Are You Running Out Of Time To Bring A Georgia Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other healthcare professional, deviates from the standard of care owed to a patient, by acting negligently, recklessly, carelessly, or in any way that compromises the health and safety of the patient, resulting in injury or death. A common example of medical malpractice is leaving a foreign surgical instrument in the body of a patient after surgery. This is clear evidence that the surgeon acted carelessly, even if it was a mistake, because it demonstrates a deviation from the basic standard of care that we expect a patient to receive. A patient should be able to trust their surgeon to follow the most basic medical protocols and ensure that no surgical instruments or foreign objects are left in their body. However, medical malpractice can be far more subtle as well. For instance, errors in dosage or name of medication, failure to diagnose a life-threatening condition or perform tests necessary to make such a diagnosis, and deviations from industry norms in treatment can all be grounds for medical malpractice suits.
How Much Time Do I Have to Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Georgia has a statute of limitations on how long you have to bring a medical malpractice claim. This statute of limitations, or time limit, exists in order to ensure that sufficient evidence is available to prosecute and defend against your claim, however, it can be a real barrier to many people who have suffered legitimate injuries. In most cases, Georgia residents have two years from the date of the injury or death caused by the medical malpractice. However, this is not without exception. In cases where a medical malpractice error was made, but the harm was not experienced by the patient until later–for instance, if a surgical error was made that went unnoticed until the patient’s untimely death a number of years later–this two year statute of limitations does not apply. However, there is still a five year statute of limitations on this kind of late-manifesting harm. This means that the death or injury would still have to occur within five years of the initial medical malpractice harm being caused in order to have standing to bring a lawsuit. Again, though, there is an exception. In some cases, such as in the case of the surgical instrument being left in a patient’s body, a patient has one year to bring a claim from the time the error or instrument is discovered, regardless of whether it has been more than five years since the initial medical malpractice occurred.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of medical malpractice can be confusing and overwhelming. A lawyer can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of your case to give you a clear understanding of what your rights are and avenues are available for support and compensation. A lawyer will also be able to give you an idea of what level of compensation you are entitled to, and can help you pursue compensation not only for all costs and medical expenses related to the harm, but also for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of it.
Schedule a Consultation
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injury or harm as a result of medical malpractice in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or the greater Georgia area, call Hawkins Spizman Trial Attorneys. Our Cobb County personal injury attorneys can provide a free consultation and explain the next steps in the process.