Georgia law requires a person working as a professional to conduct him/herself in a manner consistent with the standards of a reasonably prudent professional in their field. This applies to an array of professions: doctors, lawyers, engineers, veterinarians, architects, counselors, chiropractors, dentists, nurses, and so on. If the professional is careless and makes a mistake that no reasonable professional would make, and that error injures someone, the professional can be liable to the injured party for malpractice (also referred to as “professional negligence”).
Because medical malpractice cases are notoriously among the most difficult cases to win, few attorneys are equipped and emboldened to take them on. The challenges are several fold. For one, jurors are often reluctant to punish negligent doctors, because most people like and trust doctors. People understand that doctors have a valuable and challenging job—the vast majority of us have only positive experiences with them. Unfortunately, as with any profession, the fact is there are doctors who make mistakes due to overconfidence, carelessness, inattention, or other factors. For those who are seriously injured, or families of those who have been killed as a result of such conduct, a skilled medical malpractice lawyer may be their only hope for justice.
Secondly, hospitals, medical groups, and insurance companies fight medical malpractice claims more vigorously than nearly every other type of claim. Since a doctor’s medical license, reputation, and privilege to treat at a certain hospital may be at stake, they will usually take a hard line and do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for causing an injury.
Another challenge of medical negligence claims is the highly technical nature of the subject matter involved. The evidence involves thousands of pages of medical records and documents, and the cases hinge on a hybrid of issues that demands a firm grasp of scientific and legal principles. The defense attorneys hired by the insurance company to defend these cases usually handle medical malpractice claims exclusively; they “know the medicine” almost as well as the doctors do. It is critical that you select a law firm of your own that is ready to meet that challenge.
Finally, to even get a medical malpractice claim into court, Georgia law requires a plaintiff to attach an affidavit by “an expert competent to testify, which affidavit shall set forth specifically 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. This means that to bring a lawsuit against a doctor, you have to find a different doctor in that field who will review the evidence and conclude that in their professional opinion, the doctor’s conduct fell below that of a reasonably prudent doctor in at least one way, and that such conduct was the cause of the injury.
There are many different ways a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, or other medical professional can commit malpractice. Some of the more common incidents include a failure to appreciate symptoms and diagnose a serious disease; birth injuries during labor and/or delivery; and administering or prescribing a medication that is known to have a negative reaction with medications the patient is already taking.
Rafi Law Firm’s attorneys are skilled at professional negligence cases. To find out if you or a loved one has a case against a negligent medical professional, call Rafi Law Firm today or click here to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer who can give you a free case evaluation.