El Centro Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you are dealing with pain or illness, the last thing you want to experience is an unsuccessful medical treatment that makes the problem worse. When this happens, you may have experienced medical malpractice. To sue for malpractice, you need to demonstrate that your doctor either acted recklessly or negligently.
For a negligence claim, you must prove your doctor failed to provide appropriate care, such as missing a critical diagnosis or making a mistake during surgery. Recklessness claims are less common and usually apply to cases where a doctor was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while performing a procedure. An El Centro medical malpractice lawyer could help you determine whether you can file a personal injury claim.
What Should a Patient Know About Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
There are a few state-specific laws to be aware of when considering a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
A patient has three years from the date of injury or one year after discovering the injury to file a malpractice claim, whichever is sooner. For example, when a patient learns about a problem immediately after surgery, they have one year from the surgery date to sue. This timeline is slightly different for children.
Two other exceptions can extend a patient’s filing windows. First, when a doctor deliberately hides their mistake, there may be more time to file. This also applies when a doctor leaves a foreign object, such as a surgical tool, in their body.
Provider Notification Requirement
Before filing a malpractice lawsuit, a person needs to notify the doctor or healthcare provider that they intend to do so. They must provide this notice 90 days before filing and describe the legal grounds, the type of injuries they experienced, and the damages they are seeking.
State Cap on Non-Economic Damages
In a medical malpractice case, patients usually ask for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are costs such as lost wages and follow-up medical care required to correct the injury. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering and emotional distress.
There is no limit to the economic damages a patient may receive, but the state set a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages. Updates to the law will gradually increase this limit until it reaches $750,000. Your El Centro attorney can help you understand the most up-to-date limits that apply to your medical malpractice case.
What Is California’s Apology Law?
California law prevents patients from using apologies or statements of sympathy from their doctors as evidence in a malpractice lawsuit. This encourages doctors to admit to mistakes and correct them immediately. However, it could make proving fault more difficult, depending on their specific conversations with their doctor.
A lawyer in El Centro could determine whether this law applies to a medical malpractice claim and help identify other relevant evidence for a case. Sometimes, a doctor or hospital will offer an apology and a settlement offer to avoid a lawsuit. When a person receives this type of offer, they should discuss it with an attorney before accepting it.
Discuss Your Case With an El Centro Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice cases can be especially complicated. To understand your chances of filing a successful lawsuit, you should discuss the specific details of your case with a medical malpractice lawyer in El Centro.
Your attorney could determine whether you have a malpractice case, when you should file your lawsuit, and how to make a strong argument that you deserve compensation for your injuries. Schedule your free consultation with Walter Clark Legal Group today.