How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Georgia
There are few life experiences more traumatizing than realizing that you have a serious health condition or suffering a severe injury. Except, perhaps, finding out that a doctor’s negligence or recklessness caused or contributed to it. Read below to find out how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia.
First Steps to Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you are concerned that your doctor’s decisions or actions caused your injuries, first ask him about it. Most doctors will willingly explain their decisions and might even help you treat an injury you suffered because of their mistake.
You can also seek a second opinion about your condition and course of treatment or other decisions that your doctor recommended. Georgia even requires that you provide an affidavit from a competent expert that states your doctor committed a negligent act or omission.
Before you move forward with your legal action, consult attorney John Morrison first. There are certain things your case must establish before you are successful in getting compensation for your damages.
Establishing Liability for Medical Malpractice
To prove medical malpractice, a claimant must prove that:
- The doctor owed him a duty of care.
- The doctor breached that duty, i.e., was negligent.
- The doctor’s negligent act or omission caused the injury.
- The injury resulted in damages, e.g., medical bills, lost wages, second surgery, etc.
Under very general principles of negligence law, a doctor must engage in reasonable conduct in every aspect of patient care, from the initial consultation to surgical aftercare. Naturally, this standard begs the question: what is reasonable? In the context of a medical interaction between a patient and his doctor, the doctor needs to give her patient the level of care that is generally accepted within the medical community – and, in particular, the sub-specialty at issue.
By way of example, consider a patient undergoing an invasive procedure for the repair of a shattered knee joint. During the operation, the surgeon must engage in sequential steps that match the steps other, reasonable orthopedic surgeons handling a similar injury would conduct the surgery. If the surgeon deviates from these standards and protocols, resulting in injury to the patient, the patient could have a valuable medical malpractice case – particularly if he is left unable to walk.
Proving a Doctor Violated the Standard of Care
Medical malpractice cases often require the involvement of an expert witness to help the court determine what “reasonable” conduct under the circumstances should have been.
For example, the plaintiff may need to retain an expert in orthopedics to testify as to the accepted methods for surgical knee repair. From there, the expert would compare the accepted standards with methods implemented by the surgeon at the time of the injury.
Of course, the defense’s lawyer will also present an expert witness to rebut the plaintiff’s expert, and will likely testify that that physician was well within the standard of care required of orthopedic surgeons. From there, either side may offer additional testimony and evidence to help bolster their positions, from which the judge or jury will ultimately make a determination of liability (assuming the case does not settle ahead of time).
Contact a Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you are considering a medical malpractice claim and would like to discuss your options with a professional, contact the Law Offices of John Morrison, LLC in Georgia today at 770-951-8900.