Do I Have A Medical Malpractice Case?
Medical malpractice generally occurs when a healthcare professional breaks away from the standard of care when providing treatment to a patient, and that break from the standard of care (referred to as a breach) causes injury to the patient.
Standard of care is a technical legal term usually defined as accepted procedures and practices that healthcare practitioners in the same geographic area would use when treating a patient suffering from a specific disease or ailment. This standard of care can vary depending on the level of care of local professionals, the practice area of the healthcare professional, and the specific characteristics of the patient. Also, the patient must prove that the breach from the standard was the cause of their injury, which usually requires medical expert testimony.
California has strict rules regulating the time allowed to file a medical malpractice claim. A patient can file a medical malpractice claim up to one year after the discovery of the act that caused the injury, or up to three years from the date that injury occurred, whichever occurs first.
Several types of damages are available to an injured party in medical malpractice cases. However, in California, laws limit the amount of money that an injured patient can receive, even after a jury has found that the patient’s healthcare professional committed medical malpractice. The limits on recovery in California were encoded in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which passed in 1975. Among other things, MICRA places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, a cap which has not changed since 1975, as there is no inflation clause in MICRA. California has no cap on the amount of money that an injured patient can receive as compensation for medical care made necessary by the malpractice, nor is there a cap on lost income or impairment of the patient’s ability to earn a living because of the malpractice.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be exceptionally expensive to pursue, due to the need for medical experts. Medical professionals often work for larger entities, such as hospitals, which create more complex cases. Medical malpractice law encompasses a highly technical field of law, and malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms.
If you think you or a loved one has a medical malpractice case, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz today.