Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
At The Moses Firm, we strive to deliver excellence in everything we do, leveraging our deep experience and expertise in complex cases to obtain great results for our clients. Our lawyers understand how important it is for our clients to have a relentless, detail-oriented advocate fighting for them in the wake of a tragic event. Our experience shows that when tragedy strikes, mistakes are often covered up, lied about, and denied. If you have been a victim of a tragic event due to medical malpractice, a serious car or tractor-trailer crash, or other negligent and reckless conduct, we can help you figure out what happened and help you protect yourself and your family. Please call the Georgia personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers at The Moses Firm today at 404-721-1050 to learn how our dedicated attorneys can assist you through this difficult time.
Holding Wrongdoers Accountable and Demanding Competent Medical Care
According to a 2018 Johns Hopkins study, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. It is hard to fathom that reputable healthcare providers can be responsible for so many devastating and preventable medical errors. These mistakes can be so serious that it causes someone’s death, but these mistakes can also cause life-altering and devastating injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, and limb loss. These horrific outcomes must be addressed not only to help the injured and their families, but to protect the public from having these same mistakes repeated and harming another innocent person.
As attorneys with the expertise in handling complex personal injury cases like medical malpractice cases, we understand what safe and high-quality medical care requires and why mistakes are made. We also know what it takes to force healthcare providers to acknowledge that things should have been done differently and more safely for patients. We consult highly-credentialed practicing doctors all across the United States who have the bravery to speak up for patients and clearly explain to a jury what should have been done when nationally-recognized safety standards are followed.
Although it can be overwhelming and daunting to consider pursuing a medical malpractice case against a large and prominent health care system or a well-known healthcare provider, we have the experience and expertise to help you. So please reach out to the dedicated Georgia medical malpractice attorneys at The Moses Firm for a free consultation. Time is of the essence so you should contact an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney right away.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice refers to the failure of healthcare providers (for example, a doctor, nurse, or hospital) to use a “reasonable degree of care and skill” when treating a patient. O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27. This is commonly referred to as the “standard of care,” and the standard of care is often established by professional guidelines and standards that are nationally or internationally recognized, hospital policies and procedures, medical textbooks, and basic teaching learned in medical school and residency about how to diagnose and treat medical conditions safely and administer high-quality medical care. These standards of care exist for the benefit and safety of patients, and healthcare providers have a duty to follow them. When healthcare providers fail to do so, this is called a violation in the standard of care or, in other words, medical malpractice or medical negligence.
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases include:
- Anesthesia Errors: Anesthesiologists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (“CRNAs”), and Anesthesia Assistants (“AAs”) have a duty to always ensure that their patients can breathe safely during and after any surgery or procedure. When these providers fail to provide safe anesthesia or fail to respond to an airway emergency, the consequences can be serious and fatal and constitute medical malpractice.
- Childbirth Injuries: Negligence during childbirth can cause in severe, catastrophic, and permanent injuries to the mother and/or the baby. Some of the most common types of birth injuries from medical malpractice cases involve brain injuries to babies from healthcare providers failing to perform cesarean sections in time; failing to monitor the baby on a fetal monitor; failing to timely or properly interpret fetal monitoring strips; failing to safely administer a medication called Pitocin that causes contractions; and/or failing to recognize that a baby cannot breathe. Babies who suffer from a lack of oxygen during delivery can die unnecessarily or suffer from lifelong brain damage and cerebral palsy from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: There are many different types of failure to diagnose medical malpractice cases such as the failure to timely diagnose and treat stroke, heart attack, cancer, aortic aneurysms, cauda equina syndrome, testicular torsion, and more. When time is of the essence to recognize and treat an urgent medical condition, the failure to timely recognize and treat these problems can lead to serious permanent injuries or death. This is a common medical malpractice scenario that requires an evaluation by an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
- Medication Errors: Nurses have a responsibility to follow the 5 rights of medication administration. Nurses must administer the right medication, to the right patient, in the right dose, via the right route, and at the right time. The failure to follow these “5 Rights” can cause serious permanent injuries or death to patients.
- Surgical Mistakes: Operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments inside the patient, performing unnecessary surgery, or failing to protect and negligently cutting important anatomic structures like nerves can cause serious consequence. These surgical errors must always be avoided.
Do I have a medical malpractice case?
First and foremost, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Georgia to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case. The trusted, experienced, and proven Georgia medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury attorneys at The Moses Firm can help you determine, for free, whether you have a viable case.
There are many legal and practical considerations that must be taken into account to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case.
Legally, there are four essential elements of a viable medical malpractice case in Georgia. They are (1) duty; (2) breach of duty; (3) causation; and (4) damages.
