Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
Free Injury Lawyer Consultation
Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Atlanta
Medical malpractice happens when doctors or other healthcare workers do not take proper care or make big mistakes in treating their patients, which leads to harm or injury.
The consequences of medical malpractice can include serious harm to patients, like long-term health problems or even death. For doctors or hospitals, it can lead to legal cases, loss of reputation, and sometimes losing the right to practice medicine. Patients affected might need more treatment and can get money through legal claims to help with their recovery and losses.
Navigating medical malpractice claims can be challenging. That’s where Wetherington Law Firm’s expertise becomes invaluable. Our approach is centered on providing personalized legal support. We thoroughly assess each case, understanding the unique circumstances and impacts of medical errors.
Whether it’s a misdiagnosis, surgical mistake, or negligence in treatment, our team of medical malpractice lawyers is committed to advocating for your rights. We work tirelessly to secure fair compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional suffering. Schedule a free consultation with our medical malpractice attorney in Atlanta to get the help you deserve.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice can happen in many different ways. Here are some common types of medical malpractice cases:
1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
- What it is: This happens when a doctor doesn’t correctly figure out what’s wrong with a patient, or takes too long to do so.
- Why it’s serious: The wrong diagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment, or no treatment at all, making the patient sicker or even leading to death.
2. Surgical Errors
- What it is: Mistakes made during surgery, like operating on the wrong part of the body, leaving surgical tools inside the patient, or performing the wrong procedure.
- Why it’s serious: These errors can cause severe injury, infection, or other complications.
3. Medication Errors
- What it is: This could be giving the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or not noticing dangerous drug interactions.
- Why it’s serious: Incorrect medication can harm the body in many ways and can even be life-threatening.
4. Childbirth Injuries
- What it is: Mistakes made during the birth of a child, like not responding correctly to birth complications or mishandling the baby.
- Why it’s serious: These errors can lead to injuries for both the mother and the baby, some of which can be long-lasting.
5. Anesthesia Errors
- What it is: Mistakes with anesthesia, like giving too much, too little, or not monitoring the patient properly.
- Why it’s serious: These errors can result in brain damage, organ damage, or even death.
6. Failure to Treat
- What it is: When a doctor correctly diagnoses a condition but fails to treat it appropriately.
- Why it’s serious: Without proper treatment, a patient’s condition can worsen.
7. Lack of Informed Consent
- What it is: Not informing the patient about the risks of a procedure or treatment, or not getting their permission to proceed.
- Why it’s serious: Patients might have chosen a different path if they knew all the risks.
8. Emergency Room Errors
- What it is: Mistakes made in the high-pressure environment of an emergency room, like misreading charts or ignoring symptoms.
- Why it’s serious: These errors can delay critical treatment.
Understanding Medical Malpractice Law in Atlanta
Medical malpractice law in Atlanta, Georgia, is centered around ensuring that patients who suffer harm due to the negligence of healthcare providers can seek compensation. To establish a medical malpractice case, it must be demonstrated that the healthcare provider’s actions deviated from the standard of care expected in their field, and this negligence directly led to the patient’s injury.
Some key aspects of medical malpractice law in Atlanta include:
- Scope of Medical Malpractice: Common causes of medical malpractice include birth injuries, nursing home neglect or abuse, medication errors, emergency room mistakes, anesthesia errors, and lack of informed consent.
- Filing a Claim: In Georgia, an injured party must accompany their complaint with an affidavit from a competent expert witness stating at least one violation of the standard of care. This requirement is to ensure that only meritorious medical malpractice claims are filed.
- Statute of Limitations: Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice cases in Georgia from the date of the injury or death. However, the statute of repose sets a five-year limit from the negligent act or omission.
- Damages: Victims of medical malpractice can seek compensation for a variety of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and in cases of death, funeral and burial expenses.
- Role of Expert Witnesses: Expert witnesses, who are professionals in the same field as the healthcare provider being sued, play a crucial role in medical malpractice cases. They help establish the standard of care and whether negligence occurred.
- Legal Representation: Given the complexity of these cases, it’s important for victims to seek experienced legal representation. Medical malpractice lawyers in Atlanta are equipped to handle these cases, providing personalized attention and leveraging their expertise to advocate for their clients.
- Potential for Settlement or Trial: While many medical malpractice cases are resolved through negotiations or settlements, some may proceed to trial if a fair settlement is not reached.
