Medical malpractice is a professional negligence on the part of the healthcare provider that causes the treatment to have an unacceptable standard of practice in the medical community. Negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or dentist can occur through acts or omissions. Patients who have been injured during medical treatments, rather than being cured, have the right to seek fair compensation.
|Types of medical malpractice
– misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis,
– failure to treat,
– surgical errors,
– birth injuries,
– medical product liability
Injuries caused by medical malpractice
– post-surgical illness,
– incorrect treatment which can lead to an exacerbation of an existing problem,
– adverse events caused by incorrect medication
Severe injuries caused by medical malpractice
– severe brain damage
|Elements of negligence presented by our medical malpractice attorney in Los Angeles
– breach of the duty of care,
– injury caused by the said breach,
– the damages resulting from the breach
|Burden of proof
Beared by the plaintiff
|Statute of limitations
– one year after discovery or three years from the date of the injury, whichever occurs first;
– an exception occurs in the case of a foreign object left in the patient’s body during surgery
|Exceptions to the extension of the filing deadline
Healthcare provider fraud or mistake concealment
– medical bills (current and future, related to the injury),
– lost wages (current and future, caused by the injury)
– pain and suffering,
– loss of companionship,
(Our medical mapractice attorney in Los Angeles can help you apply for compensation for these damages)
|$348,065 – the average payout for medical malpractice claims in 2018, according to the U.S. National Practitioner Data Bank
In California, thus in Los Angeles, there is a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages
|Special steps followed by our medical malpractice attorney in Los Angeles
– establishing the doctor-patient relationship;
– gathering evidence to show that there is an injury and a negligence
|Intention to file the case notification
A common 90 days advance notice is offered to the healthcare provider in Los Angeles, informing of the intention to sue.
|Medical malpractice in case of minor children
The lawsuit is filed by the parents/legal guardian.
There is an exception to the statute of limitations in case of children younger than six years (until they turn eight)
|Limits on the lawyer’s fees in medical malpractice cases
– 40 percent of the first $50,000 recovered;
– 15% of any amount over $500,000;
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can offer more details.
|Pure comparative fault
|If you are partially responsible for your own injury or damages, any compensation you receive from a lawsuit will be reduced proportionally based on your degree of fault.
Cases of emergency room medical malpractice in California
– failure to diagnose,
– improper management or performance of treatment,
– failure to order medication, etc.
Filing a claim for emergency room medical malpractice
– Establish the doctor-patient relationship;
– Prove the doctor’s negligence as the cause of injury and damages;
– Provide evidence of specific harms, and potentially gather testimonies;
– Engage medical review panels to support the claim.
|Medical treatment inconsistencies
– seeking medical treatment too long after the accident,
– initially consulting a doctor, but delaying or failing to follow through with the prescribed treatment for an extended period
– performing the correct operation on the wrong patient or vice versa,
– surgical site infections,
– foreign objects left behind,
– anesthesia-related injuries,
– not providing post-operative care, etc.
– failing to diagnose treatable conditions in their early stages,
– misinterpreting test results,
– overlooking critical information, etc.
|Witness reporting and testimony
To prove that a healthcare provider breached the standard of care in a medical malpractice case in Los Angeles, you must present the testimony of a medical expert.
Please contact our medical malpractice attorneys in California for more details.
|Appealing a medical malpractice case
The appeal process involves filing a Notice of Appeal.
The higher court, or Court of Appeals, reviews the lower court’s decision for errors of law or unsupported factual determinations.
Our medical malpractice lawyers in Los Angeles can help you appeal any decision.
|Filing on behalf of an incompetent plaintiff
If a plaintiff is legally incompetent to file a medical malpractice claim, a guardian can file on his/her behalf.
|Medical malpractice during birth
– improper use of medical interventions,
– inadequate prenatal care,
– failure to diagnose maternal conditions,
– labor and delivery errors, etc.
|Fraud committed by health care provider
If you prove healthcare provider’s fraud or deliberate concealment, you have up to three years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit.
|Wrongful death cases
– surgical errors,
– anesthesia complications,
– failure to monitor patients’ conditions, etc.
|Who can be held responsible for medical malpractice in California?
– healthcare providers,
– pharmaceutical companies, etc.
|Medical malpractice vs. personal injury cases
A medical malpractice case is a specific type of personal injury case that involves injuries or harm caused by the negligence or misconduct of healthcare professionals.
Consult with our medical malpractice attorneys from Los Angeles to navigate the complexities of medical malpractice cases.
|Most common cases of medical malpractice in Los Angeles
– leaving instruments behind after surgery,
– making life-altering mistakes during surgical procedures,
– administering the wrong type of medicine
|Assistance from our medical malpractice attorney in California
|Our medical malpractice attorneys in Los Angeles provide legal assistance and representation for cases involving medical malpractice in California.
