San Diego Malpractice Attorneys

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FAQs

How do you prove a medical malpractice claim?
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice and how does it affect my case?
Can I only sue my doctor for my injuries caused by medical negligence?
Can I sue a doctor for malpractice even though my case did not involve a surgery?
What are some types of medical malpractice and medical negligence?
How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
What damages can I recover in my medical malpractice lawsuit?
What is MICRA and how does it affect my case?
What is a settlement?
What are the benefits of a medical malpractice settlement as opposed to a trial in court?
I’m not sure if I have a medical malpractice claim. What should I do?
What is a catastrophic injury?

 

How do you prove a medical malpractice claim?

To establish liability and recover damages for medical malpractice, the victim must demonstrate three things:

  1. The care provided to the victim fell below the standard of care;
  2. The injury to the victim was caused by the health care provider; and
  3. The victim was injured.

While the basis of a medical malpractice claim seems relatively straightforward and simple, the reality is that bringing a successful claim for medical malpractice is anything but simple. Each case requires a comprehensive review of the victim’s medical chart, review by medical experts, understanding of the statute of limitations and MICRA as well as handling the overall litigation process.

 

What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice and how does it affect my case?

Every state has a time limit within which a plaintiff must file a claim in court or lose their right to sue forever. The rule for medical malpractice cases in California is that the complaint must be filed within three years from the date of injury or one year from the date a reasonable person should have discovered the malpractice or injury, whichever is sooner. While the rule is simply stated, the interpretation of the rule can be very complex and confusing. Additionally, there are a number of exceptions to the rule, such as when fraud is involved. Thus, a patient who suspects that he or she has a claim for medical malpractice should consult an attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve their claim.

 

Can I only sue my doctor for my injuries caused by medical negligence?

No. Claims for medical malpractice in California may be made against any health care provider including, but not limited to, physicians, surgeons, nurses, hospitals, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, pathologists, lab technicians, dentists, and dental assistants. In short, any health care provider or health care facility may be a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

 

Can I sue a doctor for malpractice even though my case did not involve a surgery?

Yes. Some of the most common medical malpractice cases involve a failure to diagnose a serious illness, such as cancer. Further, a malpractice claim can be based on a doctor’s failure to take an adequate history, monitor a patient’s progress, failure to prescribe appropriate medication, and countless other acts or omissions which can occur in the course of a patient’s treatment.

 

What are some types of medical malpractice and medical negligence?

Medication errors, birth injuries, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, nursing errors, anesthesia errors, postoperative infection, cancer misdiagnosis, elder abuse, and prescription errors are just some examples of how a medical malpractice claim may arise.

 

How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?

Without a complete investigation and evaluation of medical records, bills and an analysis of the extent of physical and emotional injury, it is impossible to determine what a malpractice claim may be worth. Typically, with medical malpractice claims, the value of the case is dependent upon the extent of the injury which resulted from the health care provider’s misconduct.

 

What damages can I recover in my medical malpractice lawsuit?

In California, a Plaintiff may recover “special damages” and “general damages.” Special damages refer to all out of pocket expenses incurred (or to be incurred) as a result of the medical negligence. Special damages refer to medical treatment costs, surgery, therapy, and cost of prescriptions as well as lost wages and loss of future earnings. General damages refer to non-economic damages for such things as pain and suffering, depression, loss of normal activities, lifestyle changes, scarring and disfigurement, and embarrassment.

 

What is MICRA and how does it affect my case?

In 1975, California enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA for short. The greatest impact that MICRA has had for victims of medical malpractice is that it caps a victim’s recovery for non-economic damages at $250,000. Therefore, no matter how badly a person is injured as a result of a health care provider’s negligence, the victim may only recover $250,000 for non-economic damages. However, MICRA does not limit the amount of economic (or special) damages that you may recover through your medical malpractice claim.

 

What is a settlement?

In a medical malpractice case, a settlement is an out-of-court agreement made by both parties to resolve a case. The defendant (health care provider) will agree to pay the plaintiff (injured party) a specific amount of money in order to avoid a civil court trial. A settlement will end a case and the plaintiff may take no further action against the defendant.

 

What are the benefits of a medical malpractice settlement as opposed to a trial in court?

Although the particular advantages and disadvantages of a medical malpractice settlement will vary on a case by case basis, a settlement typically offers both parties the advantage of avoiding a long, drawn out and expensive court trial. The injured patient typically receives financial compensation faster if a settlement is reached and the possibility of losing the case at trial is avoided as well.

 

I’m not sure if I have a medical malpractice claim. What should I do?

Contact the attorneys at Miller & James, LLP to help you assess whether you have a claim for medical malpractice. Claims for medical malpractice are often technical and complex. In addition, if a victim waits too long, the statute of limitations may prevent a claim from being brought at all. An attorney will be able to address the matter and assist you in properly filing your claim as well as overseeing a complete investigation into your case to determine the best way to proceed in protecting your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

 

What is a catastrophic injury?

A catastrophic injury is a severe injury that is typically debilitating, permanent and life altering to both the victim and their family. For individuals who have suffered a catastrophic injury, it is likely that the victim will require multiple surgeries, physical and/or psychological therapy, rehabilitative care, and countless other medical treatments. Oftentimes, the victim faces a long and painful period of rehabilitation while some victims never fully recover from their injuries.

 

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

 

Miller & James, LLP are San Diego attorneys specializing in areas including but not limited to: Wrongful DeathMedical Mistakes | Birth injury | Brain injury | Failure to diagnose | Medication errors | Hospital error | Nursing negligence | Cosmetic surgery errors | Surgical error | Catastrophic Injury

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