Compensation and Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
In medical malpractice cases, compensation and damages are intended to cover the losses and harms suffered by the patient due to medical negligence. These damages are generally categorized into economic and non-economic damages:
- Economic Damages: These are tangible losses that the victim has incurred or will incur as a direct result of the malpractice. Economic damages are typically easier to quantify and include:
- Medical Expenses: Costs for past and future medical care, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost during the recovery period and potential future income loss if the victim’s earning capacity is affected.
- Additional Expenses: Other financial losses such as costs for transportation to medical appointments, home modifications, or assistive devices required due to the malpractice.
- Non-Economic Damages: These refer to intangible losses that are subjective and not as easily quantifiable. They include:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the malpractice.
- Scarring or Disfigurement: If the malpractice results in physical changes that affect the victim’s appearance.
- Loss of Love, Companionship, and Affection: In cases of death, family members may seek damages for the loss of relationship with the victim.
- Emotional Distress: Compensation for psychological impact such as anxiety, depression, or trauma resulting from the malpractice.
In some jurisdictions, there may be caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. These caps are meant to limit the financial liability of healthcare providers and insurers but can vary significantly between states.
FAQs About Medical Malpractice Claims in Atlanta
What qualifies as medical malpractice in Atlanta?
In Atlanta, as in other parts of Georgia, medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to meet the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in patient harm or injury. To qualify as medical malpractice, several key elements must be present:
- Violation of Standard of Care: Healthcare professionals are expected to adhere to certain standards that represent what another competent professional would do in a similar situation. If these standards are not met, it may constitute negligence.
- Injury Caused by Negligence: It must be demonstrated that the patient suffered an injury that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.
- Significant Damage: For a medical malpractice claim to be viable, the patient must show that the injury resulted in significant harm. This can include enduring hardship, suffering, pain, considerable medical bills, and loss of income.
Common examples of situations that may qualify as medical malpractice include, but are not limited to:
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: Leading to incorrect or delayed treatment and worsening of the patient’s condition.
- Surgical Errors: Such as operating on the wrong site or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient’s body.
- Medication Errors: Including prescribing the wrong medication or dosage.
- Birth Injuries: Injuries to the baby or mother due to negligence during childbirth.
- Failure to Treat: Not providing the appropriate treatment or follow-up.
- Hospital Negligence: Involving errors or negligence by hospital staff.
It’s important to note that not every medical error constitutes malpractice. The key is whether the healthcare provider’s actions deviated from the standard of care and caused significant harm to the patient.
What evidence is required to prove medical malpractice?
To prove medical malpractice, various types of evidence are typically required to establish that a healthcare provider’s negligence directly caused harm to the patient. The key pieces of evidence include:
- Medical Records: These are crucial in any medical malpractice case. They provide a detailed account of the patient’s treatment, including diagnoses, procedures performed, medications prescribed, and notes from healthcare providers.
- Expert Testimony: Expert witnesses, usually medical professionals in the same field as the defendant, are essential. They can help establish the standard of care expected, explain how the defendant deviated from this standard, and illustrate how this deviation caused the patient’s injury.
- Patient’s Testimony and Personal Medical History: The patient’s account of their experiences, symptoms, and the impact of the alleged malpractice on their life is important. Additionally, the patient’s medical history prior to the alleged malpractice incident can provide context for their current condition.
- Witness Testimony: This may include testimony from other healthcare providers, family members, or anyone who can provide relevant information about the patient’s health condition and the care they received.
- Imaging and Lab Results: X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, lab reports, and other diagnostic tests can demonstrate the patient’s condition both before and after the alleged malpractice.
- Documentation of Damages: Evidence of the damages suffered, such as bills for medical treatment, proof of lost wages, and records of other expenses related to the injury, are necessary to establish the financial impact of the malpractice.
- Autopsy Reports: In cases where the patient died, an autopsy report can be critical in determining the cause of death and whether it was related to the alleged malpractice.
Who can be held liable in a medical malpractice case?
In a medical malpractice case, several parties can potentially be held liable, depending on the circumstances of the case:
- Doctors: This is the most common group of professionals sued in medical malpractice cases. A doctor can be liable if their actions or inactions deviate from the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in harm to the patient.
- Nurses and Medical Staff: Nurses and other medical staff can also be held liable if their negligence contributes to patient harm. This includes errors in administering medication, failing to properly monitor a patient’s condition, or not following protocols.
