When you receive medical treatment, you have the right to assume that your medical provider will do everything possible to ensure your health and safety. Unfortunately, medical mistakes that result from malpractice are an all too common occurrence in the U.S. and can result in life-altering injuries or wrongful death.
There is no excuse when a doctor or medical provider fails to uphold a standard of care. If you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent provider. Our Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers are standing by ready to review your case for free and pursue justice and compensation on your behalf.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice describes the mistakes and errors which can result from the negligence of doctors, medical practitioners or other health care workers. California defines “professional negligence” when it comes to medical care as:
- A negligent act or omission of an act
- When rendering medical services
- Which results in personal injury or wrongful death
- When the services provided are within the scope of services for which the practitioner is licensed without restrictions posed by the hospital or accrediting body
When a healthcare worker fails to provide the standard of care that is outlined by the law of the state in which they practice medicine, those who are adversely affected have a right to seek legal recourse and compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits.
A “standard of care” is determined by the medical community and ensures that all patients receive the same level of treatment. Medical malpractice occurs when a provider fails to uphold a standard of care that any other reasonable medical professional would have upheld in that situation.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can take on a number of forms, each of which entails its own elements of proof and evidence necessary to obtain legal remedy. Some of the most common types of cases involve:
- Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis
- Surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to accurately interpret tests
- Failure to review patient’s medical history
- Birth injuries
- Hospital and emergency room malpractice
- Postoperative negligence
- Medication errors
Injuries that result from medical negligence can be life-altering. These include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
When the spinal cord is injured, it could be the result of medical negligence or defective medical products. For example, if the patient is not properly transported to the hospital or is improperly moved during surgery, injuries can be exacerbated and become lifetime disabilities. When spinal cord injuries shift to medical malpractice issues, the best resource is a qualified personal injury attorney.
Birth injuries come in a variety of forms. Many of these are the result of a doctor or other health care worker failing to monitor or oversee the birth process in a way that would prevent such injuries from occurring. For this reason, medical malpractice suits involving birth injuries often can be addressed in court with satisfactory results.
Cerebral palsy describes the condition of brain damage that results in a number of physical losses and deficiencies from a very early age. Often cerebral palsy is due to a loss of oxygen to the brain because of trauma while in the womb or experienced as a baby or toddler. When the cause of the trauma can be traced back to a doctor of health care worker’s negligence, the law steps in to help compensate.
Plastic Surgery Errors
Plastic surgery has become quite a common practice, but much like other forms of surgery, things can go wrong – often with devastating consequences. A plastic surgery error doesn’t have to be a complete injustice, however. Victims can turn to the courts and malpractice attorneys o ensure that they are adequately compensated for the losses they experience.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Liable Parties
Medical malpractice laws apply to all healthcare providers and facilities that are licensed by the state of California, including:
- Psychologists or mental health professionals
If you believe that you were a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. Your attorney will work hard on your behalf to gather evidence and establish that the standard of care owed to you was not upheld with the testimony of at least one expert eyewitness.
Additionally, in order to be successful in your lawsuit, the elements of professional negligence and malpractice must be shown:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care or “standard of care” in California.
- The defendant breached this duty.
- The breach of duty resulted in your injuries.
- You sustained injuries and damages as the result of this breach.
Types of Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Claims
The types of damages and compensation you receive following a medical malpractice lawsuit will depend on the severity of your injuries and the extent of negligence that was shown. In general, you may be entitled to economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include those that have a set dollar amount, while non-economic damages are more subjective and are tied to the emotional distress and life impact the injury had on the victim. California Civil Code 3333.2 puts a cap on non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits. As of January 1, 2023, non-economic damages are capped at:
- $350,000 for non-fatality cases, and each new year this cap increases by $40,000 until it reaches $750,000
- $500,000 for wrongful death cases, and each new year this cap increases by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of use of an organ or limb
Getting the Legal Counsel You Need
If you’ve been the victim of a doctor or health care worker who has not delivered the standard of care that is fitting for your particular condition, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact Shegerian & Associates today to discuss the details of your case with our medical malpractice attorney. We are standing by to offer the competent legal counsel you need.