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How medical malpractice in California differs from other types of personal injury claims

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Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury case, but the rules for this type of claim differ from other personal injury cases in California. At the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, our team of dedicated legal professionals understands the differences and will zealously advocate for your right to compensation after being injured by a medical professional. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

Statute of Limitations

The first substantial difference between medical malpractice cases and other types of personal injury claims is the statute of limitations. This is the window of time that a victim has to file a lawsuit for damages. With other types of personal injury claims, a person has two years from the date of the accident to file a case. With medical malpractice, the statute of limitations differs based on the circumstances of the case.

Typically, a medical malpractice victim has three years from the date of the injury or one year from the date that the victim discovers, or should have discovered, the injury, whichever comes first. However, if the medical malpractice occurs with a child under the age of six years old, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury or prior to the child’s eighth birthday, whichever is later. The statute of limitations also tolls, or stops, if the case involves issues of fraud or unintentionally leaving foreign objects in the body of the victim.

Notice of Filing

Unlike other types of personal injury claims, victims of medical malpractice must provide notice of their intent to file a lawsuit prior to doing so. Any healthcare professional named as a defendant in a medical malpractice case must be notified at least 90 days in advance with a notice that provides the legal basis for the claim, the type of losses sustained, and the nature of the injuries inflicted. If the notice is sent within 90 days of the statute of limitations expiring, the time to file the lawsuit will be extended 90 days from the service of the notice to defendants.

Caps on Damages

The final difference between medical malpractice and other types of personal injury claims is the cap on certain types of damages. Compensation for injury claims can be separated into two categories — economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages compensate a victim for their out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and the loss of future income and benefits. Medical malpractice victims are entitled to collect 100% of their economic losses.

Noneconomic damages provide compensation for a victim’s disability, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. California caps noneconomic damages for medical malpractice claims at $250,000, whereas other types of personal injury cases have no caps on noneconomic damages.

Call or Contact Our Office Now

If you or someone you know has been injured by a healthcare professional in the Pasadena area, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz to schedule a consultation of your case today with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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