Did you suffer injuries due to a medical professional’s negligence? You need a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer that will get you the amount you deserve. Call now for a free consultation: (706) 354-4000
Medical errors are reportedly the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. In Georgia, medical malpractice cases are common. Since 2004, there have been 524 medical malpractice cases filed in the State of Georgia.
Sadly, medical malpractice incidents account for an estimated 250,000 to 440,000 deaths each year in the U.S. The true number is unknown because doctors, funeral directors, and medical examiners rarely report medical malpractice as a cause of death on a death certificate, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses death certificates to post nationwide statistics.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims are complex, but most cases include the following four elements.
To win a case, the patient must prove each of the following elements by the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Under the preponderance standard, the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the court that there is a greater than a 50% chance that the claim is true.
The four elements are:
- The defendant owed a professional duty of care to the patient
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The patient suffered harm
- The harm the patient suffered was directly caused by the defendant’s breach of their duty of care
The defendant’s willingness to settle a claim typically depends on the likelihood that they will lose at trial if they don’t agree to settle. The weaker the evidence, the lower the defendant’s settlement offer is likely to be—until at some point the defendant may refuse to negotiate at all.
Evidence of Medical Malpractice in Georgia
Admissible evidence matters as much in settlement negotiations as it does in court.
The following are some common examples of evidence used in medical malpractice claims:
- Medical records
- Eyewitness testimony
- The defendant’s testimony
- The patient’s testimony
- Medical expert testimony
- Healthcare policies and regulations
- Video evidence
Many other forms of evidence may be relevant in your case, depending on the circumstances.
Do You Have a Georgia Medical Malpractice Claim?
BBGA provides free consultations. Our attorneys are ready to assist you.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to diagnose a dangerous medical condition
- Late diagnosis of a dangerous condition
- Failure to order lab tests when appropriate
- Failure to take a patient’s medical history
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgery on the wrong body part or other surgical negligence
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Disregard of a patient’s symptoms
- Improper administration of anesthesia during surgery
Experts may disagree on whether a specific act or omission constitutes as medical malpractice, so having an experienced attorney on your side that understands the complex laws regarding medical malpractice is important.
How Much Are Medical Malpractice Settlements Worth?
You will need to consult an attorney and provide them with the details of your case to get a useful estimate of the value of your claim.
Our attorneys have the resources to work closely with doctors, specialists, life care planners, and other medical experts. With this information, we can better determine the value of your case and provide you with a more accurate estimate. If you think you have a medical malpractice case, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Elements of Medical Malpractice Damages
A patient harmed by medical malpractice might seek the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including estimated future expenses
- Lost earnings, including estimated lost earning capacity
- Other tangible, easy-to-calculate expenses, such as childcare expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages (awarded only when the defendant’s conduct was particularly outrageous)
Wrongful Death Arising from Medical Malpractice
When someone dies due to a medical professional’s negligent practices, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the best course of action.
Under Georgia’s wrongful death statute, only close relatives of the deceased patient, or the executor of the deceased patient’s probate estate, may file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Death Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims
Potential wrongful death damages in a medical malpractice claim may include:
- Lost earnings that the victim might reasonably have earned had they lived
- Lost care, companionship, counsel, and advice
- Medical expenses arising from the victim’s last illness or injury
- Funeral and burial expenses
Other losses might also qualify for compensation. Compensation goes to surviving relatives and the victim’s probate estate. Overall, wrongful death damages typically amount to a sum that is comparable to the amount the patient could have won in a medical malpractice lawsuit had they lived.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Settlements
Even after a plaintiff files a medical malpractice lawsuit, many times the claim is settled before ever going to trial.
The procedure is to file a lawsuit, agree on a settlement before the trial date, draft and sign a settlement agreement, and then withdraw the lawsuit. The prospect of going to trial is a great motivator for a medical provider’s insurance company to settle.
The Advantages of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit During Settlement Negotiations
There are two main advantages of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit during settlement negotiations.
- Demonstration of your resolve: Healthcare providers do not want the media coverage of a public medical malpractice trial.
- Initiation of the discovery process: “Discovery” is a court-enforced process of gathering evidence, including sworn testimony and documentation, that is in the defendant’s possession.
Filing a lawsuit could prompt the defendant to raise their settlement offer to an acceptable level. If not, we will represent you at trial. In many cases, however, no trial is necessary.
You Don’t Need a Dime in Your Pocket to Hire Us
We charge you nothing upfront, and we will not charge you anything, ever, unless we recover money for you in your case — either in court or at the settlement table.
It’s the quality of your medical malpractice claim that matters to us, not the size of your bank account. Our fees come out of your compensation as a pre-agreed percentage, so it is essentially the opposing party who pays your legal bills.
We’re Ready to Help You with Your Case
Georgia medical malpractice settlements can be difficult to negotiate. That’s OK, because we pride ourselves on innovative and aggressive advocacy, and our successful track record speaks for itself. Our extensive experience and knowledge of medical malpractice laws provide us with the resources we need to maximize your medical malpractice payout.
Call Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. at (706) 354-4000 or contact us online for a free consultation. We have offices in Athens, Atlanta, Lake Oconee, and Birmingham, and we take cases across Georgia and the U.S.