Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer

Experienced Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Millions of people suffer injury at the hands of medical or healthcare providers every year. If your healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, hospital) failed to adhere to care standards, resulting in your injury, you should fight for justice. We’re proud to be the premier medical malpractice law firm in Georgia. You can count on us to get you the compensation that you’re entitled to.

How to Pick an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

The medical malpractice lawyers at DRS Law have the experience and expertise to handle your case. Because medical malpractice cases often involve complicated medical conditions and a complex framework of Georgia laws, you need a lawyer with a track record of success in medical malpractice cases and a reputation as a skilled and effective advocatefor victims.

Another important factor to consider when searching for an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer is the lawyer’s communication style. Your medical malpractice case is likely to be a stressful and emotional time, and it’s important to have a compassionate and persuasive advocate in your corner.

It is also important to understand that medical malpractice cases in Georgia can be complex and time-consuming. The Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at DRS Law stand ready to guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and the options available to you. We will thoroughly review your medical records, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to build a strong case on your behalf.

In some cases, we may be able to negotiate a settlement with the healthcare provider or their insurance company. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial.

It’s important to remember that you only have two years from the date of the malpractice to file a medical malpractice case in Georgia. The Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at DRS Law can advise you on the statute of limitations for your case and help you understand the deadlines for filing a claim.

What is Medical Malpractice in Georgia?

Medical malpractice cases in Georgia are a specific type of personal injury claim in which the damages result from an injury to a plaintiff arising out of health, treatment, or care provided by an authorized healthcare professional. O.C.G.A § 9-3-70. Like other personal injury claims, which require proof of negligence by the at-fault party, a plaintiff must show “professional negligence” by the healthcare professional to recover damages in a Georgia medical malpractice case.

Proving that a healthcare provider committed “professional negligence” requires two elements. First, you must show that the healthcare provider deviated from the applicable standard of care. The standard of care is the baseline of care or treatment that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would have provided in the same or similar circumstances. Second, you must prove that the breach of the standard of care caused your injuries.

Who Is Responsible In A Georgia Medical Malpractice Case?

In a Georgia medical malpractice case, many medical professionals and facilities can be held liable. A plaintiff may bring medical practice claims against an individual practitioner and/or a health facility. Individual practitioners may be responsible if they rendered “health, medical, dental, or surgical service, diagnosis, prescription, treatment, or care” to the patient. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-70. This could include medical malpractice claims against:

  • a physician
  • an osteopath
  • a podiatrist
  • a chiropractor
  • a dentist
  • an optometrist
  • a physicians assistant
  • a nurse practitioner
  • other health care practitioners

Additionally, Georgia permits medical malpractice claims against the following entities:

  • Public hospitals
  • Private hospitals
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Health clinics, such as urgent-care or walk-in clinics
  • Hospital authorities
  • Home health agencies

In essence, any healthcare provider that is licensed or certified to perform treatment in Georgia or to provide medical services may be held liable for medical malpractice in Georgia. There are no restrictions as long as a medical provider is properly license or certified.

Suing For Medical Malpractice in Atlanta, Georgia?

There are several important things to know about your Georgia medical malpractice case:

Statute of Limitations

An injured party only has two years from the date of discovery of the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia. O.C.G.A § 9-3-71(a). This time period is known as the “statute of limitation.” Once you know or should know that you were harmed due to medical negligence, the statute-of-limitation clock starts running and you have two years to file your case.

The two-year statute of limitation for Georgia medical malpractice cases does not apply, however, where a foreign object has been left in a patient’s body. In such a case, an action shall be brought within one year after the negligent or wrongful act or omission was discovered. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-72. For example, if a plaintiff discovered that a sponge was wrongfully left inside her body three years after a surgery, she would have one year to file from the date of discovery of the sponge.

There are also special rules regarding the statute of limitation in cases involving minors or persons with intellectual disabilities or mental illness. If a minor is under five years old at the time of the medical malpractice, he will have two years from his fifth birthday to file the medical malpractice lawsuit. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-73 (b). If the minor over five years old, the two-year statute of limitations begins running from the date of discovery of the malpractice as it would in other medical malpractice cases. Similarly, medical malpractice cases involving injuries to persons with intellectual disabilities and mental illness are subject to the standard two-year statute of limitation.

