We reasonably expect our doctors and other healthcare providers to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions. While many healthcare providers achieve satisfactory and sometimes even outstanding results, they are not infallible. Doctors and other healthcare providers can and do make mistakes – sometimes with grave consequences.

If you are considering suing a negligent doctor for malpractice, here is the information you will need to know about this process.

How Is Medical Malpractice Defined in Georgia?

Georgia law states that healthcare providers must exercise “a reasonable degree of care and skill” and that if they don’t, they can be financially liable for any injuries they cause.

In practical terms, this generally means that licensed healthcare providers must provide you with the skilled care another medical provider in the same field would provide under similar circumstances.

Requirements for Suing a Doctor for Malpractice

To sue a doctor for malpractice, you must be able to prove the following legal elements:

  • You had a doctor-patient relationship with the clinician.
  • The doctor failed to perform their duties with the appropriate skill, care, or competency.
  • The doctor’s failure caused you injury or killed your loved one.

Most medical malpractice cases come down to being able to prove how the doctor’s mistake caused an injury. 

Additional Requirement: Certificate Of Merit

Georgia law also requires that you provide a certificate of merit at or near the time of filing your lawsuit. A certificate of merit is a document that another licensed doctor provides that states there is a reasonable basis for the malpractice lawsuit in their professional judgment. The certificate of merit states the care fell outside the acceptable standard of care and is signed under oath. 

Time Limit To Sue For Malpractice

It is also important to keep in mind Georgia’s time limit to sue for medical malpractice. The statute of limitations to sue for medical malpractice in Georgia is generally two years. However, there may be times when the time limit is extended. For example, if a foreign object is left in a patient, the statute of limitations is one year from when the foreign object is discovered. 

Suppose you had surgery three years ago. During the surgery, the surgeon left a sponge in your body cavity. You just discovered the sponge when you had complications, had a new surgery, and your new doctor removed the foreign body. 

Under the general statute of limitations, you would be unable to sue because it has already been more than two years since the medical malpractice occurred. However, under this narrow exception, you will have one year from the date you discovered the sponge. 

There are other exceptions, too, such as if the patient was disabled or a minor. Georgia has a separate statute of repose that does not apply to the foreign object exception that gives an upward limitation period of five years. However, there are also situations when there may be less time to file your claim, such as if you are suing a doctor employed by the government.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can review your particular situation and explain the deadline that applies to your case.

Putting It All Together With Help From a Medical Malpractice Attorney

As you can see, suing a doctor for medical malpractice is a complex undertaking. You will need substantial evidence to file a viable claim. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you meet your burden of proof by:

  • Investigating the situation and determining how you were hurt
  • Gathering evidence to show how the injury occurred, such as surgical videos, medical records, personnel records, or witness statements
  • Coordinating your care so that your conditions are properly diagnosed and treated
  • Working with medical experts to help establish your claim
  • Compiling information about your losses
  • Negotiating for compensation with the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance provider

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm For Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers

2 Ravinia Dr NE
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346