(1) DUTY: A plaintiff/patient must prove that the healthcare provider (that is, the physician or the nurse) had a duty to do something or not to do something. In medical malpractice cases, a “duty” is called the “standard of care,” and what that means legally, is that the care provided by the healthcare provider “must be of such degree of care and skill as, under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances, is ordinarily employed by the profession generally.” O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27. In other words, it is essentially what an ordinary and reasonable healthcare provider would do in the same or similar situation. If you have a viable medical malpractice case, your Georgia medical malpractice attorneys will hire highly-credentialed expert witnesses who are practicing doctors and/or nurses who will testify about what ordinary and reasonable healthcare providers would do in the situation at issue. This duty/standard of care can also be proven to a jury by showing what is taught in medical schools/nursing schools; what is published by a professional society in their own standards and practice guidelines; what is documented in textbooks; what is discussed in peer-reviewed journals and articles; what is tested on a board examinations; what is taught at continuing medical education; and by even pointing to a hospital’s own policies and procedures. O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27; Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions – Civil 62.300.
(2) BREACH OF DUTY: When a healthcare provider fails to due what an ordinary and reasonable healthcare provider would do in the same or similar situation, this is called a breach of duty or a violation in the standard of care. By proving that a healthcare provider breached their duty/violated the standard of care in a situation alone does not mean you have a viable medical malpractice case. You must establish the other elements of a medical malpractice case.
(3) CAUSATION: In order to have a viable medical malpractice case, the breach of duty/ violation of the standard of care must have caused the injury to the patient. The injury must have occurred in the natural or ordinary course of events. In Georgia, the negligent act does not need not be the only cause nor the last or nearest cause. There may be other causes that contribute to the injury, but all that is required is that the negligent act caused and/or contributed to the injury. This must be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence”. In other words, the negligent act must “more likely than not” or “by the greater weight of the evidence” have caused the injury. A jury does not have have to be “certain” or “100 percent sure” that the negligent act caused the injury. All that is required in Georgia (and in every other state) is that a plaintiff prove their case with 50.1 percent confidence level that the negligent act caused or contributed to the injury. Therefore, a jury can have 49.9 percent doubt about whether a healthcare provider’s negligent act caused the injury, but in this case, Georgia law still requires a jury find for the plaintiff as long as there is at least 50.1 percent proof. O.C.G.A. §§ 24-14-1, 24-14-3; Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions – Civil 02.020.
(4) DAMAGES: A plaintiff must have suffered some injury in order to have a viable medical malpractice case. Most viable medical malpractice cases involve serious or catastrophic injuries (like death, brain damage, paralysis, and amputations of arms and/or legs). There are essentially two categories of damages in Georgia, which are (1) economic and (2) non-economic damages. The economic damages includes medical bills, past and future lost wages, and funeral expenses. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering, the value of the permanency of the injury, and/or the value of the loss of life. O.C.G.A. §§ 51-12-4, 51-12-6; Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions – Civil 66, 200, et seq., 66.501.
In addition to the necessary legal requirements of a viable medical malpractice case, there are also many practical considerations that an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will need to evaluate when deciding whether they can represent you. Being able to prove the four legal elements above alone are not the only factors that must be considered because medical malpractice cases are very difficult cases to pursue and win. Some of the reasons why they are difficult are that:
- Medical malpractice cases are aggressively defended by experienced medical malpractice defense lawyers;
- Multi-million dollar insurance corporations with deep pockets pay for and fund the defense of these cases;
- Healthcare providers can easily find expert witnesses to defend their medical care even when the care is shockingly poor and substandard, and it is more difficult for patients to find physician expert witnesses who are willing to speak the truth and stand up for patients and victims of medical malpractice;
- Medical malpractice cases take an extraordinary amount of work and take many years to complete; and
- Medical malpractice cases cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight in court.
Because of the challenges, the effort, and the risk involved in pursuing a medical malpractice case, your situation must be carefully evaluated—legally and practically—by experienced medical malpractice lawyers. Lawyers take into account the strength of the case; the egregiousness of the medical error; the magnitude of the injury and damages; the venue of the potential case; the patient’s medical history and how healthy they were before the injury; the significance and value of the pain and suffering that the injury caused among other things.
If you have a medical malpractice concern in Georgia, it is best to consult and hire a trusted, experienced, and proven Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who knows the nuances of Georgia law and who has the contacts to be able to help you. Many medical malpractice victims make the mistake of hiring an out-of-state lawyer to handle their Georgia case. Out-of-state lawyers do not know the intricacies of Georgia law, and they do not have the contacts to obtain the best possible outcome for the case. The trusted, experienced, and proven Georgia medical malpractice attorneys at The Moses Firm will carefully evaluate the legal and practical aspects of your case for free to determine whether you have a viable case.
If you have a viable case that we accept, The Moses Firm will represent you for free and will pay for all the case expenses at zero risk to you. You will only pay for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation if we obtain a recovery for you. If you have questions about the medical care you or a loved one received, please reach out to the trusted, experienced, and proven Georgia medical malpractice lawyers at The Moses Firm. We are here to help.