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When Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

According to a Forbes Advisor article on medical malpractice statistics, “California had the highest number of medical malpractice claims per capita, with 4,638 reports in 2022.” If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if you have a case and advocate for you to obtain maximum compensation. In this post, we address the different components and complexities of a medical malpractice case.

When do I need a medical malpractice attorney? What you need to know:

Understanding A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical malpractice lawsuits are a type of civil legal action in which the victim or their family seeks accountability for injuries or death caused by the health care provider’s failure to meet the standard of care. While the precise standard of care may differ, depending on the circumstances and the patient’s medical history, it is generally defined as the provider’s duty to act within the accepted standards of their profession or specialty. In other words, the healthcare provider must act as other reasonably skilled, careful, and knowledgeable providers would.

To bring forward a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must prove that:

  • The healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care.
  • The provider breached that duty due to negligence or other medical errors.
  • The breach of duty substantially caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  • The plaintiff suffered actual damages because of the injury.

In addition to proving negligence (breach of duty), plaintiffs must also prove causation and damages. They need to demonstrate that a medical provider’s substandard care was more likely than not the cause of their injuries and that if a provider acted in a manner a reasonably skilled and careful provider would be expected to act, the patient would not have suffered the injury they did. Proving causation often requires plaintiffs and attorneys to work with medical experts who can opine (state their opinion) about how treatments aligned with the acceptable standard of care would have avoided the patient's injuries.

Attorney Involvement In A Medical Malpractice Claim

A medical malpractice attorney will help determine whether or not the medical professional involved was negligent and to what extent. Determining when a provider’s actions rose to the level of medical negligence will depend on your situation's specific facts and what occurred before the injury. One of the first questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney is whether they believe your claim is valid. An experienced attorney will listen to the facts of your case and let you know the potential opportunities and drawbacks. Medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex and require extensive evidence of negligence. Even if you are convinced that your case is solid, there may be underlying reasons why it wouldn’t succeed in court, and an expert lawyer can help you understand why.

By investigating what happened, reviewing medical records, and working with medical experts who help us evaluate the quality of care provided by medical professionals, our team of California personal injury attorneys can help patients and families better understand whether negligence may have caused their injuries.

Recovering Damages

Medical malpractice victims have a right to recover financial compensation for their damages. This compensation is crucial in addressing the extensive and multifaceted impact of medical malpractice, which can profoundly affect the victims' immediate and long-term well-being. The following categories outline the types of damages that the victim or their loved ones can claim:

  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Future medical care, rehabilitation, therapy, and treatment
  • Special accommodations, assistive care, medical devices, and medications
  • Lost income and lost future wages
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional suffering
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

These compensations address the need to cover immediate and future medical expenses, provide the necessary support for daily living, and address the economic burden of lost wages. Additionally, they acknowledge the profound physical and emotional suffering endured by victims. Understanding the range of recoverable damages is crucial for ensuring that victims receive the comprehensive support needed to rebuild their lives.

California Damages Cap

To understand the extent of financial compensation you are entitled to, it is important to review bill AB 35, a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in May 2022. California updated its damages cap policy for the first time in nearly 50 years.

This is an important legal update and one that helps correct a policy that has been heavily criticized by advocates who say caps unfairly impact only certain plaintiffs (such as non-working women, seniors, and children) and those who suffer the most serious harm. Nevertheless, a limit still exists under this law, which means that it remains critically important for victims in these actions to work with counsel capable of helping them pursue the maximum recovery possible. Learn more about the details of these changes here.

Working With Expert Medical Malpractice Lawyers In California

At Bostwick & Peterson LLP, we understand the profound impact that medical malpractice can have on your life. With decades of experience and record-breaking results, our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that victims receive the total compensation they are entitled to. We are committed to providing compassionate and professional legal support, guiding you through each step of the legal process to achieve justice and financial recovery.

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical malpractice, please contact us for a consultation. Our team is here to help you navigate your legal options and, most importantly, to secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. We are committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring that justice is served.

Contact us to set up a consultation to discuss your claim.