Medical Malpractice Claims in Georgia

Medical Malpractice Claims in Georgia

What Is Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital or healthcare professional (i.e. doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc.) causes an injury to a patient because of negligent actions. Common examples of medical malpractice include but are not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosis of an illness or condition (i.e. misreading lab results or failing to order the right tests)
  • Delay in diagnosis (i.e discharging a patient prematurely or failing to recognize symptoms)
  • Childbirth injury (i.e. failing to control excessive bleeding post-delivery or causing unnecessary harm to an infant or mother during delivery)
  • Errors involving medication or anesthesia (i.e. causing a patient to overdose)
  • Surgical mistakes (i.e. leaving instruments inside a patient or performing surgery at the wrong site)

Requirements of a Medical Malpractice Suit

To bring a claim forward, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date that you were injured, which is why you should contact our attorneys as soon as possible (see Georgia Code § 9-3-71). It is also important to note that negligence has to be the direct cause of your injuries. To prove that the hospital or healthcare worker acted negligently, you will need to establish that:

  • They owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached that duty of care.
  • Their breach of care resulted in your injury.
  • You sustained damages.

Consider this: After being kicked in his testes, Bob suffers periodic pain in his right testicle. His urologist tells him that his testicle is damaged by scarring and atrophy and will need to be removed. Unfortunately, during the procedure, the urologist removes the wrong testicle.

Bob can bring forth a malpractice suit against the urologist because all the criteria are met:

  • The surgeon owed him a duty of care as his doctor.
  • In incorrectly completing his medical chart and removing the wrong organ, he breached that duty of care.
  • Bob lost a healthy organ and can no longer have children because of the doctor’s negligent actions and breach of care.
  • Bob suffered damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

What Is an Affidavit of Expert?

In Georgia medical malpractice cases, courts require the petitioner (person filing the claim) to submit an expert affidavit (Georgia Code § 9-11-9.1). This affidavit is completed by a qualified medical expert and must include:

  • At least one negligent act or omission committed by the guilty party
  • Factual evidence for each act or omission described

Failure to submit a valid affidavit can result in a case dismissal. Using our previous example, Bob could ask another urologist to submit an affidavit.

What Evidence Is Important in a Medical Malpractice Case?

You will need strong evidence to substantiate your claim that your care was substandard and caused you damages. Medical records are especially important as they include information about:

  • Medication administration
  • Prescription records
  • Medical history notes
  • Notes from doctors, nurses, and other members of your care team
  • Diagnostic information
  • Lab reports
  • Discharge papers

Other evidence you may collect includes:

  • Witness testimony from experts, eyewitnesses, family or friends, etc.
  • Notes about everyone involved in your treatment
  • Dates of appointments or hospital stays
  • Receipts
  • Photo or videos

Damages You Can Receive

The monetary compensation you can be awarded is often referred to as damages. You can receive compensation for:

  • Economic damages. These damages typically include costs associated with your injury that have a clear price tag, such as your hospital bills, prescription costs, etc.
  • Non-economic damages. These damages are harder to calculate as they have no clear cost (i.e. pain and suffering or diminished quality of life).
  • Punitive damages. These damages are awarded in cases where the guilty party was extremely negligent or acted maliciously.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys

At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, our attorneys are prepared to help you negotiate a settlement or fight for compensation in court. While insurance companies and the guilty party may try to pressure you into accepting an unfair, low offer, we can advocate for you and help you:

  • Investigate the accident and determine who is at fault
  • Calculate the damages you are owed
  • Determine a legal strategy for court
  • Collect needed evidence
  • Connect with experts who can testify in court
  • Fight for the compensation you need to heal and move forward

To learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial case consultation online or at (866) 580-3089. Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience, and we want to help you.