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What are medical malpractice claims?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are a subset of negligence actions. A medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that a healthcare provider is responsible for a patient’s injuries or death because they provided medical treatment that fell below the recognized standard of care within the medical community. In each case, the appropriate standard of care that the healthcare provider should have maintained in the given medical situation is a question that will be addressed by the judge or jury. Each party will have an opportunity to provide evidence to support their position regarding what the appropriate standard of care should have been for the particular medical situation. This evidence often includes the use of expert witnesses who possess specialized knowledge regarding the particular medical specialty involved.

Currently, Georgia lawmakers are considering changes to the State’s medical malpractice statutes, which would take these type of negligence cases out of courts. Under the new system, medical malpractice claims would not be considered by a judge or jury. Rather, an administrative panel would provide victims with compensation on a no-fault basis, much like the existing workers compensation program.

Most medical malpractice lawsuits involve medical error.

Often times, medical malpractice lawsuits involve medical error on the part of a healthcare provider. The three most common types of medical malpractice claims are the failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and the failure to warn of known risks.

Failure to Diagnose

A patient may have a viable failure to diagnose claim if their healthcare provider did not properly identify their illness when most competent medical professionals would have been able to properly diagnose the condition. For example, the healthcare provider may not have ordered tests that are routinely administered when a patient presents symptoms, which the victim exhibited, and the test results would have led to a proper diagnosis. Last week, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a $5 million verdict in a medical malpractice case where a misdiagnosis on the part of the emergency room’s medical staff resulted in a double amputation.

Improper Treatment

A patient may have a viable medical malpractice case if their injury or death resulted from improper medical treatment. This includes circumstances where a healthcare professional does not properly administer a medical treatment. Examples include prescribing the wrong medication of the patient’s condition or administering the wrong dosage of medication.

Failure to Warn

Medical professionals owe patients a duty of informed consent. This means that they must inform patients of the known risks associated with a particular course of treatment. If a medical professional fails to warm a patient regarding a known danger and the patient sustains that type of injury, they may have a viable medical malpractice claim.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the circumstances of your case and provide you with advice and guidance on how to achieve the most favorable results possible given your situation.

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