FIND A LOS ANGELES MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY TODAY
Malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional or facility acts or fails to act reasonably in a given situation, which then causes a patient’s injury. While accidents may occur, injuries which are the consequence of a medical professional’s negligence can have a negative and enduring impact upon one’s life and financial security. Malpractice occurs in many forms, including surgical mistakes, missed or wrong diagnoses, medical equipment failure or malfunction, contaminated surgical or medical instruments, and foreign objects left within the body during surgery.
If you wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must adhere to the state’s statute of limitations or else risk the court declining to hear it. While there are exceptions that allow the tolling, or a “pausing,” of the time limitations, they are few and far between.
Medical malpractice cases are complex, time consuming, and difficult to litigate. That is why having competent representation by your side is absolutely crucial to the successful outcome of your case. Experienced medical Malpractice Lawyers in Los Angeles, Prosmushkin and Davis, P.C., will help you demonstrate that the standard of proper medical care was breached causing you significant economic and non-economic injury and harm.
HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED AS THE RESULT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ?
By legal definition, medical malpractice is the negligent treatment of a patient by a medical professional or healthcare provider. Malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional or facility acts or fails to act reasonably in a given situation, which then causes a patient’s injury. When a medical professional engages with a patient, at all times they owe that patient a duty of reasonable care. Patients trust that medical professionals will act responsibly when diagnosing and treating them. Malpractice Lawyers In Los Angeles have specialized experience dealing with the cases and are ready to represent you.
Medical malpractice can lead to life changing injuries, and may entail costly and ongoing medical treatment. Some people may never recover due to long term disability and will be forced out of work and require financial support. While accidents may occur, injuries which are the consequence of a medical professional’s negligence can have a negative and enduring impact upon one’s life.
An experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney Los Angeles will be able to demonstrate the following:
- Breach of the Standard of Care – Certain standards apply to certain professions. The standard of care that is applied is one that is generally recognized within the profession as being acceptable. For doctors and other medical professionals, the standard of care owed to patients is described as that which is reasonably prudent to other health care professionals within the community under similar circumstances. Health care professionals are expected to provide treatment or services that are consistent with the standard of care. A patient has the right to hold these professionals to that standard. If care has fallen below the standard, then a court will look to determine whether causation and damage elements have been met to determine whether there has been negligence.
- Causation – A patient must demonstrate that the injury sustained would not have happened if not for negligence on the part of the health care provider. Breaching the standard of care is not enough to prove a medical malpractice claim. Moreover, not all unfavorable outcomes amount to negligence. For example, not all cancer patients who experience a remission of their cancer will have a strong claim of medical malpractice. A patient must also prove that the negligence was the cause of the injury or illness. A healthcare professional, such as a doctor, might deviate from the appropriate standard of care when treating their patient, but if the harm experienced by the patient was not caused by the treatment or the patient would have experienced harm regardless of the doctor’s intervention, then there may not be medical negligence. This is often a tricky question and requires some legal finesse. A qualified Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer will be able to assess the facts of your case to determine whether there is a valid argument for causation and understand the type of evidence necessary to prove this element of your case.
- Damages – The term damages can be generally defined as a form of compensation for an injury or loss caused by another. In medical malpractice lawsuits, a patient must be able to show that damages resulted from the health care provider’s breach of his or her standard of care. Medical malpractice lawsuits often require testimony from several medical experts including hours of complex deposition testimony. These cases can be challenging to litigate because for a case to be economically viable, the injured patient must be able to show that the injury resulted in significant damages, such as chronic disability, loss of current and future income, unusual pain, emotional suffering and undue hardship, as well as significant current and future medical bills related to treatment of the injury. If expected damages are too small, the recovery available might be less than the cost to litigate but a qualified Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer will be able to account for all your expenses and financial hardships when analysing your case. In order to receive compensatory damages, you will need to show quantifiable, economic expenses, but there are other forms of non-economic damages for pain and suffering or loss of consortium (injury to the spousal or familial relationship). Many states cap the maximum amount of damages a patient can recover. In California, for example, the state limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims to $250,000, which accounts for current and future medical expenses and future earning capacity.