- Hospitals and Medical Facilities: Hospitals can be held liable for the actions of their employees under the legal principle of “vicarious liability.” They can also be directly liable for issues like inadequate staffing, poor training, or failure to maintain equipment.
- Pharmacists: In cases involving medication errors, pharmacists can be held liable if they dispense the wrong medication or dosage.
- Specialists and Consultants: If a specialist or consultant provides negligent advice or treatment, they can be held accountable.
- Anesthesiologists: Given the high risk associated with anesthesia, anesthesiologists are often involved in malpractice claims related to anesthesia errors.
- Laboratories and Testing Personnel: Errors in laboratory tests, such as misreading test results or failing to communicate results properly, can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, for which the lab personnel might be held liable.
How does informed consent affect a medical malpractice claim?
Informed consent plays a crucial role in medical malpractice claims. It refers to the process by which a healthcare provider educates a patient about the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives of a proposed medical procedure or treatment, and the patient then gives their voluntary agreement to proceed.
- Impact on Medical Malpractice Claims: If a healthcare provider fails to obtain informed consent from a patient before performing a procedure or treatment, and the patient subsequently suffers an injury, the lack of informed consent can be a basis for a medical malpractice claim. This is particularly the case if the patient would have declined the procedure or treatment had they been fully informed of the risks.
- Requirements for Valid Informed Consent: For informed consent to be valid, it must include:
- Adequate Information: The patient must be given comprehensive information about their condition, the proposed treatment or procedure, the potential risks and benefits, and alternative treatments or procedures, including the option of doing nothing.
- Understanding and Voluntariness: The patient must understand the information provided and must voluntarily agree to the proposed course of action without coercion.
- Exceptions to Informed Consent: There are exceptions where informed consent is not required, such as in emergency situations where the patient is unable to give consent and immediate treatment is necessary to prevent serious harm or death.
- Role in a Malpractice Lawsuit: In a malpractice lawsuit, if it is proved that informed consent was not properly obtained, the healthcare provider may be liable for any harm that resulted from the treatment or procedure, even if the treatment or procedure was performed correctly. The key issue often centers on whether the patient was fully informed about the risks and alternatives.
- Documenting Informed Consent: Proper documentation of informed consent is important. This typically involves having the patient sign a consent form after they have been given all necessary information and have had the opportunity to ask questions.
Why Choose Wetherington Law Firm for Your Medical Malpractice Needs
Expertise in Medical Malpractice Law: At Wetherington Law Firm, we specialize in medical malpractice law, giving us a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances involved. Our dedicated team keeps abreast of the latest legal developments in this field to provide our clients with informed and effective representation.
Proven Track Record: Our history of successful outcomes speaks volumes about our capability and commitment. We have secured significant compensation for clients who have suffered due to medical negligence, showcasing our ability to handle complex cases with the diligence and expertise they require.
Personalized Attention: We believe every case is unique and deserves individualized attention. Our attorneys invest time in understanding your specific situation and tailoring our approach to meet your needs. This personalized strategy ensures that we are aligned with your goals and expectations.
Client-Centered Approach: Our firm is built on the foundation of client satisfaction. We prioritize clear and constant communication, keeping you informed throughout the legal process. We’re committed to being accessible and responsive, ensuring you feel supported at every step.
Compassionate Representation: We understand that dealing with the aftermath of medical malpractice can be incredibly challenging. Our team approaches each case with empathy and sensitivity, aiming to alleviate your burden while fiercely advocating for your rights.
Access to Resources: We have access to a network of medical experts and investigators who can provide crucial insights and evidence for your case. This multidisciplinary approach enhances the robustness of our legal strategies.
No Win, No Fee Commitment: Understanding the financial strain legal proceedings can impose, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing unless we win your case, ensuring our services are accessible to those who need them most.
Ethical and Honest Legal Advice: Integrity is at the heart of our practice. We provide honest, straightforward legal advice, setting realistic expectations and guiding you through your options without overpromising outcomes.
Community Recognition and Trust: Our firm is recognized in the community for our legal excellence and ethical practice. We have earned the trust of countless clients through our unwavering commitment to justice and client welfare.
Ready to Advocate for You: At Wetherington Law Firm, we are not just your attorneys; we are your advocates, allies, and guides in the pursuit of justice. We are ready to leverage our expertise, resources, and passion to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your medical malpractice case. Book a free consultation with our attorneys today!