San Fernando Valley Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Representation for Medical Malpractice Injuries
Some of the most difficult kinds of personal injuries are caused by medical negligence. A person that has a medical condition which prompts them to seek medical treatment is already dealing to some degree with painful and inconvenient physical symptoms. They seek help from trusted medical professionals.
It is because medical professionals stand in a position of trust and confidence to their patients that they are held to a standard of ordinary care in the rendering of their professional services.
If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered wrongful death due to the professional negligence of a medical provider you can turn to medical malpractice attorney Jacob Regar to advise you of your rights.
I offer my professional experience to help victims of substandard medical care recover for the painful and inconvenient physical symptoms that they must bear to live with.
There is no question that the road to justice in a medical malpractice case is replete with heavy opposition. That's why you need a fierce advocate to take a chance and commit to discovering the evidence that proves your case.
CONTACT ME today to discuss your facts. If I believe I can help you receive the compensation that you are entitled to, I will offer to represent you on a contingency fee basis. That means you will not pay legal fees which do not include case costs unless you win your case.
I will provide a FREE consultation. I will spend the necessary time with you to fully evaluate your case. And when necessary I will speak with my medical consultant for further insight into your facts.
I provide the information below as a guide to help explain some of the concepts related to medical malpractice litigation. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. And you may also share this information with others if you believe it will be helpful for them.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence?
Physicians, surgeons, nurses, dentists, and hospitals are required to exercise the level of care of other such professionals and medical facilities under the same or similar circumstances. Failure to do so constitutes negligence.
Each group of health professionals is held to the standard of care of their respective profession or specialty (e.g., anesthesiologists are held to the standard of care in their specialty, vocational nurses in their profession, hospitals to the standard of care within their industry, etc.).
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice (though, not an exclusive list):
- Failure to timely refer patient to specialist
- Rx dosage errors
- Failure to warn patient of risks that their condition poses to third persons
- Unclean exam room causing bacterial infection
- Patient abandonment
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to identify surgery complication
- Incorrect methods used to stop bleeding
- Negligent wound care
- Postoperative infection
- Administering incorrect drug
- Administering wrong drug dosage
- Failure to consult physician on behalf of patient
- Failure to properly monitor and assess patient condition
- Failure to supervise patient when patient ambulating
- Responsibility for negligence of nurse employees
- Failure to screen and evaluate employees
- Unclean facility which causes patient infection
- Unsafe facility such as when patient falls from bed or slips and falls
- Unsafe facility such as when a hospital fails to protect patients from harming themselves or others
A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove a causal link between the negligence of the medical provider and their claimed injury. This is called causation. The plaintiff will need to hire an expert witness to offer evidence that proves the professional standard of care was breached and the negligence therefore caused the plaintiff's injuries.
Causation works like this: The plaintiff's expert witness must be able to testify that in their opinion they believe to a reasonable degree of medical probability the defendant health care professional's negligence is a legal cause of the physical injuries claimed by the plaintiff. "Probability" as the term is used here simply means the evidence tips the scales at least 51% in favor of the plaintiff's case.
Thus, the plaintiff must prove that if the defendant medical professional was not negligent, they would have had a better result. This may be difficult if the evidence tends to show that the plaintiff's medical condition would have caused them harm even if the medical professional was not negligent.
The law also allows the defendant to raise an affirmative defense. If the evidence exists, the defendant will attempt to prove the plaintiff failed to provide for their own well-being. A
patient must seek necessary medical care and follow their doctor's instructions. If the defendant can prove that the plaintiff did not take responsibility for their own medical condition and as a consequence the plaintiff suffered harm, the plaintiff's case may be lost.
Further, there is a saying in medical negligence defense that goes "mistakes do not necessarily equal bad medicine." This highlights the policy of not holding medical providers to a standard of perfection; a protection without which the pool of medical providers would shrink in the face of constant fear of liability for unsuccessful treatment and even reasonable errors. It is only through consulting other medical professionals that plaintiffs can learn whether they were harmed because of negligence.
What is Expert Testimony?
In the majority of medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff's attorney will need to hire medical experts to render opinions that qualify as admissible evidence in order to prove the plaintiff's case.
Expert testimony is needed when the medical conduct in question is outside of the common knowledge of a lay person. The only time expert testimony is not needed is when the professional negligence is so obvious that even a lay person can easily understand that the professional failed to render services in accord with good and accepted practice of their profession. For example, when a surgeon leaves a pair of scissors in the patient or operates on the wrong leg.
Even prior to retaining medical experts for opinion testimony in litigation, a medical malpractice attorney will consult a medical professional to learn whether the known evidence tends to point to malpractice as the cause of the patient's harm.
When medical negligence can be proved to be the cause of your harm, you are entitled to economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include reimbursement for medical bills which have been incurred by the plaintiff because of the health care provider's negligence and that have not been paid by private insurance. Future medical costs that are proven to be reasonably necesssary may be recovered. Also compensable are lost wages (past, present, and future), and costs expended for reasonable medical supplies.
Noneconomic damages include compensation for the pain and suffering and emotional distress that accompanies personal injuries. Sadly, in California, pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases are capped at $250,000. This is a rediculous law, especially because it was enacted almost 40 years ago and has not been adjusted to reflect the rate of inflation. If a doctor commits negligence and causes paralysis to a patient, the patient cannot recover more than $250,000 for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the period of time in which a plaintiff can file a lawsuit against the defendant. This area of the law is vital to every case and in medical malpractice cases, it is quite short. When a California state or county health care facility is the defendant, the statute is even shorter.
Generally, if someone sues for injury or death because of the professional negligence of a health care provider, the lawsuit must be filed within 1 year from the date the injury was discovered or through reasonable diligence should have been discovered or 3 years from the injury, whichever occurs first. If you are suing the state or county, you must file an administrative claim with the government agency within 6 months of the injury. Failure to provide the appropriate government entity with the required notice will result in the loss of the right to sue the responsible party for your injuries.
The Federal Torts Claims Act governs medical malpractice lawsuits brought against federal medical facilities and federal health care professional employees. The statute of limitations for tort claims brought against the federal government requires the plaintiff to (1) file an administrative claim with the proper federal agency within 2 years from the time the claim arose; and, (2) file a lawsuit within 6 months after the federal agency mails a notice denying the claim.
There are additional rules relating to the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. It is crucial to consult a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case as soon you believe your injuries were caused by negligence in a health care setting.
CALL me today for a case evaluation.