When individuals seek medical treatment from a physician or other medical professional, they place their trust in the professional's ability to render proper medical care. When that trust is shattered by negligent or incompetent conduct, it generally has significant and long lasting consequences. Unfortunately, the judicial system cannot return the person to the health they enjoyed before the negligent treatment. However, it can offer an individual monetary relief that will ease the financial burdens that always accompany negligent medical care.
Negligent medical care generally results in significant medical expenses, lost wages and other significant economic losses. Of course, a person who has received negligent medical care is most often permanently injured and faces a lifetime of pain and suffering and mental anguish. Inevitably, the injured person's spouse and entire family is impacted. Whether the injured person is a husband, wife or child, the lives of other members of the family are inalterably changed and result in greater burdens for all family members.
Persons who have been the victim of medical malpractice are entitled to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. An award for pain and suffering includes not only the physical pain which the person has endured, but also the mental anguish which accompanies that pain. In addition, the person has a right to recover economic costs such as changes to their home that are necessary due to their new disability and medical equipment essential for their survival. The spouse of the injured person has the right to recover for the loss of consortium or services and companionship of their spouse.
Medical malpractice actions are extremely complicated to pursue. The insurance companies which handle the claims on behalf of the physicians and other medical professionals are very aggressive in defending claims against the physicians and hospitals they insure. In addition, the physician generally must consent to any settlement. This generally results in most cases being litigated. In the State of Georgia, a lawsuit generally cannot even be commenced unless the affidavit of a physician setting forth the negligence of the Defendant is attached to the complaint. Since many physicians will not give an affidavit against a fellow physician in the same city, a nationwide search for an expert to testify for the injured person is generally required.
Because of the complexity of medical malpractice actions, it is important that they be pursued as soon as possible after the negligent conduct. Medical records and bills have to be gathered and reviewed by the person handling the claim. After an expert witness is identified, he or she must review the records and confirm the existence of the negligent conduct. A lawsuit and affidavit for the expert must then be drafted and filed. Of course, these things take a great deal of time, energy and resources. It is important that a person who believes they have been the victim of medical malpractice have their case reviewed as soon as possible by a qualified attorney who can advise them whether they have a viable claim.
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