Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of deaths in California. Negligence of the medical staff often leads to catastrophic injuries. The injuries usually result in the victim becoming handicapped. Victims can contact a qualified attorney in California to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In this blog post, you will learn about the legal definition of medical malpractice. Moreover, you will know the types of damages you can recover as well as the limits.
Legal Definition of Medical Malpractice in California
Medical malpractice involves professional misconduct that results in an injury. An unreasonable lack of skill that leads to an injury can also be a basis of a medical malpractice case. The medical staff will be liable in case of a personal injury or wrongful death of a patient.
The California Civil Code 3333.2 applies to medical malpractice cases. The law is applicable for personal injuries or death that occurs due to actions of medical staff. This law applies both in cases of professional negligence and intentional actions.
Professional negligence refers to the failure of the medical staff to provide professional services. Common examples of professional negligence include the following::
- Failure to offer basic professional services
- Services offered by an inexperienced medical staff
- Delay in treatment
- Surgical or anesthesia errors
- No informed consent
- Prescription of dangerous drugs
- Mistakes during pregnancy or delivery
- Failure to offer proper advice on follow-up care
Intentional actions refer to the deliberate action of the staff that causes harm to a patient. Examples of actions that can lead to injury or death include physical assault and murder. Medical malpractice cases involving intentional actions are rare. Determining malice intent is difficult that requires the help of a professional attorney.
Characteristics of Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims are different than other personal injury claims. As per California laws, medical malpractice claims have the following characteristics.
Services Rendered by a Licensed Medical Staff
A licensed medical professional must offer professional medical services. Moreover, the services shouldn’t violate any restrictions by a licensed hospital or agency. Services offered by an unlicensed staff can be a basis of medical negligence. The victim can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the unlicensed medical staff.
Injury Occurred Due to a Breach of Standard of Care
The injury should have occurred due to a breach of the standard of care. Every patient expects suitable medical services from a professional healthcare provider. The patient has the right to receive care that meets acceptable medical standards. Medical negligence occurs if the services aren’t within the acceptable quality of care.
Injury Resulted in Significant Economic Losses
Medical negligence lawsuits involve a lot of expenses. That’s why the injury should have resulted in significant economic losses. The victim should have suffered significant monetary losses due to the injury. Otherwise, filing a medical malpractice case will not be worth it.
Types of Damages in a Medical Negligence Case
The legal term for the amount that a patient can seek for professional negligence is damages. A victim of medical negligence can apply for different types of damages. These include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to losses that occur due to medical negligence. Examples of economic damages include lost wages, cost of treatment, and medication expenses.
A medical negligence attorney will calculate both the present and future economic damages. This will help in determining an adequate compensation amount. The calculation includes some guesswork. This is because it involves determining future economic losses due to the injury. An expert’s advice is usually sought to calculate the cost of long-term care due to the injury.
Non-economic damages are losses sustained due to medical negligence that are not quantifiable. The losses are difficult to calculate since they do not have a definite value. Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement due to the injury
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Inconvenience due to loss of a limb
Victims can seek punitive damage in certain situations. The damages are sought to punish the guilty party for their reckless behavior. The damages are also awarded to serve as an example to others. The court may award punitive damages to deter others from similar actions.
Victims have the burden to prove that the actions of the medical staff involved malice. California law puts a limit of $250,000 for non-economic damages. In contrast, there is no limit for economic and punitive damages. The courts have awarded millions in damages to victims of medical negligence.
Contact Bernard & Bernard Attorneys, Personal Injury Lawyers for Medical Malpractice in CALIFORNIA
Medical negligence cases arise due to actions – or inaction – of a medical professional. You should contact a Bernard & Bernard Attorneys if injured due to medical negligence. You can sue a medical staff for negligent actions in rendering professional services.
Our experienced lawyers will carry out a detailed investigation. Our professional lawyers will aim to convince the court about the guilt of the medical staff. Our attorneys will strive to prove the guilt of the at-fault party beyond any reasonable doubt.
Moreover, our attorneys will also assess the extent of the losses suffered by the victim. The help of our attorneys will increase the odds that a medical negligence case is successful.
Remember that every state has a statute of limitation for filing claims. The statute of limitations set the time limit for filing personal injury cases. In California, a victim of medical negligence can file a claim within three years of the injury. Moreover, the victim has one year after the discovery of the injury to file a case. You must file a claim within the specified period otherwise you will lose the right to sue.