When you go to a healthcare professional or a hospital for a medical condition and/or injury, the last thing you expect is to get worse as a result of their negligence. But while mistakes happen in any profession, errors made in the medical profession can have dangerous or even fatal ramifications for the victims. In such cases, they may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim to hold the negligent healthcare professionals liable for any resulting injuries.
Prosecuting medical malpractice cases has been a specialty at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates. Our firm’s medical malpractice attorneys have proven themselves among the most accomplished and have helped victims and families successfully with their legal matters. Our Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers are committed to representing individuals who have become the victim of some form of negligence at the hands of medical professionals. We are fearless advocates for our injured clients and will take all necessary measures to obtain the full compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one was injured because of medical malpractice, contact our Los Angeles attorneys at the Law Offices of Same Habbas for a free, no-risk case evaluation. With multiple offices located in Los Angeles, El Segundo, Irvine, San Diego, and Riverside, our medical malpractice attorneys represent malpractice victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary case consultation with a lawyer, please call 949-727-9300.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a health care professional (such as a hospital, doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals) provides a treatment that falls below the accepted standard of care in the community and as a result, places the patient at further risk of injury and even death.
Medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 99 percent of physicians face at least one lawsuit by age 65. The average physician spends over ten percent of his or her career dealing with litigation. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), New York had the largest amount of medical malpractice reports from 2009 to 2018, with 16,688 – followed by California and Florida, with 13,157 and 10,788 reports, respectively.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of any of the actions below, should immediately consult with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney to determine if you have a valid claim:
- Improper diagnosis or failure to diagnose, a disease or medical condition.
- Failure to treat a medical condition appropriately.
- Failure to listen to the patient and recognize symptoms.
- Failure to examine medical history.
- Unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition.
- Prescribing or administration of the wrong drugs or treatment, and surgical errors.
- Failure to provide adequate post-operative care.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims
When you suffer injuries and other losses caused by a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensatory medical malpractice damages attempt to make victims “whole” again and provide money damages for economic and non-economic losses. This is also known as “actual damage”.
Common economic losses that may be recovered as part of a medical malpractice claim include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Other damages that are related to the injuries and losses in the case
Damages are case-specific and depend on the specific facts of your case. Our Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers will take the time to fully investigate your case and determine all types of damages that you may be entitled to before making a demand to the liable parties.
California has a specialized statute called the Medical Injury Compensation Recovery Act or MICRA. This archaic statute, enacted in 1975, caps or places a ceiling on the non-economic damages the medical malpractice victim can seek at $250,000. In other words, the general damages of pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium a victim can recover in California are $250,000.
This cap, however, does not apply to economic damages which would include the loss of earnings and potential further medical expenses that the patient requires in order to rectify the injuries or damages they incurred.
Punitive Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Punitive damages are designed to go above general compensatory damages in order to punish or deter wrongful, reckless conduct. Punitive damages can be difficult to claim and prove, especially in medical malpractice cases.
California has a specialized statute that does not allow a medical malpractice plaintiff to even claim punitive damages in a complaint unless a special motion is brought before the court to demonstrate there is sufficient evidence that the health care professional has actually engaged in punitive damage conduct. If the plaintiff is able to prove that there was conscious disregard for the rights or safety of the particular patient, he or she may be able to successfully be awarded punitive damages.
Time Period to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
Each state has its own specific window of time during which victims of medical malpractice can file claims and lawsuits. If you fail to file your claim during this time frame, you will be forever barred from filing a claim and the right to seek money damages. In some cases, if the medical malpractice involves fraud, misrepresentation, or other foul play on the part of the medical professional, the time frame may be extended to give the victim additional time to file suit.
Although every case has to be analyzed on its own individual facts, most medical malpractice cases in California must be filed no later than three years after the date of injury or one year after the victim discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury. Given this short time frame, it is important that you immediately consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as you believe that you have become a victim of medical malpractice.
Components of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Although unfavorable outcomes and unexpected complications can happen during the course of medical treatment, it does not mean that you automatically qualify for a medical malpractice case. In order to successfully bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against a health care professional or facility, you must prove several factors:
- Duty of care: This is generally one of the easier elements to prove. There must be an established relationship between you and the medical professional and you must have received services at the professional’s place of establishment, such as a doctor’s office or hospital.
- Breach of duty of care: The health care professional who had the duty of care for you must have failed in his or her duty by not exercising the degree of care or medical skill that another health care professional in the same specialty would have used in an equal situation. This element often requires that your medical malpractice attorney gets expert testimony as to the expected practices in similar situations.
- Causation: You must also prove that that the breach of duty by the health care practitioner caused your injuries. This linking of the breach in duty to your injuries may also require expert testimony.
- Damages: You must finally prove that you suffered some type of emotional or physical injury while under the care of the health care professional. The injury can be a new one or an aggravation of an existing injury.
Our Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys will fully investigate the facts of your claim and make sure that each of these elements can be proven. Even if you fail to prove one of these four elements, you will not prevail in your medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care professional or facility.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of negligence by a healthcare professional, the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. We have the experience, resources, and compassion to ensure that you will obtain the best representation when you need it the most.
With multiple offices located in Los Angeles, El Segundo, Irvine, San Diego, and Riverside, our medical malpractice lawyers represent malpractice victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary case consultation with an attorney, please call 949-727-9300.