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Atlanta, GA Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, have a responsibility to make a proper diagnosis and provide quality medical services. When they fail to meet that responsibility and patients are harmed, those victims have a right to seek full and fair compensation. Malpractice cases are complex. If you have suffered an injury as the result of malpractice, you need the help of an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.

Why Choose Hilley & Frieder, P.C. For Your Claim

  • Hilley & Frieder, P.C has been recognized as a leader in the field of medical negligence. Mia I. Frieder has lectured and published nationally and locally on the topics of medical malpractice and appeared on Fox 5 WAGA Atlanta.
  • Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for clients who have been injured.
  • We do our own work – the lawyers you meet are the lawyers that actually handle your case.

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Common Medical Malpractice Claims in Atlanta, Georgia

Medical malpractice is a type of tort – or wrongdoing – that can result in a lawsuit being brought against the negligent medical provider or hospital in Georgia. In a medical malpractice case, negligence is the failure of a health care practitioner to adhere to the proper standards of patient care, resulting in a patient injury or death. Medical malpractice can take many forms, as there are almost endless ways in which a physician can fall short of the medical industry’s standards of care. The most common examples include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Medication mistakes
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to inform
  • Failure to treat
  • Emergency room errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Serious infections
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse
  • Wrongful patient deaths

If you believe you have any type of medical malpractice case in Atlanta, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. These are complex cases that come with strict filing deadlines and legal requirements. An attorney can build a strong injury claim on your behalf from the very beginning by thoroughly investigating your case, gathering evidence, hiring expert witnesses and using aggressive litigation strategies. It is important to find an attorney with experience handling your type of medical negligence claim in Atlanta for optimal results.

Resolving All Types of Medical Negligence Claims

At Hilley & Frieder, P.C., our medical malpractice lawyers have been representing clients during medical malpractice claims in Georgia for more than 35 years. We have the experience to properly litigate your case. We handle a broad range of medical malpractice claims in Georgia, including:

  • Failure to diagnose breast cancer: If a doctor has misdiagnosed or failed to properly diagnose cancer, you have a right to seek damages for his or her serious errors.
  • Failure to remove objects: Failing to remove sponges, catheters, and other objects left in patients after surgery can lead to infection or worse.
  • Failure to diagnose a heart attack: Improperly diagnosing a heart attack can be life-threatening. If you or a loved one has had an improper diagnosis, do not hesitate to allow our team to protect your rights.
  • Traumatic brain injury: If a surgeon or doctor has inflicted further injury to you or your loved one’s brain, you may have an action for damages against him or her and the hospital.
  • Nerve damage: All too often, surgeons will unintentionally cut nerves or leave instruments behind that cause nerve damage. When this happens, seek guidance from a skilled medical malpractice lawyer in Atlanta.
  • Misdiagnosis: Misdiagnosing any disease can lead to serious injury and even death. Doctors should be held accountable for these negligent acts.
    Surgical errors: Errors in surgery are unacceptable. The stakes are high enough already without a doctor acting negligently.

These medical malpractice cases can be very complex and expensive. If you are seeking compensation from those responsible for your injuries, you need a firm with the ability to analyze all the issues involved and successfully represent your interests at trial.

Who’s Eligible to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Any patient in Georgia can file a medical malpractice claim if he or she has evidence of medical negligence and a related injury, illness or death. Malpractice lawsuits can be brought against physicians, surgeons, dentists, chiropractors, nurses, cardiologists, optometrists and many other types of health care practitioners in Atlanta. However, the injured patient must establish the grounds for a civil lawsuit. This type of claim can be filed if the following elements are more likely than not to be true:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship (a duty of care) existed. The medical professional must have owed you a duty of care – a legal and ethical obligation to treat you according to the standards of the medical community. You must have been a patient of the physician or hospital.
  2. A dereliction or departure from the duty of care. Evidence must demonstrate that the defendant fell short of the acceptable standard of care. The defendant must be guilty of an act or omission that an ordinary and prudent doctor would not have made in the same circumstances.
  3. Proximate or actual cause of your injury or illness. There must be a direct link between the treatment you received from the defendant and the injury or harm you are claiming. In other words, your injury would not have occurred but for the medical negligence of the defendant.
  4. Compensable losses suffered. You must have proof of specific losses associated with the defendant’s breach of the medical standard of care. These losses may include medical bills, disability, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Not all negative patient health outcomes are medical malpractice. If a practitioner failed to fulfill the duty of care, however, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your related injuries. To confirm whether you have an Atlanta medical malpractice lawsuit, consult with an attorney at Hilley & Frieder, P.C. We will review the details of your case and let you know if we believe it has merit. If so, we’ll explain the next steps – filing your lawsuit to demand justice and compensation from the at-fault health care provider.

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Who Is Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Determining liability – or financial responsibility – for your medical malpractice claim may take an investigation into who or what caused your injury. Your doctor may have directly caused your injury through negligence, for example, but if he or she was an employee of a hospital in Atlanta, you may have grounds to sue the hospital through the rule of vicarious liability. This law states that employers are accountable for the actions and mistakes of their on-duty employees.

Holding a hospital, emergency room, nursing home or health care facility liable for medical malpractice can result in greater financial compensation than a lawsuit against an individual doctor or practitioner. Hospitals generally have more insurance coverage and higher policy limits than doctors’ personal policies. If the negligent physician was working as an independent contractor, however, you may only be able to use a personal policy for coverage.

