Causation

Georgia law requires medical providers to use reasonable skill and care when treating patients. If a healthcare provider fails in their duty of care, they can be sued for medical malpractice. However, you must prove causation for a medical malpractice case in Georgia before receiving compensation for your injuries and damages.

What Are the Legal Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Atlanta, GA?

Suing a doctor for medical negligence and malpractice requires you to prove specific legal elements. You must prove:

  • You had a doctor-patient relationship with the healthcare provider, which created a duty of care
  • The doctor failed to perform their duties with the appropriate level of competency, skill, or care required
  • The doctor’s failure to provide the required standard of care caused you harm 
  • You sustained injuries and damages because of the medical provider’s actions or inactions

Georgia also requires that a victim of medical malpractice include a certificate of merit with their medical malpractice lawsuit. A licensed doctor must complete the certificate of merit explaining a reasonable basis for the medical malpractice claim. The certificate states that the care provided by the medical provider fell short of the standard of care for the case.

What Is Causation in a Medical Malpractice Claim in Atlanta, GA?

Causation is an essential element in a medical malpractice case. It can be one of the most challenging factors to prove. If you cannot directly link the doctor’s conduct to your injuries, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries.

Cause is why something happens. In a medical malpractice case, you must prove two elements of causation to win your case: factual cause and proximate cause.

Factual Cause in a Medical Malpractice Case

Factual cause is also known as actual case. It is the direct cause of your injuries. In other words, you would not have been injured “but for” a specific set of circumstances.

For example, you undergo surgery. You develop an infection that causes damage to one or more internal organs. You discover that the surgeon left a sponge inside of you when they performed the surgery. A medical expert testifies that leaving the sponge inside of you resulted in an infection that damaged your organs.

The direct or factual cause of your injuries was the doctor leaving a sponge inside of you during surgery. You would not have been injured if it were not for the doctor’s conduct.

Proximate Cause in a Medical Malpractice Case

Proximate cause involves the foreseeability of a medical provider’s actions. The medical provider must have been able to reasonably foresee that their actions could cause the patient injury. For example, it is reasonable to believe that leaving a foreign object in a patient during surgery could cause the patient harm.

What Types of Evidence Do We Use To Prove Causation in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer investigates what happened to you to gather evidence proving your claim. You will need sufficient proof to establish each element by a preponderance of the evidence.

Evidence in a medical malpractice case can include:

  • Testimony and opinions from medical experts
  • Medical records and statements
  • Witness statements from people who were present at the time of the malpractice
  • Your testimony
  • Videos and photographs of injuries
  • Correspondence with the healthcare provider and the insurance company
  • The medical provider’s employment history, claims of past malpractice, and complaints from patients
  • Results from diagnostic tests
  • Financial records proving financial losses

It takes time to investigate a medical malpractice claim, and Georgia’s statute of limitations limits your time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Generally, you have two years to file a claim, but there are exceptions when the time could be extended.

Contacting an attorney as soon as you suspect you are the victim of medical negligence or medical errors is in your best interest. Your attorney can begin an investigation to gather and preserve evidence while monitoring deadlines to file claims and lawsuits.

What Damages Can I Receive for a Medical Malpractice Claim in Georgia?

If you prove causation and the other elements of medical malpractice, you may receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Examples of damages in a medical malpractice case include:

  • Past and future medical bills and expenses, including surgeries, doctor’s bills, rehabilitative therapy, etc.
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Loss of income, including future lost wages, loss of benefits, and decreased earning capacity
  • Permanent impairments, disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including medical devices, travel expenses, household services, and long-term nursing/personal care
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life

The types and amounts of the damages you receive depend on the facts and circumstances in your case. 

Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer for a Free Consultation

An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can review your case during a free consultation and explain your legal options. Contact our Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers law office at (770) 390-7550 if you believe your doctor or medical provider caused you harm or injury.