Statute of Repose

In Georgia, there is also a catch-all filing deadline known as the “statute of repose.” This requires that all medical malpractice lawsuits be filed within five years from the date on which the alleged negligent act or omission is said to have occurred. O.C.G.A § 9-3-71 (b). Once five years have passed after the alleged malpractice was committed, you no longer have a legal right to file a medical malpractice case in Georgia. This is true even if you did not discover that you were harmed by malpractice during the five year period.

Expert Affidavit for Georgia Medical Malpractice Cases

In Georgia medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff is required to file an expert affidavit with the complaint. The expert affidavit must set forth at least one negligent act or omission claimed to exist and the factual basis for each such claim. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1. If a plaintiff fails to file an expert affidavit or files a defective affidavit, the complaint may be subject to dismissal.

For the affidavit to be valid, the expert witness must be “qualified” to opine on the applicable standard of care. The qualification requirements for an expert witness in a Georgia medical malpractice case are as follows:

At the time of the alleged act or omission, the expert: 1) must have been a licensed healthcare professional in his/her state (not necessarily Georgia) and 2) must have had actual professional knowledge or experience in the area of practice or specialty in which the opinion is to be given. An expert satisfies the knowledge/experience prong if she was regularly engaged in either the active practice of such specialty or the teaching of her profession/specialty for at least three of the past five years. O.C.G.A. § 24-7-702

To summarize, before filing a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must obtain an affidavit from a healthcare provider “blessing” the lawsuit and supporting the plaintiff’s theories of liability against the defendant medical providers. For the affidavit to be valid, the supporting expert must have been practicing or teaching in the applicable healthcare specialty for at least three of the last five years. For example, in a case involving a failure by a primary care physician to diagnose a heart attack, the plaintiff is required to file an affidavit with the complaint from a primary care physician who was regularly practicing or teaching primary care medicine for three of the last five years from the date of the misdiagnosis.

Pre-suit Notice

In many states, plaintiffs are required to provide medical malpractice defendants with notice of their claim before filing a medical malpractice action. Georgia, however, does not require that plaintiffs formally send “pre-suit notice” to defendant providers before filing a medical malpractice action. A Georgia medical malpractice case, therefore, commences when you file your lawsuit in the appropriate court. But, as mentioned above, a plaintiff cannot file a medical malpractice action in Georgia unless he has obtained a valid expert affidavit supporting his case.

Apportionment of Fault

Once a medical malpractice action is filed against the appropriate defendants, Georgia allows the defendants to claim comparative fault as a defense for the reduction of damages. Comparative fault is the opportunity for the defendants to blame other parties for the injury, such as other medical professionals or even the plaintiff.

In Georgia, jurors are tasked with apportioning fault among all potentially responsible parties. O.C.G.A § 51-12-33. In some cases, the jury may be entitled to consider whether the plaintiff contributed to his or her own injuries. However, a plaintiff can still recover in a medical malpractice case even if he or she was partially at-fault so long as the plaintiff was not 50 percent or more at fault. Any fault attributed to you will reduce your award equal to the share of fault.

Damages Caps

While a medical malpractice jury award can be reduced by the plaintiff’s own fault, there are no caps on damages in Georgia medical malpractice claims. This means the plaintiff is entitled to recover the full value of his or her economic and non-economic damages.

What Damages Are Recoverable in a Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

If it is determined that medical malpractice occurred, a plaintiff may be able to recover compensatory damages. These damages are designed to restore what was lost because of the negligence. This can include economic damages such as lost wages and medical expenses, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded, but this is rare. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future bad conduct and are only awarded in cases of egregious misconduct.

In a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit, there are several types of damages that may be recovered. These include:

  1. Economic damages: These are monetary losses that can be calculated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
  2. Non-economic damages: These are non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  3. Punitive damages: These are damages awarded as a punishment for particularly egregious behavior by the medical professional, and are intended to deter similar conduct in the future.
  4. Wrongful death damages: If a medical mistake results in a patient’s death, the patient’s family may be able to recover damages such as loss of companionship and funeral expenses.