Some medical malpractice claims in Atlanta involve defective medical devices. If a defective product in the medical industry caused or contributed to your injury, you can hold a manufacturing company liable. It is also possible to hold two or more parties liable at the same time – such as an incompetent doctor and a product manufacturer. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you identify all of the defendants in your case for optimal results.

How Do You Prove a Medical Malpractice Claim?

In a medical malpractice case, the burden of proof rests with the injured patient (the plaintiff). This means if you file a lawsuit, it is up to you or your lawyer to prove the elements of your case. The burden of proof in a civil claim is a preponderance of the evidence, or clear and convincing evidence. This is lower than the requirement during a criminal case, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It can still be difficult to meet this burden, however. You may need evidence such as:

  • Your medical records and documents
  • X-rays and medical test results
  • Photographs and videos
  • Notes from doctors and nurses
  • Signed eyewitness statements
  • Testimony from medical experts

Medical expert testimony is often vital evidence for malpractice claims in Georgia. A medical expert can confirm that the defendant named in the case did not do what a reasonable and prudent doctor would have under the same or similar circumstances, for example. Working with a lawyer can make it easier to preserve, collect and present key evidence to support your medical malpractice lawsuit.

Potential Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim

Under Georgia law, you have the right to collect compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses following an act of medical malpractice. These may include economic damages, non-economic damages, and, in rare cases, punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to the financial losses you incur as a result of the malpractice. These may include lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and past and future medical care for your injuries. You cannot claim compensation for medical expenses related to the injury or illness that caused you to seek care for the first place; all of the damages you claim must result from the negligence of the medical professional.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to the intangible pain and suffering you endure due to the malpractice. These damages may include the following losses:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Chronic pain

Punitive Damages

Finally, the court may award you punitive damages if the defendant in your case exhibited willful misconduct, fraud, oppression, malice, wantonness, or conscious indifference to the consequences of his or her actions. The purpose of this compensation is to punish the defendant, rather than recover your losses. For example, a doctor who makes a mistake when interpreting your test results will not likely have to pay punitive damages.

However, if your doctor accurately interprets your test results and intentionally passes on false information to you about your condition, you may have grounds for punitive damages.

Caps on Damages in Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Georgia places a cap, or a limit, on the amount of punitive and non-economic damages you can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, the state does not impose a cap on the number of economic damages you can claim.

You cannot claim more than $1.5 million in total non-economic damages in a single claim, with no more than $350,000 total from all healthcare provider defendants and no more than $700,000 from all medical facility defendants.

For punitive damages, Georgia imposes a $250,000 cap for most medical malpractice lawsuits. However, if your case involves intentional harm or the use of drugs or alcohol, the court will not limit the punitive damages you claim.

Calculating Damages and Compensation in Medical Malpractice Claims

It is important to understand the value of your medical malpractice claim in Georgia. Hospitals and insurance companies are notorious for trying to devalue claims and offer as little as possible to injured patients of malpractice – even for serious and debilitating injuries. Before you rush into a fast settlement, consult with an attorney who will give you an honest and accurate portrayal of what your case is worth.

In a medical malpractice claim, financial compensation is calculated in two parts: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are added up using bills and receipts that document how much you spent or owe because of your injury or illness. This may include your medical bills, disability accommodations, home or vehicle modifications, lost wages, physical therapy, travel costs, out-of-pocket expenses, legal fees, and lifetime care. Your future economic losses will also be calculated and adjusted for inflation.

If you are entitled to noneconomic damages, these are harder to calculate. Two main equations are often used by juries to calculate noneconomic damages in injury claims. The first is the Multiplier Method. This equation multiples the total amount of the victim’s economic damages by a multiplier between 1 and 5, based on injury severity. The more substantial the injury, the higher the multiplier. The other method is the Per Diem Method. This multiplies a daily pain and suffering amount (often equivalent to the individual’s daily wage) by the number of days he or she is likely to experience pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering awards are typically left up to a jury to decide. Jurors do not have to use one of these equations – or any equation at all – to calculate pain and suffering damages. Determining a fair amount to pay a victim for intangible losses requires a careful look at how severely the incident has impacted his or her life. A calculation may look at your age, health, overall quality of living, degree of injury, psychological trauma and many other general damages to determine a fair amount.

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Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

All civil lawsuits must adhere to the statute of limitations, which is a rule that places a deadline by which you must file your claim. In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the negligence to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you do not file within this time period, the court will dismiss your lawsuit — and you will lose your chance at collecting the monetary damages you need to recover.

There are some exceptions to the two-year time limit:

  • If you did not know about the malpractice until a later date, the state will extend the statute of limitations up to five years after the actual malpractice occurred.
  • If you discover a foreign object in your body, such as a surgical instrument, you have one year from the date you discovered the foreign object to file your claim.

Georgia does not allow plaintiffs to file medical malpractice lawsuits more than five years after the date of the negligence. To ensure you meet your filing deadline, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer at Hilley & Frieder, P.C.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help You?

You’ve been through enough as the victim of malpractice. Allow our medical malpractice attorneys in Atlanta to take care of the legal process for you so that you can focus on healing. A lawyer can handle matters and issues connected to your case that require legal expertise, such as filling out confusing legal forms and dealing with insurance companies on your behalf.

A lawyer can also answer your questions and help you understand all of your legal options so that you can proceed with better peace of mind. The right medical malpractice lawyer can increase your odds of case success, negotiate for maximum compensation and resolve the matter in your best interests to help you move forward.

Contact Our Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney

Call (404) 233-6200 today to discuss your situation with an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney. You may also send us an email or contact us through our convenient online form. We offer a free consultation to discuss your options and only collect attorney fees out of any compensation we recover for you.