Before filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice in Los Angeles or in any other city in the state of California, it is important to be familiar with the applicable legislation. Consulting with a medical malpractice attorney in California can provide a clearer understanding of the legal implications involved.
Our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles can help you if you have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Table of Contents
The Medical Malpractice Law in California, explained by our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider breaches the existing standard of care in the medical field when providing treatments to a patient. Misdiagnosis, leaving instruments behind after surgery, and making life-altering mistakes during surgical procedures are common cases of medical malpractice. Another example is administering the wrong type of medicine, which can pose a life-threatening risk to the patient. In all these cases, it is very important to seek assistance from our medical malpractice attorneys in California.
Although a number of things can go wrong during surgery, the patient shouldn’t have to worry about the doctor’s competency. Medical malpractice cases need to be handled by professionals because oftentimes, the case is not simply a matter of establishing if the doctor has breached the generally accepted standard of care. Together with our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles you will be able to assess the strengths of your case, file a lawsuit, gather the evidence and go to trial.
Pure comparative fault
Note that under California Law, there is a legal concept called “pure comparative fault.” This means that if you are partially responsible for your own injury, any damages awarded by the court will be reduced proportionally. Even if you are found to be 99% at fault, you can still recover damages for the remaining percentage.
For example,if a patient deliberately provides false information to his/her doctor, such as lying about alcohol consumption, the doctor might prescribe a medication that, when mixed with alcohol, poses some risks. If the patient sues the doctor for medical malpractice in California, the court might determine that the patient shares some responsibility for his/hers injury.
Our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles invite you to watch this video about the particularities of a medical malpractice case:
Understanding the statute of limitations in California
The statute of limitations is the time limit within which the victim has the right to file a lawsuit. After this time has passed, the court will most likely refuse to hear the case and you can lose important compensations that could have otherwise helped you. In most personal injury cases, the victim injured in a car accident, for example, has two years to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. However, medical malpractice is treated differently and it is important for the victim to know exactly how much time he/she has to claim compensations.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is included in the California Code of Civil Procedure sections 340.4 and 340.5. According to law, the applicable statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California is one year after the act that caused the injury has been discovered (the discovery rule). Alternatively, the statute of limitations can be a maximum of three years after the injury took place, whichever occurs first.
If you have been injured by a medical care provider in California, our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles will help you file a lawsuit within the same year. Alternatively, if you suspect that you have been injured during a medical procedure and the three year period has not passed yet, we can help you build a solid case and file the lawsuit within the three-year time limit.
Victims should know that they could reach out to our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles if this is the case.
In some cases, the total statute of limitation period can be subject to an extension. This applies to those cases in which a surgical instrument or an otherwise non-therapeutic item was left behind inside the body or when the medical provider/the defendant intentionally conceals details about the case or he is accused of fraud.
Our medical malpractice attorneys in California present you with another exception of different statute of limitations for medical malpractice, in the case of minors. According to law, a medical malpractice lawsuit must commence within three years for minors, except for children under the age of six. The parents have three years from the date of the injury to file the claim or until the child is eight years of age, whichever comes first. This can be an issue as the total statute of limitation can be shorter for children compared to adults.
The statute of limitations can be complex in these types of cases and it is recommended to seek specialized legal assistance when you need to clearly determine the time you have at your disposal to file a claim. Likewise, it is important not to postpone the decision to take action indefinitely. Even if the time limit of three years applies in your case and if there is evidence of fraud or concealment by the defendant (which lengthens the total period, as stated above) it is important to observe the final deadline for filing the claim. Please contact our medical malpractice lawyers in California in these special cases.
It is also important to note that in some cases arbitration agreements can alter the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases (depending on the specific terms of the agreement). In those cases where the plaintiff is considered incompetent to file the claim himself (for example in case of mental illness or in case of severe physical limitations), a legal guardian can file the claim within the time limit on his behalf. A specialized medical attorney in California can provide you with the necessary expertise and guidance.
Victims of medical malpractice who want to go to court should seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles as soon as they suspect such a case.
Compensations for medical malpractice cases in California
The compensations that can be obtained through a trial by the plaintiff include: compensatory economic damages – for medical expenses and life care expenses – or non-economic damages – for the physical and psychological harm caused by the injury. Punitive damages can also apply in medical malpractice cases in California. Our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles can help you if a medical malpractice case has resulted in a wrongful death.
Medical malpractice in California can be challenging, but if a claim is successful, it can provide the necessary compensation for the injured individuals. As mentioned above, there are economic compensations if their claim is victorious. Economic damages, also known as special damages, encompass the measurable financial losses associated with medical malpractice claims. These damages are typically calculated by collecting bills and receipts related to the incident and treatment.
