According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a large study was conducted in 1997 consisting of 33 million hospital admissions in the U.S. The study found that an estimated minimum of 44,000 patients died as a result of medical errors with the maximum being 98,000. More recently in 2016, a study was conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine which concluded that more than 250,000 people die per year due to medical error, making death due to medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States. When you are admitted to a hospital or receive treatment from a doctor, you don’t expect that experience to lead to death or injury, but as these statistics indicate, medical malpractice happens every day. Injuries from malpractice can affect you for the rest of your life, and if you suspect that malpractice has occurred, you should always consult with a medical malpractice attorney.
What is Medical Malpractice?
According to O.C.G.A. §9-3-70, an “action for medical malpractice” is any claim for damages resulting from the injury or death of a person as a result of care rendered by a medical professional who is licensed to render care by law or any employee of a medical facility acting within the scope of their employment. Although the definition of medical malpractice is broad and relatively straight forward, proving that malpractice has occurred is one of the most challenging aspect to a medical malpractice claim. When a medical malpractice attorney is determining whether or not malpractice occurred, they have to determine whether the doctor or employee of a medical facility broke their “medical standard of care.” O.C.G.A. §51-1-27, states that a physician or medical professional must exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill during the execution of their duties. When a physician fails to do so, malpractice has occurred.
Negligence vs. Assumed Risk
Malpractice is a form of negligence by law, that can be intentional or unintentional, but the degree of care exercised by your physician in carrying out their duties is what must be analyzed to determine if the doctor committed medical malpractice. For example, two doctors could perform the same procedure with two different outcomes. One procedure resulted in the patient being injured, and the other was a complete success. However, both physicians exercised the same amount care while administering the procedure to their patient. In this instance, it is possible that neither physician committed malpractice.
When you agree to have a medical procedure performed, you assume a certain amount of risk. Normally, your physician will talk with you and explain the pros and cons to accepting the treatment being offered to you. Assumed risk is your acceptance of the chance that a medical procedure or treatment could have adverse or unintended consequences. If you are injured as a result of one of the risks associated with the procedure or treatment, it’s possible that malpractice did not occur.
What Type of Evidence is Needed to Prove Malpractice?
In order to prove that your doctor committed malpractice, you will need to have strong evidence demonstrating that your physician broke their standard of care. This evidence includes things such as medical records and reports, expert medical testimony, and medical testing to demonstrate the extent of your injuries. Moreover, you should also speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect that malpractice has occurred, because your medical malpractice lawyer will outline exactly what is needed to prove your claim in a court of law. Moreover, O.C.G.A. §9-3-71 establishes a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, which means that you have two year from the time your injury occurred to initiate your claim.
The damages you have incurred as a result of medical malpractice can last a lifetime. The medical malpractice lawyers at Cambre and Associates are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, but time is critical in any medical malpractice case. So, call our office today for a free case evaluation with a medical malpractice attorney who is dedicated to defending your rights and seeking the best resolution for you claim.
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- Different Forms of Medical Malpractice
- What is Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence?
- How Is Compensation Calculated In A Medical Negligence Claim?
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