Medical malpractice can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. When healthcare professionals fail to provide a standard level of care, resulting in injuries or wrongful death, victims have the right to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Georgia, the law allows injured individuals to recover various types of damages to help alleviate the physical, emotional, and financial burdens caused by medical negligence. This article will explore the different types of damages available in a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit and the requirements for pursuing a claim.
Economic damages compensate the victim for quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of medical malpractice. These damages may include:
Medical expenses: The cost of current and future medical treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, prescription medications, and assistive devices.
Lost wages: Compensation for the income lost due to the inability to work during recovery or permanent disability caused by medical malpractice.
Loss of earning capacity: If the victim’s ability to earn a living is permanently affected, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of future income or career advancement opportunities.
Property damage: Reimbursement for any damage to personal property resulting from medical negligence.
Non-economic damages aim to compensate victims for the intangible losses they have experienced. These may include:
Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional distress endured by the victim due to medical malpractice.
Emotional distress: Damages for psychological trauma, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from the malpractice incident.
Loss of enjoyment of life: Compensation for the loss of ability to engage in activities and hobbies that were previously enjoyed.
In certain cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim but rather to punish the defendant and deter similar actions in the future. Punitive damages are only awarded when the defendant’s conduct is found to be intentional, willful, or grossly negligent.
Requirements for Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Georgia
Statute of Limitations
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is generally two years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. However, there are exceptions, such as cases involving foreign objects left in the body, in which the statute of limitations may be extended.
Georgia law requires the plaintiff to submit an expert affidavit along with the complaint when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The affidavit must be provided by a qualified medical expert who attests to the negligence or malpractice committed by the defendant.
Proof of Negligence
To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must establish the following elements:
The existence of a doctor-patient relationship.
The healthcare professional’s duty of care toward the patient.
Breach of the duty of care by the healthcare professional.
A causal link between the breach and the patient’s injuries.
Actual damages resulting from the medical negligence.
It’s important to note that Georgia imposes certain limitations on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. As of the knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there is a cap of $350,000 per plaintiff for non-economic damages. However, this cap may be increased to $1,050,000 if the victim has suffered severe injuries such as paralysis, amputation of limbs, or substantial physical deformity.
Georgia follows the rule of modified comparative negligence when determining compensation in medical malpractice cases. Under this rule, if the victim is found to be partially responsible for their injuries, the amount of damages awarded may be reduced proportionately. However, if the victim’s degree of fault exceeds 50%, they may be barred from recovering any compensation.
How Keenan Law Firm Can Help You on Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice in Georgia, it is crucial to seek legal representation to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. At Keenan Law Firm, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys have a deep understanding of Georgia’s laws and regulations surrounding medical negligence cases. We are dedicated to advocating for victims and their families, providing compassionate support and vigorous representation throughout the legal process.
Contact Keenan Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case. Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia, so don’t delay in seeking legal assistance. Let us help you pursue justice and obtain the compensation you need to rebuild your life.