There are also non-economic damages, also known as general damages, which are more complex and subjective losses in a medical malpractice claim. Unlike economic damages, there are no bills or receipts to quantify these damages accurately. You can contact our medical malpractice attorneys in Los Angeles if you want to know how to calculate these damages, based on your individual case. Some common non-economic damages in such claims include:
- Emotional and psychological pain and suffering caused by the medical error;
- Physical pain and suffering resulting from ongoing injury or illness;
- Loss of quality of life due to disability caused by the mistake;
- Loss of consortium for spouses and family members.
The 250,000 $ cap on medical malpractice claims is controversial; however, it limits the non-economic damages that can be recovered, not the economic ones. This means that the plaintiff will receive 250,000 $ at most for the pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life and other psychological trauma that resulted after the said medical malpractice action took place.
Plaintiffs should know that they will not be limited to a certain amount when asking for the costs for the medical treatment needed after the malpractice took place or the lost income that occurred as a result of them not being able to work because of a doctor’s wrongful acts. The victim can ask for quantifiable losses after the medical malpractice both for the ones that occurred before the legal action was initiated and for the future ones.
Filing a medical malpractice claim
When filing a medical malpractice claim, it is usually useful to remember the following characteristics for these types of claims:
- the distinct statute of limitations: the one year and the three year periods that can, in some cases, be subject to a pause in how the past time is perceived.
- the notification to the healthcare provider: it should be noted that the surgeon, doctor or whoever is believed to be at fault should be notified of the intention to sue within 90 days (at least) before the claim is filed.
- the special cap on damages: this applies to those non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and the applicable amount limit is 250,000 USD; this does not influence the economic losses.
- the limit on the attorney’s fees: according to the local laws, attorneys who work for the plaintiff are limited when it comes to the fee they can charge in a medical malpractice case; our team of medical malpractice attorneys from Los Angeles will only charge you after you receive the settlement.
One of our medical malpractice attorneys in California can help you determine not only the applicable time limit in your case but will also assist you when formally notifying the doctor or medical practitioner of your intention to sue them. The notification should always include information about the claim (its legal basis), the types of injuries sustained because of the defendant’s actions as well as the types of losses sustained as a direct result of said injuries.
The process of medical malpractice in California starts by filing a complaint with the court clerk, which should contain:
- A description of the facts that form the basis of the legal claim;
- A request for the specific remedy or compensation you believe you are entitled to.
When the lawsuit seeks to recover damages for personal injury or wrongful death, it is typically not necessary to specify the exact amount of money being demanded in the initial complaint. If you considering filing a lawsuit or need assistance with the legal process, it is advisable to consult our medical malpractice lawyer in California.
In some cases, the defendant may try to argue that the plaintiff is also at fault, although partially, for not having observed the doctor’s instructions. When this is found to be true, according to the pure comparative negligence rule in California, the settlement amount will be reduced by the percentage the victim is found to be at fault for.
Our medical malpractice solutions also include those medical errors that can take place during birth. Injuries to the mother and/or the newborn during childbirth can be prevented, however, these can, unfortunately, occur and vary from bruising, to broken bones, or more severely, brain damage. If you or your child were injured as a result of medical malpractice, you can talk to our birth injury lawyers in Los Angeles.
Prove the doctors’s fault
Medical malpractice can occur during all types of medical procedures and, in order to be able to file a lawsuit against the medical professional who treated you, you will need to be able to prove the professional’s negligence.
In medical malpractice cases, professional negligence is described as the act or omission to act by a healthcare professional, while providing professional services, when this act or omission to act is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death case. The scope of the services provided must be included in the ones for which the medical professional is licensed for and which are not restricted in any way.
Emergency medicine malpractice
Patients who were not treated properly by a physician can make a claim against him/her by invoking medical malpractice. Individuals who have been given the wrong medicine or even those who went through surgery and discovered that foreign objects were left behind in the wound can request the services of a personal injury lawyer who can help them obtain compensations.
Some of the most common cases in which emergency physicians are accused of medical malpractice include:
- failure to diagnose;
- improper management of treatment;
- improper performance of the chosen treatment or procedure;
- failure to order medication.
Each of these mistakes made by the physician can alter the health of the patient and sometimes aggravate the disease. The most common conditions with which patients present themselves in an emergency room are myocardial infarctions and cerebrovascular accidents.
Multiple individuals involved in the patient’s care during an emergency room visit could be held responsible for his/her injuries. This includes the emergency room doctor, nurse, staff, administration, anesthesiologist, and even manufacturers of defective medical equipment or devices. The hospital itself may be subject to liability.
To determine who is accountable for his/her injury, a thorough investigation of the pacient’s time spent in the emergency room is necessary. Once a medical malpractice attorney in California establishes the cause, you can pursue compensation from all those who contributed to your harm.
Our personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles also handle medical malpractice claims and can help you in these situations.