What Are Some Examples of Atlanta, Georgia Medical Malpractice Cases?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide the standard of care that is reasonable and necessary for their patient, resulting in harm or injury. This can include a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical errors, or inadequate care. These mistakes can have serious and even fatal consequences, leaving patients and their families to deal with the aftermath.

Examples of medical malpractice in Georgia include:

  • Misdiagnosis of hall-mark symptoms of a heart attack by an emergency room physician, resulting in patient’s death.
  • Misdiagnosis of a benign tumor as cancer resulting in unnecessary amputation of a minor’s leg.
  • Failure to diagnose cancer when a cardiologist failed to follow-up on an abnormal x-ray.
  • Failure to diagnose testicular torsion in a minor child, resulting in the loss of a testicle.
  • Failure to prevent bedsores in an incapacitated plaintiff, resulting in development of a Stage IV bedsore and osteomyelitis.
  • Prescribing the wrong type or dosage of medication, resulting in poisoning or catastrophic damage to plaintiff.

The experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at DRS Law can help evaluate your case and advise you on the damages you may be able to recover.

If you believe that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and help determine if you have a claim and what damages may be available to you.

Do you have a case?

Understanding Your Medical Malpractice Claim

If you’ve experienced an injury as a result of subpar medical care, you’ve likely considered bringing a medical malpractice suit against your healthcare provider. There are a few things you should keep in mind, however, in determining if you have a case.

Unsure if you have a case?
Contact us for a free consultation.

Elements of Malpractice

Medical malpractice in GEORGIA requires negligence, injury, and causation.

To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove the three required elements of malpractice: that your healthcare provider was negligent (meaning that their care fell short of established standards), that you sustained some type of injury or illness under their care, and that your injury or illness was directly caused by their negligence. If your claim lacks proof of any of the three elements–negligence, injury, or causation–your medical malpractice claim is likely not recoverable.

In most cases, the causation element is the most difficult element to prove. It is relatively easy to produce evidence proving that an injury was sustained, and that the attendant medical professional deviated from their standard of care in some manner. However, it can be very difficult to establish the link between the two. Most medical procedures involve countless variables, and if the defendant can show that the plaintiff’s injury could have been caused by circumstances other than the doctor’s negligence, the plaintiff may not recover.

Injury Alone is not malpractice

Sickness or injury alone do not constitute medical malpractice in Tennessee.

Some patients mistakenly believe that any illness or injury sustained during a hospital stay is sufficient grounds for a malpractice claim. Unfortunately, however, there are a number of unavoidable health risks that go along with most medical procedures. For instance, it’s not uncommon for patients to contract post-surgical infections or to have unforeseen reactions to certain medications or instruments, or even for a patient’s condition to worsen after a procedure. These situations, in themselves, do not prove negligence on behalf of the medical staff, and without establishing negligence and a causal link, a plaintiff only has proof of an accidental injury.

Substantial Harm Required

Successful malpractice suits generally require substantial harm.

Even if a plaintiff can show injury, negligence, and causation, his claim still may not be recoverable if his injury was minor. Conditions or injuries from which a patient quickly recovers–such as brief infections, minor allergic reactions, bruises, soreness, or cuts–will likely not support a medical malpractice lawsuit.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that medical malpractice has not occurred. Even if an injury was minor, it is still correctly classified as malpractice if it directly resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligence. However, medical malpractice suits often require significant investments of time and money, and the compensation for minor injuries will likely be less than the cost of bringing a malpractice suit. Generally, a plaintiff’s injury must be relatively significant for a malpractice suit to be worthwhile. It’s important to consult with an attorney to determine whether your claim will sustain the costs of litigation.

Time Deadlines

Keep track of the statute of limitations.

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the date that the injury was discovered, but no more than five years from the date it occurred. For example, if a surgeon negligently damaged a patient’s organ, and the patient was not aware of the injury until a year later, the patient would have two years from the date of discovery to file suit. If the patient discovered the injury seven years later, however, it would be too late to file a medical malpractice claim. In other words, the injury must be discovered within five years of its occurrence in order to support a medical malpractice claim.

