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Medical Malpractice Attorney in Los Angeles

In the State of California, all doctors and health care providers are legally obligated to provide their medical patients with an acceptable standard of care. When a medical care provider breaches this duty of care and harms a patient, the injured patient may be able to recover damages under California’s medical malpractice laws. In California, the victims of medical malpractice can be entitled to recover compensation for a variety of losses, including their past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Medical malpractice is one of the more challenging areas of personal injury law, so it’s wise for victims of malpractice to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after sustaining their injuries. A personal injury attorney that specializes in medical malpractice can help their client build the strongest possible case in order to have the best chance of success against the at-fault medical practitioner's defense team, which may be backed by the deep pockets of a medical corporation.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in California, contact LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys have an expert understanding of California’s medical malpractice laws and fight tirelessly to recover justice and proper compensation for our clients.
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What is Medical Malpractice

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence that occurs when a health care professional harms a patient due to a negligent act or omission. Many types of harm can be caused by medical negligence, including birth injuries, missed diagnoses leading to a lack of necessary treatments, and catastrophic injuries caused by surgical mistakes, such as spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, and brain injuries.

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can result from a vast range of issues, including medical errors, medical failures, negligent action, negligent inaction, or intentional harm. Some of the more common causes of medical malpractice include: 

  • Anesthesia Errors
  • Failure to Inform Non-Infected Hospital Patients About Risk of Hospital Infections
  • Failure to Properly Inform Patient of Treatment Procedures, Benefits, or Risks
  • Failure to Provide Necessary and Timely Treatment
  • Failure to Refer Patient to a Specialist Physician
  • Financial Schemes That Result in Patient Harm
  • Harm Caused by Recklessness
  • Intentional Harm
  • Medication Errors 
  • Misdiagnosis or Delay in Diagnosis
  • Nursing Negligence
  • Performing Unnecessary Surgery
  • Premature Discharge
  • Providing a Wrong Treatment 
  • Surgical Errors
  • Understaffing, Under Trained Staff, or Lack of Staff Supervision
What are common causes of medical malpractice?
Who can you sue for medical malpractice in California?

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in California?

California’s medical malpractice laws apply to “medical care providers,” which is a term that applies to a variety of medical professionals. Types of medical care providers who may be held responsible for medical malpractice include: 

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Chiropractors 
  • Dentists 
  • Doctors
  • Hospitals
  • Medical Clinics
  • Medical Laboratories 
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists 
  • Pharmacists 
  • Physical Therapists 
  • Physician’s Assistants
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists 

It’s important to note that California is one of only seven states that does not follow a charitable immunity doctrine. This means that charitable organizations, such as nonprofit hospitals, are not immune from liability in a California medical malpractice case. California does have laws that give certain medical care providers, namely emergency medical care providers, some protection from liability in medical malpractice claims. However, emergency medical care providers can still be found liable in a medical malpractice claim if they are found to have committed gross negligence.

Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice if You’re Unhappy With Your Treatment Results?

Generally, California medical patients can hold healthcare providers responsible for injuries that were fully or partially the result of a negligent or malicious act. However, patients cannot hold a medical provider liable simply because their treatment yielded poor results, which may happen even with good or excellent medical care. Medical patients can only hold a healthcare provider responsible when their injuries were caused by treatment that was worse in quality than would have been reasonably provided by an ordinary doctor.

Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice if You’re Unhappy With Your Treatment Results?
Proving Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case

Proving Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case

In a medical malpractice case, the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. In order to successfully hold an at-fault part legally responsible for their actions, a medical malpractice victim must prove: 

  • That there was a doctor-patient relationship between the plaintiff and the health care provider.
  • That the health care provider owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
  • That the health care provider breached their duty of care. 
  • That the health care provider’s breach of their duty of care led to the plaintiff’s injuries. 
  • That the plaintiff sustained damages. 

Proving liability in a medical malpractice case in California can be challenging without expert legal assistance. Some of the more challenging elements to prove in this type of case are that the medical provider owed the plaintiff a certain standard of care, that the medical provider’s mistake caused the victim’s injuries, and that the plaintiff sustained a certain amount of damages. 

Proving that a medical provider owed their patient a certain standard of care is often one of the harder elements to prove in a medical malpractice case. Essentially, a plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant failed to act in the same way a reasonably careful health care provider would have in the same situation. Usually, proving this requires expert testimony from a medical professional that has knowledge of what would have been reasonable and careful care in the plaintiff’s unique situation. As such, expert witnesses can be invaluable in proving liability in a medical negligence case, which makes retaining experienced legal representation paramount. A medical malpractice attorney can assist their client in finding an expert witness that can establish what would have been reasonable in the injury victim’s specific case. 