How to prove medical malpractice in the emergency room
There are a few basic things to prove when filing a claim for emergency room medical malpractice in Los Angeles. Among these, you should know that from the moment you signed the admission papers the doctor-patient relationship is created and this is the first proof for such claim. Next, it is the medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles’ role to establish that the doctor’s negligence is the one causing the injury which had specific damages. The evidence can be based on higher medical bills, complications, more physical pain than normal. Testimonies and special medical review panels may also be required when establishing medical malpractice.
You should also know that the Good Samaritan rule has no validity in an emergency malpractice suit.
Hospital liability in emergency malpractice cases
If you were involved in an accident, rushed over to the emergency room and suffered another personal injury as a consequence of an emergency malpractice, you should know that the hospital is liable for the doctor’s misconduct. This is because the hospital is the employer, therefore it can be held accountable for its employees’ misconducts. Even if it may seem simple to prove a personal injury was sustained due to an emergency procedure that went wrong, help from medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles is recommended as each case is particular and various degrees of injuries may occur.
Even if negligence is invoked in most emergency malpractice cases, this theory does not apply to every case, as the injury may be caused by another employee of the hospital. This is the most important part of an investigation during a medical emergency malpractice suit in Los Angeles: determining who is liable for the personal injury suffered. There are two hypotheses, the doctor alone or the hospital can be sued. Liability will be established based on the relation between the doctor and the hospital, because the medic can work as a contractor for the hospital, case in which the doctor will bear the consequences of his or her actions. That is why hiring medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles is important when filing a lawsuit for emergency malpractice.
Claiming compensations for a medical wrongdoing
Claims for medical malpractice cases are based on proving neglect. You are entitled to report any medical malpractice case and claim compensations for your losses as a result of the wrongdoing. Whether it is more time spent in the hospital (which caused you to lose more wages) or a number of medical expenses that occurred as a direct result of the physician’s negligence, you can claim monetary compensations for your losses.
Our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles can help you make a solid claim by gathering all the possibly relevant information. Your medical chart and even eyewitnesses, like family or other patients, can help you prove your case.
The elements of negligence in medical malpractice cases
Most personal injury cases involving medical malpractice are based on showing that the doctor was negligent. For this to be plausible, the plaintiff needs to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed and that the said physician had a clear duty of care.
In order to establish negligence, victims should prove the following:
– the medical professional had a relationship with the patient and a duty of care;
– the doctor breached that duty of care (he/she deviated from the standard of care);
– the health of the patient was directly influenced by the said deviation from the standard;
– the injuries have affected the patient’s quality of life.
Just because the treatment result is not the one you have hoped for does not mean that you have a personal injury case involving medical malpractice. It should be very clear that the doctor was negligent. A medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles can help evaluate your case and help you move forward with your claim.
Waiting too long to get the adequate medical treatment can hurt your case because the decision to file a personal injury claim after you’ve discovered the impact the accident has had on your health can come too late. As mentioned before, California has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury cases, so your time to file a claim is limited. Gaps in your medical treatment are likely to be interpreted as a lack of consistency in court and they may harm your case.
In the case of the the statute of limitations exceptions, the injuries might not be immediately evident. If you are involved in a car accident, for example, and experience pain or injuries days or weeks later, it would be advisable to consult with a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer in California as soon as you become aware of your injuries. In this specific cases, the extended statue of limitations ensures that you are not penalized for being unaware of the injury.
One of our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles can help you gather the needed evidence and file a personal injury claim in due time.
Inconsistencies in your medical treatment
An obvious inconsistency in the medical treatment you’ve received after a vehicle accident or a slip and fall, for example, can lessen the amount of your compensation. The insurance claim adjuster will try to look or these inconsistencies to devalue your claim. A gap in treatment may be interpreted as evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
Two types of inconsistencies are possible: you’ve either sought medical treatment too long after the accident or you did see a doctor but did not follow through with the treatment until some months after the first consultation.
It is recommended to consult our medical malpractice attorneys in California when dealing with insurance claim adjusters to understand your legal options.
How to prevent gaps in medical treatment after a personal injury accident
The simplest way to avoid medical treatment inconsistencies is to follow the instructions you receive from your doctor and follow through with the treatment, as prescribed.
Not all gaps in the medical treatment mean that you have been inconsistent after an accident. A medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles, together with your treating physician, can help you gather the evidence needed to explain these gaps.
Statistics about medical malpractice in California
Here are a few facts and statistics about the medical healthcare and medical malpractice in California:
- In 2020, approximately 7.5 percent of California’s total population did not have a health insurance, while the majority of the state’s population was insured through their employers;
- From 2009 to 2018, California had 13,157 cases of medical malpractice;
- In the same period, the medical malpractice payments in California totaled over 2 billion dollars.
For more information about medical malpractice litigation, please contact our medical malpractice attorney from Los Angeles.
We can also help you in other personal injury cases because we have different teams of lawyers: