Long Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice describes any situation in which a doctor or healthcare professional causes harm to a patient. Physicians take an oath to do no harm, and when they violate this oath due to negligence, carelessness, or thoughtless treatments, patients can suffer serious effects and even life-threatening complications. Southern California residents should understand their rights and what constitutes medical malpractice. If you or somebody you love was harmed by a doctor, physician, or other healthcare professional, consult a Long Beach medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about your available legal options.
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medicine is an inherently uncertain field, and honest mistakes happen, even when physicians exercise the utmost care and account for every reasonable possibility. The deciding factor between malpractice and an unsuccessful procedure is essentially whether or not another reasonable, equally-skilled person in the same position would have taken the same actions. Doctors assess patients by analyzing their symptoms and creating a list of possible diagnoses. The medical community recognizes certain accepted practices for reaching accurate diagnoses and providing treatment. When doctors stray from accepted practices without justification, they are committing malpractice.
If you think you have a malpractice claim, consider whether or not your situation meets the following criteria:
- The plaintiff had an official doctor-patient relationship with the defendant. You cannot sue for medical advice given offhandedly, and you may only sue health care professionals that directly provided treatment.
- The defendant was negligent in some way. Physician or healthcare professional negligence can take many forms, and the plaintiff will have to show the court how the defendant satisfied this requirement.
- The doctor’s negligence caused injury or illness. Some medical conditions are complex and many malpractice cases involve patients who were already injured or sick. Plaintiffs must prove that the doctor’s negligence and not the original health problem caused the injury or illness in question.
- Actual injuries and/or damages occurred. You cannot sue if you suffered no harm, even if the doctor made a mistake. Plaintiffs must be able to prove they suffered physical pain, emotional distress, incurred additional medical costs, and/or lost wages due to the defendant’s actions.
If your situation satisfies these criteria, you should speak to a Long Beach personal injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice as soon as you are able. Your attorney will help you meet the filing deadlines with the court and help you build your case. One of the most important aspects of your case is determining the manner in which the defendant was negligent.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Most medical malpractice cases involve one or more of the following types of healthcare professional negligence:
- Delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. Doctors must make every effort to quickly and accurately assess their patients’ conditions. Any unreasonable delays can exacerbate a dangerous medical condition or delay life-saving treatments.
- Improper treatment. Doctors must follow accepted medical community standards. A defendant is guilty of malpractice if he or she treated a patient in a manner no other reasonable doctor would.
- Informed consent violations. Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their health care and treatments. Doctors must fully inform their patients of all the risk associated with a proposed treatment so patients can make educated decisions about their health care. Misleading patients or failing to inform them of the associated risks of a procedure or treatment plan can have disastrous results.
Your Long Beach medical malpractice attorney will assess the facts of your case and consult with experts in the medical field who may testify on your behalf as expert witnesses. It’s also vital for plaintiffs to remember that most medical malpractice claims must submit to review panels, and the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is much narrower than other lawsuits – sometimes as short as six months. Additionally, many states limit the amount of money plaintiffs may receive in medical malpractice case awards. California limits non-economic damages to $250,000.
Free Consultation with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Long Beach, CA
Medical malpractice cases are often time-consuming and very complex, so you’ll want to consult the best malpractice attorney to handle your case. The law office of Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP is here to help. Contact us to speak with a member of our legal team and schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your medical malpractice case.