Have you suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s negligence? Have you been forced to endure additional medical care to treat your unexpected injury? Has this injury caused you physical pain, embarrassment, or affected your ability to work? Contact the Citywide Law Group to find out how we can help to get you the money you need and deserve after this traumatic experience.
Our Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys have more than 17 years of combined legal experience. During this time, we have helped Los Angeles clients just like you recover millions in much-needed compensation for their medical malpractice injuries. We know that an unexpected injury can affect every aspect of your life, and we will fight to make sure that you are properly compensated by the negligent medical professional. Call the Citywide Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case, determine potential liability, and explain the process of filing a claim for damages.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
When you visit a medical professional for a diagnosis or treatment you put yourself in a very vulnerable situation. Medicine is complicated, and you are entrusting your health and safety to this medical professional. Since a medical professional’s job is so important, California laws impose a heightened duty of care on doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare practitioners. Healthcare professionals in California have a duty to use a “level of skill, knowledge, and care in diagnosis and treatment that other reasonably careful medical professionals would use in the same or similar circumstance.”
When a medical professional fails to meet this heightened duty of care, and you suffer an injury as a result, you may have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. It is important to know that there must be a causal link between the healthcare professional’s negligence and your injury. This link can be direct (e.g., puncturing an organ during surgery) or indirect (e.g., leaving a medical instrument in your body after surgery, leading to an infection at some point in the future).
Liability for Medical Malpractice
In California, there are actually a few parties that can potentially be liable if you suffer a medical malpractice injury. Anyone whose wrongful conduct or negligence contributed to your injury can be held financially responsible under California law. Each party will be responsible to the degree their conduct contributed to your injury. Potentially liable parties in a medical malpractice claim include:
- Physician assistants;
- Medical staff;
- Hospital administration;
- Insurance companies;
- Medical transport teams; and
- Medical equipment retailers and manufacturers.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
California imposes certain time restraints on victims who are injured because of medical malpractice. You must file a medical malpractice claim within one year of discovering an injury or within three years of the date you suffered the injury, whichever occurs first. Most victims of medical malpractice injuries will have three years to file a claim for damages.
There is one major exception to this rule. There is no statute of limitations if you suffer an injury or harm that cannot be easily identified. For example, let’s say you have your appendix removed when you are 20 years old and, at the time, you are unaware that the surgeon who performed your operation left a sponge in your abdomen. Unless you had body scans performed or additional surgery, there is no way you could know that there was a foreign object in your body. If you develop an infection or injury because of that sponge when you are 25, 30, or even 40 you will not be barred from pursuing compensation from the negligent surgeon.
Medical Malpractice Damages
An unexpected injury can affect every aspect of your life. You may require extensive medical care, be forced to miss time at work, and even face limitations in caring for your family. When you file a medical malpractice claim you can recover compensation to make up for these losses. The damages you can recover will depend on the specific harms you suffer.
Economic Damages. Economic damages can be awarded in your medical malpractice case to compensate you for verifiable financial losses. These can include medical bills, nursing care, rehabilitation, lost wages, and a reduced earning capacity. Economic damages will be limited to your actual (and projected) financial losses.
Non-Economic Damages. Non-economic damages can be awarded in your medical malpractice case to compensate for hard-to-value injuries. These can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement. Non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 in California.
Punitive Damages. Punitive damages can be awarded in your medical malpractice case if the medical professional acted recklessly or maliciously. There are no limits to the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded.
Steps to Take After a Medical Malpractice Injury
There are certain things you can do after you suffer an unexpected injury to support a future medical malpractice claim. Remember, the decisions you make immediately following your injury will determine how successful any future claims for damages will be.
Medical Consultation. If there is a delay in discovering your injury see a doctor as soon as possible. This will make sure that your condition does not get worse and is treated properly. The medical report from this visit will be helpful as evidence in your future case.
Document the Injury. Take photographs, write down your personal experiences, speak with witnesses, and obtain any documents that are relevant to your injury. Your attorney will use this information as a starting point for an in-depth investigation.
Refuse Early Settlement Offers. Insurance companies may try to manipulate a difficult situation and get you to accept a lowball settlement offer. Resist the temptation to accept. We know that times are tough and that this money could be very helpful at the present moment, but this compensation will not be enough to address all of your needs. Insurance companies are not on your side and will do anything to minimize the money you receive.
Call a Lawyer. Hiring an attorney to handle your medical malpractice claim is the best thing you can do if you want to maximize the compensation you receive. Our injury attorneys have been going up against insurance companies for over 20 years. We know which tricks they use to minimize payouts and we will make sure that their attempts are unsuccessful. We will thoroughly investigate your case, determine the best legal strategy, and leverage the at-fault party into offering you a fair settlement. If you are not happy with the offers you receive we will take your case to court. We thrive in the courtroom and are confident we can secure a meaningful award from a judge or jury.
Handling Your Medical Malpractice Claim on a Contingency Fee Basis
Between medical bills, forced time away from work, and ordinary everyday expenses, we know that most medical malpractice victims do not have money to pay for costly legal fees. In order to make sure that Los Angeles injury victims get the help they need, our personal injury attorneys provide legal services on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid when we recover compensation on your behalf. This allows you to focus your time and resources on your own physical and emotional recovery.
Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Contact the Citywide Law Group if you have been injured because of a healthcare professional’s negligence. For nearly 20 years, our attorneys have been helping injured clients like you recover life-changing compensation for their unexpected injuries. We know that this is a difficult time in your life and will make sure that the at-fault party is held accountable. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.