There are a couple of exceptions to these rules, however. If the patient could not discover the injury within the five-year limitation due to fraud or concealment on behalf of the healthcare provider, the five-year limitation will be removed and the patient will have two years from the date of discovery to file her claim, regardless of when the injury occurred.

The same extension applies to foreign object cases: a patient may bring a claim within one year of the discovery of a foreign object in her system, no matter how much time has passed since it was inserted.

Keep detailed records of your injury

Keep detailed records of your injury.

If you sustain an injury and plan to bring a medical malpractice claim, it’s important to document every stage of your injury, from the date of its occurrence (or the date that you notice it) onwards. Note any side effects and any changes in your condition as they occur, and always record the dates of such developments. This will help you remember the statute of limitations deadline for your claim, assist future medical providers in assessing the extent of your injuries, and help your medical malpractice attorney evaluate your claim. If you’re unsure of the next steps to take in your medical malpractice case, call the Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at DRS Law for a free phone consultation. Let our experienced Georgia medical malpractice lawyers offer their expert advice on the best way to handle your claim.

Medical Malpractice Results

Medical Malpractice

$10.7 million

A man died suddenly after returning home from ER where he was never seen by a physician despite showing red flags for possible heart attack.

$2 million

A pathologist’s misdiagnosis of a benign tumor as cancer resulted in an unnecessary amputation of a minor’s leg.

$1.9 million

A 66-year-old man developed late stage lung cancer when a Tennessee cardiologist failed to follow-up on an abnormal x-ray.

$775,000

An emergency department in Tennessee failed to communicate a blood infection to the patient, resulting in endocarditis and heart valve replacement surgery.

$600,000

A neurosurgeon failed to treat a dural tear, resulting in arachnoiditis.

$550,000

A man sustained a catastrophic spinal cord injury when a physical therapist failed to follow surgeon’s orders.

$525,000

A newborn died from enterovirus when an OB/GYN mistreated the mother’s pre-delivery virus.

$500,000

A 56-year-old woman suffered necrotizing fasciitis and septic shock when an OB/GYN failed to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic for an infection.

Over $500 Million
Recovered Since 1993

We've Helped Thousands of People Just Like You

We are known for getting life-changing results and fighting to make our communities safer.

Why Choose Us As Your Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney

With us on your side, you can focus on what’s most important – your recovery.

Decades Of Experience

Decades Of Experience

Our  Nashville-based attorneys have over 75 years of combined practice handling cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, civil rights, medical device lawsuits, wrongful death, and much more.

Excellent Reputation

Excellent Reputation

DRS Law is a well-respected law firm based in Nashville with attorneys licensed in Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. Our founder, David Randolph Smith, has been selected as a Mid-South Super Lawyer, named one of the Top 100 attorneys in Tennessee in all fields of practice, and is included in the Best Lawyers in America guidebook.

Small Case Volume

Small Case Volume

Unlike many national or advertising personal injury firms that handle a large volume of cases, we focus on a select few cases. Our dedicated approach ensures that every step is taken to obtain the most favorable outcomes for our clients.

We Prepare For Trial

We Prepare For Trial

Every case is meticulously prepared for trial by our trial team and support staff in order to maximize the recovery for our client, whether by settlement or trial verdict. Our proven track record of success has resulted in multi-million-dollar settlements and judgments in a wide variety of individual and group cases.

What to Expect

Our Legal Services Are Completely Personalized To You And Your Unique Needs

01  Free Consultation

Our dedicated personal injury and accident lawyers provide free, no-pressure case evaluations. We will help you determine if you have a case and will answer all your questions in plain English. We never charge any fees until we win your case.

 

02  Personalized Service

If we take your case, it’s because we believe we can help you. We will get to work outlining a strategic plan of action. We want you to feel taken care of during this difficult time — whatever questions you have, we’re here with answers. Frequent check-ins ensure you are comfortable with the progress of your case.

03  You Get Paid

We are passionate about the success of your case and will give it the close attention and focus it deserves. We find solutions that other lawyers miss, discovering key facts that help you win. We call upon our gifts in storytelling to argue your case with passion and conviction so you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

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