Medical malpractice is a cause of action related to negligence in providing health care. While outcomes are not always guaranteed -- for instance, some surgeries are known to be risky and may result in complications -- malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to perform to the standards of his or her profession.
The following are the most common types of medical malpractice claims:
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
Failure to treat.
Prescription drug errors.
Surgical or procedural errors.
A medical malpractice claim is a claim of negligence committed by a professional health care provider -- such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker -- whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients; including death.
In general, there are no guarantees of medical results, and unexpected or unsuccessful results do not necessarily mean negligence occurred. To succeed in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff has to show an injury or damages that resulted from the doctor's deviation from the standard of care applicable to the procedure.
A patient alleging medical malpractice must generally prove four elements or legal requirements to make out a successful claim of medical malpractice. These elements include:
the existence of a legal duty on the part of the doctor to provide care or treatment to the patient;
a breach of this duty by a failure of the treating doctor to adhere to the standards of the profession;
a causal relationship between such breach of duty and injury to the patient; and
the existence of damages that flow from the injury such that the legal system can provide redress.
You should talk to a lawyer who specializes in such cases, as soon as possible. Tell the attorney exactly what happened, from your first visit to the doctor or other health care provider, through your last contact with him or her. If possible, obtain your medical records and bring them to your first meeting with the attorney. There are time limits governing how long someone may wait to bring a medical malpractice claim, so time is of the essence. In general, you have two years to bring a medical malpractice claim in Georgia. Under some circumstances, that period can be up to five years; also known as the statute of repose. The Chronister Law Firm has a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant on staff who can help evaluate your case and provide guidance during our representation of your case.