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What you need to know about medical malpractice in Georgia

Going to the hospital should result in the proper treatment of an illness or an injury, not in becoming the victim of medical malpractice. Even a simple act of negligence by a doctor or nurse can result in devastating debilitation.

After being harmed or injured as a result of subpar medical treatment or an erroneous diagnosis you may be wondering if there is a way for you to once again become whole. In order to determine the best course of action after becoming the victim of medical malpractice is to seek the advice of experienced legal counsel.

Below are some basic facts you should know when considering filing a medical malpractice claim.

Before filing a claim

The first thing you should do if you have been a victim of malpractice is to contact the doctor or medical professional that treated you in order to gain an understanding of what went wrong. In general, most doctors are willing to take the necessary steps to correct the problem.

However, if your doctor cannot or will not provide a solution, you should then contact Georgia medical board. The licensing board will then issue a warning or take disciplinary action against the medical provider.

Get a professional opinion

If you choose to move forward in filing a medical malpractice claim, the court requires that in addition to the complaint, you must also file an affidavit prepared by a medical expert that is qualified to testify in a Georgia court. The medial expert must be able to provide evidence that at least one act of negligence was committed by your health care provider.

Statute of limitations

In Georgia, you must file your claim within two years of the illness, injury, or death that was caused by malpractice or, at the latest, five years from the time the malpractice actually occurred.

If you were a victim of negligent treatment over five years ago and are just now experiencing an injury or illness as a direct result, the court will throw out the claim because it has been more than five years since the cause of the injury or illness.

In cases where the medical practitioner has concealed the malpractice, thereby committing fraud, the statute of limitations is considered "paused" until the malpractice is actually discovered.

Another exception to the state time cap is when foreign objects are left in the patient. This typically happens during surgery when objects, such as surgical sponges, get left behind. Regardless of whether the two or five year limitation has passed, you have one year to file a complaint from the date the object was discovered.

Damages

Georgia no longer has damage caps that limit the amount of non-economic damages you may be entitled to receive. However, punitive damages are limited to $250,000 except in the rare case that the medical practitioner fully intended to cause harm.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a health care provider's negligence, contact a local attorney with medical malpractice experience.

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