Frequently Asked Questions
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a healthcare provider in which care provided deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error.
What is the Standard of Care?
In medical malpractice, the standard of care is based on how a similarly qualified and reasonably trained practitioner would have performed under similar circumstances.
What is Negligence?
Negligence occurs when a practitioner's conduct, short of intentional or reckless action, is beneath the standard of care and results in unreasonable injury.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations sets forth the maximum amount of time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. A medical malpractice action for injury or death must be brought within one year from the date the claimant discovered the negligent act, but no more than three years from the date of injury.
Actions by or on behalf of minors must be brought within three years from the date of the negligent act, unless the child is under the age of six, in which case the action must be commenced within three years or prior to the child's eighth birthday, whichever provides the longer time period.
Have I Waived My Rights Because I Signed A Consent Form?
This question is asked by numerous people. Health care providers are not given a license to commit malpractice simply because a consent form was filled out by a patient. Despite the fact that the execution of a characteristic consent form specifies acknowledgement of the stated risks and complications in conjunction with a given treatment or operation, it doesn’t relieve a health care provider from their responsibility of meeting the standard of care in association with such treatment or operations.
Can I Sue For What "Might Have Happened" As A Consequence of Medical Error?
While it is distressing to learn that a medical procedure could have resulted in severe injury or death, it is generally not feasible to sue for "what might have happened," especially if there was no malpractice involved.
What Is The First Step A Medical Malpractice Attorney Would Take In Pursuing A Medical Malpractice Claim?
The first step in deciding whether to pursue a medical malpractice case is to determine whether or not you have been the victim of medical malpractice. Even though not every unfortunate outcome is the result of medical malpractice, if you feel that something is not right, you should react accordingly and consult a qualified attorney knowledgeable of the medical field to evaluate your case. This process generally involves attaining and evaluating medical records and other relevant materials. If it appears that the case is strong enough, the next step in the process involves giving written notification of the claims to the parties suspected to be responsible for medical malpractice.
Why Is A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Needed For Medical Mistakes?
Medical Malpractice is a doctor’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill that a physician or surgeon of the same medical specialty would use under similar circumstances. A lawyer that knows about medical problems and medical laws is needed to help a claim reach the courts in the fastest, accurate, and most complete way possible. A medical malpractice lawyer will work with the hospital system and medical law system to find out what your rights and legal options are in order to help you secure a favorable outcome for your lawsuit.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire an Attorney?
In a medical malpractice, wrongful death, or other personal injury cases, most attorneys work on a "contingency fee" basis. This means that the attorney will not be paid for their service unless your lawsuit is successful or it is favorably settled out of court.
How Long Will It Take to Prosecute my Case?
Properly handled cases are not resolved very often within a couple of months. To properly handle and prepare a case takes time and, inasmuch as each case is different, the amount of time required varies significantly from a matter of months to several years.
What is my Case Worth?
Many people hold misconceptions about what their case is worth. Often this is because we hear of other people receiving million dollar settlements, and assume that each medical malpractice and personal injury case has the potential to be worth large sums of money. This is simply not true, and predicting the value of your case is not an exact science, and turns on several factors. How well documented your injury is, your prior medical history, the degree of your pain and suffering, and the income you have lost due to your injury are some of factors that help to determine the aggregate value of your case.
What is MICRA?
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (or MICRA) was a statute passed by the California legislature in 1975 intended to lower medical malpractice liability insurance premiums for healthcare providers by decreasing their potential tort liability. While most of MICRA's provisions are still in effect in California, perhaps the most relevant one to your potential case is the damage cap, which fixed the maximum a plaintiff can collect in non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.) at $250,000.