The last situation in which people expect to be harmed is with a doctor. However, even the most skilled medical professionals, whether they be doctors, dentists, or hospitals, can make mistakes that result in serious injuries. California law allows the injured people in these cases to file lawsuits alleging medical malpractice. The plaintiff must prove that the medical provider was negligent in their treatment and that this negligence caused actual harm.
California medical malpractice lawyers represent individuals who have been injured due to misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or substandard treatment. An experienced negligence attorney can help individuals work to obtain the fair compensation that they deserve.
California Medical Malpractice Laws
The framework of a medical malpractice claim is similar to any other claim alleging personal injury. The injured person must prove that the defendant had a responsibility to care for their well-being, and a failure of care caused injury. All medical providers have a duty to care for their patients, but at what point does substandard care become malpractice?
California Civil Jury Instruction 501 states that malpractice is when a provider “… fails to use the level of skill, knowledge, and care in diagnosis and treatment that other reasonably careful providers would use in the same or similar circumstances…”
Essentially, this means that the care given fell below the acceptable standard for other doctors in that field. In order to prove this in court, a plaintiff will need to have their own expert doctors testify about how the care was poor and how proper care would have prevented the injury.
Unlike many other states, California does not require that an expert’s opinion be attached to the initial complaint in the lawsuit, making the filing of a claim simpler. However, due to the complex nature of California medical malpractice lawsuits, plaintiffs must serve upon the defendant a ninety-day notice of their intention to file a lawsuit under CA Code of Civil Procedure 364.
This notice must state the nature of the alleged injuries, in order for the defendant to obtain their own expert opinions and proper representation.
Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases
Plaintiffs should also keep the statute of limitations in mind. This is a barrier that prevents all lawsuits after a certain period of time following the misconduct from being filed. CA Code of Civil Procedure 340.5 gives plaintiffs three years from the date of the injury, or one year after the discovery of malpractice – whichever is first. In most cases, the twelve-month rule will apply.
Time is short and any California medical malpractice lawyer will need a lot of time for preparation to file a suit, so individuals should contact a lawyer right away.
How a California Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
Getting injured as the result of a medical provider’s malpractice can be disheartening. While all providers have extensive training and education, the fact of the matter is that mistakes are made. When these mistakes result in further injury due to poor treatment, misdiagnosis, or a late diagnosis, plaintiffs may sue the provider for compensation.
A California medical malpractice lawyer will gather all of the evidence and medical records, consult with expert doctors in the appropriate field of medicine, and prepare a complaint outlining the poor treatment. The attorney will stand by your side from the day they are hired until the case is resolved.
With only 12 months from the date of the poor care to file a claim, time is of the essence. Contact a lawyer today to see what can be done to get you the compensation that you deserve.