Common Questions

Medical Malpractice FAQ

Answers From an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Q: How do I prove my medical malpractice case? 
Q: Once my case has been settled, can I reopen it? 
Q: Will my medical malpractice case go to trial? 
Q: If I have been misdiagnosed, can I sue for malpractice? 
Q: How do they determine the amount of my settlement? 
Q: What does the saying, "preponderance of evidence" mean? 
Q: How long do I have to file my medical malpractice lawsuit? 
Q: What does contributory negligence mean? 
Q: What if my doctor failed to get my consent? 
Q: My doctor is claiming that my injury was a complication. Can I still file for malpractice?

How do I prove my medical malpractice case? 
In order to win a medical malpractice case, you cannot simply show that you experienced a bad medical result, rather you must be able to prove that no other doctor would have made the same mistake that your doctor did. In order to prove this you will need an expert medical testimony who can attest that you did no receive reasonable care. Once you have established that your medical care provided acted out of negligence you must correlate that negligence with your injury. A qualified malpractice attorney will be able to help you prove that your injuries followed as a direct result of your doctor's negligence. If the injury or death however, was caused by an unrelated factor besides negligence, the doctor will not be held liable.

Once my case has been settled, can I reopen it? 
Typically, no. Once a case settles they will usually have the claimant sign a form of release which will inhibit you from ever being able to pursue compensation for that claim in the future. Speak with Attorney Tolson at the firm if you are thinking about visiting an old claim and find out if it is possible.

Will my medical malpractice case go to trial? 
With most medical malpractice cases, there is thorough investigation in order to prove liability. These types of cases can become brutally drawn out and they are usually more difficult to resolve than the average personal injury claim. Your malpractice claim will most likely have to be resolved in trial where a judge will decide the verdict.

If I have been misdiagnosed, can I sue for malpractice? 
I cannot say for certain if your misdiagnosis will be enough grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. With medicine there is still minimal room for trial and error and doctors may not always diagnose you right the first time. They must however, provide you with the standard level of health care that is set forth by the state regulations. If we are able to prove that your doctor did not provide reasonable care that another doctor would have provided in that situation, then we may have a case. To discuss the specifics of your case with Attorney Tolson, schedule a free malpractice case evaluation today!

How do they determine the amount of my settlement? 
Unfortunately, there is no "cookie cutter" answer to this question because every case is so unique. In fact, there is no minimum or maximum award amount that you are able to receive. When evaluating your case, the judge will look at several different factors and form your claim award based on those findings. Generally the court will take into account how your injury affects your earning capacity, how the injury inhibits your life functions, the severity of your injuries, past-present-and future medical expenses, your pain and suffering, and any other financial or economic damages that the injury has caused you. To find out an exact award estimate for your case, contact Attorney Tolson and tell her the specific details of your case.

What does the saying, "preponderance of evidence" mean? 
When deciding the verdict of a medical malpractice case, the judge will weigh the evidence that each party brought forth. They will then make their verdict based on who has the more convincing evidence. If your proof is more substantial and probable, then it will hold greater weight with them and probably win you the case.

How long do I have to file my medical malpractice lawsuit? 
Each state has a different time period in which the victim must file their claim; this is called a statute of limitations. In the state of Georgia, the general statute of limitations for a malpractice claim is two years from the time the injury was sustained. If the symptoms did not arise right away, then the court will go based on a reasonable amount of time that the injury should have been discovered. After the designated time period is over, you will no longer have a right to pursue legal action or compensation. Some cases are taken as exceptions to this rule, so speak to our legal team today and file your claim before it is too late.

What does contributory negligence mean? 
This is used to describe cases in which the patient was partially at fault for their injuries. If a doctor prescribes a certain treatment or recommended care plan for you to follow as the patient, and you fail to perform these duties, then you contributed to the negligence in the case. For example, if your doctor told you to come in and have a cancer screening in the next six months and you neglect to do so and are diagnosed with cancer later on, then you could be accused of contributory negligence if you try to sue for failure-to-diagnose.

What if my doctor failed to get my consent? 
Before performing any medical procedure, your doctor is required to go over all the possible side effects or dangers of the procedure. This is referred to as "informed consent," it means that the patient is aware of all the possible consequences pertaining to the procedure. If the doctor fails to get your informed consent then you may be have a valid medical malpractice case against them. There are however, certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are unconscious and your family or emergency contact cannot be reached, then they make an informed decision and take action on your behalf.

My doctor is claiming that my injury was a complication. Can I still file for malpractice? 
This can be one of many ways that doctors and hospitals attempt to circumvent liability. By calling a medical incident a "complication" rather than a "mistake," it takes away any fault on behalf of the hospital and its staff. Some side effects of surgery are the result of complications, but many others were the result of blatant medical errors. In fact, medical malpractice statistics may even be much lower than they actually are due to hospitals reporting malpractice as "complication" instead. Understanding whether your incident was the result of malpractice or complication is best determined by an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney from our firm after investigation of the evidence. However, it may raise suspicion if your doctor did not warn you of any possible complications before your procedure.

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