Georgia Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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GEORGIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
A medical malpractice suit may be brought for medical negligence in Georgia against a medical care professional. Medical negligence happens when a medical professional performs substandard treatment on a patient, resulting in injury. In Georgia, the patient must show that the medical care professional committed “gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.” Because this is a high standard of proof to meet, an injured patient should hire a medical malpractice attorney to handle their claim. Failure to meet the burden of proof required in Georgia can mean wasting extra time and money, or the court barring the claim altogether. Medical malpractice in Georgia may occur in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Injury as a result of improper hospital care;
- Error during surgery;
- Failure to treat or incorrect treatment;
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis.
Who Can Be Sued in a Georgia Medical Malpractice Case?
Any medical professional licensed to perform medical services on patients could be held liable for medical malpractice in Georgia. A licensed health care professional includes, but is not limited to, specialists, doctors, nurses, optometrists, emergency services, hospitals, and medical groups. If you have been injured and are not sure if the negligent party is included within the definition of medical professionals, a Georgia medical malpractice attorney can assist you in making this determination.
Georgia Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on a medical malpractice suit is the period of time in which the plaintiff has to file an action against the negligent party. The plaintiff must file a claim for medical malpractice within two years of the injury being discovered, or of the death of the patient, but in no case may the claim be filed over five years from the date of the negligent act. However, there is a special exception for a plaintiff that finds a foreign object inside their body after a surgery. In this case, the plaintiff must file a claim within one year of the date of the discovery of the foreign object, but it does not matter how long it has been between the negligent act and the discovery of the object.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Georgia
Until recently, Georgia law capped the amount of noneconomic damages a plaintiff canrecover from each defendant. Noneconomic damages include losses for pain and suffering, inconvenience, and physical disfigurement. In 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court found these caps unconstitutional, so there is no longer a limit to the amount of noneconomic damages that a plaintiff can recover from a medically negligent defendant. A Georgia medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the proper damages for your suit.
Filing a Georgia Medical Malpractice Claim
Filing a claim against a medical professional most likely means going up against an experienced team of defense attorneys. These are generally insurance attorneys who have extensive experience in defending claims against their clients. Because of this, an individual should not attempt to file a claim for medical malpractice without the help of a Georgia medical malpractice attorney. As mentioned previously, Georgia requires a high burden of proof for a medical malpractice claim to be filed. Meeting this burden often requires hiring expert witnesses and conducting interrogatories and depositions, a time-consuming and expensive process. If the burden of proof is not met initially, the claim can be dismissed, and the patient can lose their only means of recovery. Georgia Medical Malpractice Laws
- Torts: General Provisions: Liability of Voluntary Healthcare Provider and Sponsoring Organization: § 51-1-29.1.
- Civil Practice: Limitations for actions: Limitations for malpractice actions: General Limitation: § 9-3-71.
- Civil Practice: Limitations for actions: Limitations for malpractice actions: Foreign Objects Left in Body: § 9-3-72.
- Torts: Recovery in Medical Malpractice Actions: § 51-13-1.