A medical negligence attorney is a lawyer you can turn to when you have received an injury due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider.
Negligence is a legal concept that allows you to recover damages (money) when someone owed you a duty of care, and that person breached that duty of care to you in some way, and the breach of that duty was the reason you suffered harm.
An extreme example for the purpose of illustration: A surgeon owes a duty of care to the patient undergoing surgery, that duty was breached when the surgeon removed the wrong organ, and the patient suffered harm due to the surgeon’s error.
Medical negligence can of course happen in much less obvious and extreme ways, which is why it’s important to consult a medical negligence attorney to discover what rights you may have in your unique situation.
Is it Too Late to Hire a Medical Negligence Attorney?
Whether you can still recover in court for damages caused from medical negligence depends on a concept called the statute of limitations. – the time you have from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit in court.
The statute of limitations clock begins to tick when both the liability and the damages for your injury occurred. Sometimes the liability and injury happen at exactly the same time, such as in a car accident, and sometimes the damages do not happen until a later date.
The statute of limitations can be tolled (paused) by the actual discovery of the injury. For example, if you underwent a botched surgery by a doctor, the surgeon’s liability happened at the time of the surgery. But if you didn’t realize you suffered harm from the surgery until later, then the statute of limitations clock begins to tick at the time you discovered you suffered harm.
For a medical malpractice lawsuit, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of liability and injury, or one year from the date you discover your injuries – whichever occurs first.
This means you cannot normally bring a malpractice claim beyond three years of the wrongful act, even if you did not discover your injury before then, unless:
- there was fraud that prevented the discovery of harm
- there was intentional concealment that prevented the discovery of harm
- your claim results from a foreign object was left inside your body that had no therapeutic of diagnostic effect (the idea behind this exception is that it is much more difficult to discover this type of injury).
The statute of limitations can sometimes be complex, and is often disputed between attorneys on either side of the lawsuit.
You may need a medical negligence attorney to help you understand your rights. You can contact us today for a free consultation by clicking below.
The Types of Harm that Allow You to Collect Money
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can collect money for all damages you suffered that are reasonably foreseeable, and that are causally connected to your medical provider’s wrongful conduct.
Such damages may include:
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress (in California, emotional distress must be accompanied by physical injury)
- loss of income due to being unable to work
- loss of consortium (loss of the ability to enjoy the company of your loved ones)
- consequential damages – physical therapy, psychotherapy, corrective surgeries, medical equipment, etc., that resulted from the wrongdoing
Were You Adequately Warned About the Risk of Injury?
The law requires medical professionals to disclose potential risks associated with medical procedures. The argument from your medical professional may potentially go like this: I warned you about the risks, and you still consented to undergo the procedure, so you cannot sue me for any harm you suffered.
So in medical malpractice actions, in can often be in dispute whether you were adequately warned, and whether you consented. There are two potential angles to look at the issue: should the information the professional provides to the patient be based on what a reasonable physician thinks she should give, or should it be based on what a reasonable patient would expect to know?
California law sides with you, the patient. So in determining whether you were adequately warned about the potential risks, the court will step inside the shoes of what a reasonable patient in your same circumstances would expect to know, as opposed to the information a reasonable doctor in the same situation would expect to provide to you.
Can You Still Recover Money in a Lawsuit, Even After Receiving Insurance Money?
Many who have been injured due to medical malpractice feel they don’t want to cause any problems, make a big fuss, or be ungrateful for what they have.
If you are one of these people, you may be wondering if the insurance money you received – whether from your primary health insurer or from an ancillary policy that pays you money in the event of a catastrophic event – is all you are entitled to receive for your injuries.
In California, you are absolutely entitled to receive money over and above any insurance payouts. Often insurance payouts are grossly insufficient to cover the extent of your medical damages. It would be extremely unfair to deny you recovery in a lawsuit because you already had received some insurance money.
The collateral source rule is the California law that allows you to collect money from a medical professional who acted wrongfully, whether or not you have received insurance money. The law is also an evidentiary rule which prevents evidence of insurance recovery from coming in to court to influence the jury against awarding your recovery for your injuries.
Get Help from a Medical Negligence Attorney Today
Being the victim of negligent medical care is a nightmare that no one deserves. The pain, endless bills, and stress on you and your family is too much to bear alone.
At Denni Law, Inc., we come beside you to help you fight for the compensation you deserve, at no upfront cost to you. We get paid only if we can recover compensation for you. You deserve a fair chance to make things right again. Just click below to get help today.