That depends on the circumstances – just because you are unhappy with the outcome of a medical treatment or surgical procedure does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice occurred. You will have to prove that your doctor did something wrong and that you suffered specific harm as a result. In order to have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to show all of the following elements:
- You had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you plan to sue. This means that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to provide services.
- Your doctor was negligent. This means that he or she did not act in the same way a competent doctor reasonably would have under the same circumstances
- Your injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence. Often, this requires the testimony of an expert who can shed light on the likelihood that the doctor’s misconduct caused the injury
- You suffered specific damages as a result of the injury. Examples of damages that injured patients can sue for include medical bills, mental and physical pain and suffering, and lost wages and earning capacity.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit against a hospital. It depends upon the relationship of the practitioner to the facility (i.e. are they considered an employee, such as support staff, nurses, or medical technicians, or an independent contractor, as most physicians are?) Just because malpractice occurred at a hospital does not necessarily mean that the hospital itself is legally responsible.
Medical malpractice can take many forms. Common examples include improper treatment, failure to diagnose, and failure to warn a patient of known risks associated with a particular treatment or procedure. Prescription medication errors, anesthesia errors, and surgical errors are other examples that can cause serious consequences to the patient. It is important to note, however, that just because a patient is dissatisfied with the treatment they have received does not mean that they can sue for malpractice. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney to determine whether your doctor was actually negligent.
Because each case is different, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Medical malpractice cases can be rather complex and may take several months or several years to resolve after the lawsuit is filed. If you believe you have a case, contact Kaufman Law, P.C. today to discuss it with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer who can give you a better idea of what you may expect.
Like all personal injury cases, there is what is called a “statute of limitations” on medical malpractice cases. In Georgia, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of injury or, if you are suing on behalf of a lost loved one, from the date of death. If you wait too long to take action and miss the deadline, you will forfeit your right to sue and will not be able to pursue any damages.
Kaufman Law, P.C. offers free case evaluations at their Atlanta office. If you are wondering whether you have grounds to sue your doctor or hospital for medical malpractice, please contact our firm at your earliest convenience. We would be happy to review your case, discuss your rights, and review your legal options. We can be reached at (404) 383-4638.