awards in Georgia. (See the Official Code of Georgia C.G.A. § 9-3-71 for more details)
- Consider the pros and cons of an out-of-court settlement. Malpractice lawsuits can be extremely expensive and usually take at least a year, if not longer, to achieve resolution. There are alternative options, including arbitration or mediation, which can effectively put a stop to your clock of limitation and help you reach an amicable settlement.
Tort Reform in Effect in Georgia
However, Georgia’s (in)famous Patient Injury Act made filing medical malpractice claims extremely difficult for victims injured by the carelessness of doctors and other medical personnel.
Injured victims are severely restricted in seeking justice in a court of law. Instead, many Georgia medical malpractice cases are decided through an administrative compensation system headed by a group of bureaucrats. Recovery is dependent upon the successful proof of gross negligence by “clear and convincing evidence” which is much stricter than the usual standard of preponderance of evidence.
The Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and the state’s leading consumer advocacy organization, Georgia Watch, have all criticized this law, which denies a patient’s Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial and prevents them from seeking restitution for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with the harm.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court of Florida already rejected a similar medical malpractice overhaul law in 2014. The Georgia Supreme Court may want to take note.
Speak to an Experienced Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Gillette Law, P.A. is ready to serve injured folks throughout Georgia. We know how to handle medical malpractice cases. They can be quite complex and will likely require a significant legal battle.
Contact us online, or call us at 904-358-1304 or toll-free at 888-366-5904. We offer free, confidential consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay on a percentage basis only when we win your medical malpractice case.