To pursue a medical malpractice claim, contact medical Malpractice Lawyers In Los Angeles, Prosmushkin and Davis, P.C., today. Our attorneys will look at the facts, analyze your case, and provide persuasive and aggressive advocacy on your behalf.
COMMON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
Some forms of medical malpractice are more common than others. Below are a few, but there are as many opportunities for mistakes as there are diseases, injuries, and the treatments for them.
- Surgical Errors – For example, the patient is scheduled to have surgery on his right leg, but finds that his left leg has been operated on instead.
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose – This may present a standard of care question. The patient will have to prove that a competent doctor would have undergone certain tests or protocols to achieve a correct or earlier diagnosis before the condition worsened.
- Medical Equipment Failure – Examples include faulty monitoring devices, oxygen delivery, and other life sustaining equipment necessary to maintain the patients health and well being.
- Contaminated Instruments – This specifically refers to unclean or unsanitized surgical instruments that could cause or exacerbate post-care infection and treatment; however, a related issue, though uncommon, are when medical instruments left inside a patient’s body following surgery.
Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitations are enacted by every state to establish specific deadlines for filing civil lawsuits, like medical malpractice claims. The purpose of these laws is to ensure the legitimacy of claims before evidence is destroyed, witness memories fade, and to factor in some economic predictability into commercial markets. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court may decline to hear it unless there is an applicable exception.
In California, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed no later than three years after the date of injury or one year after the patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered the injury, whichever occurs first.
This means that the one-year time limitation begins once you have discovered your injury resulting from alleged malpractice. The court may not hear your case if it has been more than three years since the alleged malpractice occurred. For this reason, you should consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney Los Angeles as soon as you believe you may have a cause of action or a lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, healthcare facility or other medical professional.
Exceptions to Statute of Limitations
In California, there are scenarios where breaks or pauses, called “tolling,” are permitted to extend the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, including:
- Children: This is not so much an exception as it is a difference in treatment from adult complainants. Medical malpractice lawsuits that are filed in California on behalf of a minor child must be commenced within three years from the date of injury or malpractice. If the child is under the age of six, the lawsuit must be filed within three years of the malpractice, or before the child’s eighth birthday, whichever is longer. The law further states that the statute of limitations will be tolled “paused” for any period during which the child’s guardian, the defendant’s insurer, or the health care provider committed fraud or collusion to prevent the legal action from being brought to court.
- Foreing Objects: This describes when a foreign object has been left in a surgical patient. The one year discovery period applies but there is no three year outside window.
Proof of fraud and/or Intentional Concealment – Similar to the exception for children, but applicable to adults. .
Notice to Health Care Provider Required in California
California requires that no action can be commenced for negligence against a health care professional unless they have been given ninety days prior notice of the intention to file the lawsuit. No particular form or format is required when providing notice, but the defendant must be informed of the legal basis of the claim, the type of loss sustained, and the nature of the injuries suffered. The law also provides that, if the notice is served within 90 days of the expiration of the statute of limitations, the time limit for starting the lawsuit will be extended 90 days from the service of the notice.
As you can see, the statute of limitations issue presents an added complication to an already complex area of law. Showing when the injury was incurred or discovered is not always a straight-forward question to answer. That is why hiring a Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer to answer these difficult questions is recommended.
FOR BETTER RESULTS, CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED AND PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER IN LOS ANGELES TODAY
With over 25 years of combined experience, our attorneys have successfully represented clients grappling with all sorts of medical malpractice issues. Our goal is to recover fair compensation for all of our clients, and we will endeavor to persuasively and aggressively advocate for you at every stage of your case. If you have been injured as the result of medical malpractice, call the very best Medical Malpractice Attorney Los Angeles at Prosmushkin and Davis, P.C., today!