Legal Guidance for Atlanta Victims of Negligent Doctors
Patients put their trust in the doctors caring for them. When physicians violate this trust, it can leave people injured and looking for answers. Compassionate negligence attorney Terrence R. Bethune is dedicated to helping Atlanta residents hurt by the wrongdoing or carelessness of others. If you were injured by a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider, you may be entitled to compensation.
Hold Health Care Providers Accountable for Harming You
A patient injured by a negligent medical professional can file a malpractice lawsuit in state court. To prevail and collect damages from liable defendants, the victim must prove several elements:
- The doctor or medical professional owed him or her a duty of care;
- The defendant breached the duty;
- The doctor’s behavior caused an injury; and
- Quantifiable damages occurred as a result.
These elements might seem familiar, since they are similar to those required to prove an ordinary negligence case, such a car accident. The primary difference is that medical malpractice defendants owe their patients a different duty than, for example, the average driver owes the people in his or her vicinity.
According to O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27, doctors and other medical practitioners must exercise reasonable care when treating patients. Georgia courts have interpreted this statute to mean that a doctor must use commonly accepted standards of care as determined by physicians in a similar specialty and good standing treating patients under similar circumstances. This is generally a higher standard of care than required by standard negligence lawsuits, which require the defendant to have acted only reasonably.
The victim must next prove that the defendant breached this duty by deviating from the accepted standard of care. To establish the elements of duty and breach, medical malpractice plaintiffs usually hire an expert witness. This is an experienced doctor who is an expert in the area of medicine at issue in the case. If the expert witness testifies that the defendant’s behavior was outside the commonly accepted standard of care, it can help prove the first two elements. The plaintiff’s medical records can also establish the defendant’s breach.
The final element is causation. The analysis for causation is the same as other negligence-based causes of action, such as truck accidents. The defendant’s behavior must have been both the factual cause and the legal cause of the victim’s injuries. This means that without the defendant’s behavior, the plaintiff would have avoided harm. It also requires that the victim’s injuries were a foreseeable consequence of the doctor’s actions. If both of these tests are met, there is an adequate causal connection, and the defendant is likely liable.
Damages available to prevailing plaintiffs may include reimbursement for past and future lost wages, further medical expenses, and other direct costs associated with the defendant’s negligence. The victim may also seek compensation for physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary injuries.
Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Claim with an Atlanta Attorney
Negligent doctors must pay a price for their actions. Medical professionals who deviate from the accepted standard without reason can be held liable by the patients they harm. Injury lawyer Terrence R. Bethune can help you if you were hurt by a negligent health care provider in the Atlanta region. To see if you have a medical malpractice case, call (404) 875-7800 or visit our contact page.