If you were the victim of medical malpractice, you need to find a good lawyer to help with your case. If, like most people, you have never had to hire a medical malpractice lawyer before, you probably do not know what to look for in someone to help you with your claim. The things you should look for in a medical malpractice lawyer include an aggressive work ethic, the ability to work well with expert witnesses, and the ability to understand complex medical concepts.
Why a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Matters to Your Case
Because of the amount of money at stake, expect that the doctor’s liability insurance company will defend the case aggressively. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney with the knowledge to anticipate the defense attorney’s strategies, the skill to deflect those tactics, and the ability to work with expert witnesses on highly technical medical issues.
Questions to Ask a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
For something as important as a medical malpractice case, you should talk with several lawyers to find the right one for your claim. Here are some questions you might want to ask each lawyer:
- What is my likelihood of winning?
- How long have you been handling medical malpractice cases?
- Can you tell me about some of the settlements and verdicts you have won for your previous clients?
- If my case does not settle, will you hand it off to a different law firm or take it to trial yourself?
- How do you get paid?
Depending on the facts of your situation, you will likely have additional questions to ask the lawyer. You should ask enough questions to be confident in your decision about hiring the lawyer.
What a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Has to Prove
A good medical malpractice lawyer will know what Georgia law requires to win a medical malpractice case. We have to prove all four of these elements to establish medical malpractice against any defendant:
- You had a doctor-patient or similar relationship with the defendant. For example, your obstetrician provided healthcare services to you during your pregnancy.
- The healthcare provider performed an action or failed to act when he should have. Let’s say that your blood pressure was extremely high during an office visit, but your doctor did not perform any follow-up steps to check for toxemia or other complications of pregnancy.
- The action or failure to act did not measure up to the prevailing professional standard of care. An obstetrician with similar education and experience would have checked for toxemia or another cause of the high blood pressure.
- The substandard care caused you to suffer medical harm. You went into medical crisis and nearly died from the untreated toxemia.
In this scenario, the doctor committed medical malpractice because the facts satisfy all four required factors.
Who Can Be a Defendant in a Medical Malpractice Case
People usually think of doctors as the defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits, but do not realize that other medical professionals and healthcare facilities can also get sued if they harm people through carelessness. Here are some examples of potential defendants in medical malpractice cases:
- Doctors (MDs, DOs) and dentists
- Some medical professionals who are not doctors, like some nurses and physician assistants.
- Medical facilities, like hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, or clinics.
The parties you can sue will depend on the facts of your case.
What Happens When You Do Not Know Who Was Negligent
Sometimes people do not pursue a medical malpractice claim because they do not know which person caused the harm. For example, you developed a serious infection from a surgical sponge accidentally left inside you. You do not know who dropped the sponge into the incision, or who was supposed to count all the surgical supplies. You were under sedation, so you could not observe what happened.
You do not have to play detective and determine which person in the operating room was careless. You can sue the surgeon and the hospital and let them sort it out. The presence of the foreign body is evidence of negligence.
An Adverse Outcome Is Not Always Malpractice
The right lawyer for your case will evaluate whether you have a valid claim for medical malpractice. Sometimes people experience undesired outcomes from surgery or other medical procedures, and there was no negligence. Every medical procedure has known risks, and nothing works perfectly every time.
The law does not hold doctors to a standard of perfection. The human body does not always heal as it should. We must be able to show that the adverse outcome was the result of medical negligence to succeed with your claim.
How to Get Help for Your Medical Malpractice Case
At S. Burke Law, we have the experience and the know-how to handle your medical malpractice claim. We will advocate for you, deal directly with the doctor’s liability insurance carrier so that you do not have to, and fight aggressively to get you all the compensation that you deserve.
Call us today at (404) 842-7838 for a free consultation.