Showing that the medical provider’s mistake caused the victim’s injuries can also be challenging in this type of case. This is another element which often must be supported by expert testimony to be effectively proved. A medical expert can testify as to whether or not an injury would have been sustained (or if the injuries would have been as severe) if the medical provider had not made a mistake. 

A third element that can be challenging for an injury victim to prove on their own is the full extent of their damages. Calculating the economic and non-economic impact of an injury sustained due to medical negligence is no small feat, nor is proving that your calculations and estimations would be fair and appropriate due to the unique circumstances of your case. However, a personal injury attorney that has experience settling and winning personal injury cases involving medical malpractice can assist an injury victim in proving their damages and estimating an accurate amount of damages for their tangible losses, intangible losses, and future losses. 

Damages Available in a Medical Malpractice Case in California

Victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to recover a variety of damages that are related to their losses. Economic damages and non-economic damages are generally available in California medical malpractice cases, and punitive damages may be available in certain cases.
Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a medical malpractice victim for their tangible economic losses. Examples of the types of economic damages that may be available in a California medical malpractice case include:
●   Medical Bills
●   Future Medical Expenses
●   Physical Therapy
●   Occupational Therapy
●   Prescription Medications
●   Nursing Costs
●   Lost Wages
●   Lost of Earning Capacity
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate a medical malpractice victim for their intangible losses, such as the suffering they’ve endured due to their serious injuries. Examples of the types of non-economic damages that may be available in a California medical malpractice case include:
●   Emotional Distress
●   Pain and Suffering
●   Inconvenience 
●   Scarring or Disfigurement
●   Loss of the Use of an Organ
●   Loss of the Use of a Limb
●   Loss of Enjoyment of Life
●   Loss of Consortium
Punitive Damages
In rare cases, an injury victim in a medical malpractice case may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by a judge as a way of punishing a defendant for particularly egregious behavior. Punitive damages may be awarded if a plaintiff shows clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted “maliciously, oppressively, or fraudulently.” When seeking punitive damages in a professional negligence claim, such as a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff will generally want to show evidence that the defendant acted either despicably, intentionally, or with a willful and conscious disregard for the health and safety of others.
Damage Caps in California Medical Malpractice Cases

Due to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA), there are certain limitations on medical malpractice damages in California that are not in place for general personal injury damages. There are no limitations on the amount of economic damages or punitive damages a plaintiff can receive. However, there is a cap on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff may recover through a medical malpractice case. The maximum amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice case is $250,000.

Statute of Limitations for California Medical Malpractice Cases

Statute of Limitations for California Medical Malpractice Cases

The amount of time a plaintiff has to sue is called a statute of limitations. In California, there are differing statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases involving legal adults and medical malpractice cases involving minors. 

The statute of limitations for adult medical malpractice cases is either three years from the date of the injury or one year after the victim discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) the injury, whichever is earlier. 

California’s medical malpractice statute of limitation for minors may vary based on the minors age at the time of the injury. If the minor was under 18 but six years or older at the time of their injury, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury. If a minor was under the age of six at the time of their injury, the statute of limitations is either their eighth birthday or three years from the date of the injury, whichever is later. 

The limitation periods outlined above are the standard periods for medical malpractice cases in California, but there are some exceptions to these standard timelines. Limitation periods can be “tolled,” which means they can be paused, under certain circumstances. California medical malpractice limitation periods may be tolled when a healthcare provider commits fraud, when a healthcare provider intentionally conceals wrongdoing, or when a misplaced foreign body is inside the injured person. A medical malpractice limitation may also be tolled when a minor’s parent or guardian colludes with an insurance company and/or health care provider in connection with a failure to file a medical malpractice claim or action on behalf of the minor.

Get Help From a Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in California, contact LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our expert medical malpractice lawyers can help you better understand your legal options and fight to protect your best interests. The team at our law firm has years of experience successfully settling and winning medical malpractice cases, including those involving a failure to diagnosis, surgical errors, birth injuries, and wrongful death. Our attorneys are here to serve injury victims from across Southern California, including those from Burbank, Glendale, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Riverside, Ventura, and many other parts of the Greater Los Angeles Area, Ventura County, and Orange County.

Call our personal injury law firm today at (213)LAWYERS (529-9377) to receive your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers.

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