Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia


April 09, 2017

Medical malpractice cases arise when patients are injured as the result of negligence on the part of a medical professional who was treating that patient. These cases occur when a doctor fails to diagnose a patient properly, provides the wrong treatment, when patients are not properly warned of the known dangers and risks of a procedure that they have opted to undergo and others. While there are generalities that apply to medical malpractice cases anywhere in the country, there are certain aspects of the law that are state specific. NOTE: This blog article will generally discuss statutes of limitations as they apply to Georgia medical malpractice cases.  The information contained below is for general discussion only.  Therefore, you should not rely on this information and should you have any questions, we strongly encourage you to contact one of our attorneys.

The statute of limitations and the statute of repose

A statute of limitations is the amount of time that an injured person has to file a lawsuit following suffering an injury. In Georgia, the statute of limitation on medical malpractice claims is two years from the date of the injury. This means that if you were injured as a result of something your doctor did, you can file a case, but not after more than two years from the date of that injury.

You might notice a problem with this though. What if you suffered as the result of medical malpractice, but you did not know that you had suffered the injury until more than two years later? For instance, imagine you went to a dermatologist, concerned over a strange patch of skin. The doctor says you have nothing to worry about, and so you do not take any further actions. Then, two and a half years later, another doctor sees the patch of skin and displays concern. It turns out that you have skin cancer, and that it has spread significantly over the time between when the first doctor failed to notice and when the second doctor found it. As a result, the treatment is much more invasive and much more expensive than if the first doctor had correctly diagnosed you. Are you barred by the statute of limitations in a claim against the first doctor? In such a situation, no. The date of discovery can come after the date of the action or inaction that led to the injury. Thus, although you saw the doctor more two years ago, you only discovered the injury now. In such situations, the statute of repose created an additional limitation on your claim, giving you up to five years to file a lawsuit following the action that led to the injury.  However, you would still have to file the lawsuit within two years after discovery.  Moreover, if you discover the injury more than five years after the action, you are likely out of luck. Statutes of limitations can become quite complicated and the above analysis only applies to medical malpractice claims in Georgia.  Thus, if you have any questions regarding statutes of limitations, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Types of damages and limitations on compensation

Damages are compensation paid to an injured party by the party who caused the injury. Damages may include payments for pain and suffering, compensation for the cost of medical care and missed work (compensatory damages), and punitive damages which are paid out in cases when the medical practitioner acted out of malice, fraud or willful misconduct. Georgia does not cap compensatory damages for medical malpractice, but certain caps do exist for most punitive damages.

If you believe you were injured as the result of medical malpractice, you should reach out to an attorney to have your case evaluated and to determine if you might be owed compensation for the injuries that you sustained. Do not hesitate to act as you have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 33 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!

If you have been injured due to negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Sources:

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-9/chapter-3/article-4/9-3-70 and http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-9/chapter-3/article-4/ and https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=38910

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Atlanta, GA 30329
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Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.