Medicine is one of the most challenging fields due to the inherent uncertainty surrounding the countless possible injuries and illnesses the human body might experience. Two people could be diagnosed with the exact same condition yet have vastly different symptoms and experiences. What works to treat one patient may not be effective for another, and many doctors are compelled to use their best judgment when it comes to treating their patients.
The term “standard of care” is central to most medical malpractice cases. This term defines the level of treatment that a patient requires for their diagnosis. The medical community determines the most appropriate methods of treating specific conditions based on the latest scientific research, and medical professionals are required to adhere to the standard of care their patient requires at all times. Professional negligence or intentional misconduct of any kind that causes harm to a patient may not only lead to the defendant facing substantial liability for the damage they’ve done, but also professional consequences including loss of their medical license.
Success with your medical malpractice suit in Los Angeles is likely to require you to prove that the defendant directly caused your claimed damages through their failure to meet the standard of care you required. Alternatively, you may need to prove their intentional misconduct resulted in your damages. A few of the most common types of medical malpractice claims our firm represents in Los Angeles include:
- Diagnostic errors. Any doctor who is required to diagnose a patient must do so following an appropriate differential diagnosis procedure. Failure to diagnose, providing an inaccurate diagnosis, or failure to diagnose a patient in a timely fashion are a few of the most commonly cited types of diagnostic errors that can lead to medical malpractice claims.
- Surgical errors. Surgery is inherently risky, and even minimally invasive procedures carry a degree of risk for a patient. If a surgeon makes a critical mistake during surgery they must correct it immediately and take full responsibility. Surgery errors can cause catastrophic harm to patients and sometimes impose long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Informed consent violations. Medical professionals must ensure patients have the ability to provide informed consent to any suggested medical treatment. This means the patient must be fully advised as to the potential risks and alleged benefits of any proposed treatment. Willful violation of informed consent is a major issue for any healthcare professional and they are likely to face disciplinary action from their medical board along with liability for the victim’s damages if they commit such violations willfully for any reason.
- Medication errors. Doctors who prescribe medications must do so following strict guidelines and always ensure proper dosages and instructions for their patients. Pharmacists are legally obligated to ensure they fill prescriptions accurately for all patients. If a patient suffers any adverse effects from a prescription, fault may fall to their prescribing doctor or the pharmacist who incorrectly filled the prescription.
- Birth injuries. Any injury to a child during the birthing process can lead to lifelong disabilities. Cerebral palsy is a common example of this resulting from oxygen deprivation and brain damage during delivery. If a physician or nurse is negligent in any way during childbirth, both the mother and the baby are at risk of injury.
Whatever type of medical malpractice you experienced, you face a few procedural requirements before you actually file your case and seek compensation from the defendant. You must provide advance warning of your intention to file your claim to the defendant, and this Notice of Intent to File Suit must be sent at least 90 days prior to the filing of your case. You must also secure a statement from a medical professional who has the same certifications as the defendant, explaining how they violated the standard of care in the situation and what they should have done differently. Once you meet these requirements, you can file your case and seek compensation for the losses you suffered.
Like most other personal injury cases, a medical malpractice suit could yield compensation for all economic losses you suffered because of the defendant’s actions. Under California’s medical malpractice laws, the plaintiff has the right to claim:
- Compensation for any corrective medical treatment they need to fully recover from the harm done by the defendant. If your injury caused you to face additional medical expenses, the defendant is responsible for paying for these treatment costs. Your attorney can help calculate all immediate and future medical expenses you can cite as economic damages in your medical malpractice suit.
- Repayment of lost income. If you cannot work during your recovery from the injury the defendant caused, they are responsible for repaying the income you were unable to earn during this time. This applies to vacation time or hours of paid time off you needed to use in the aftermath of your injury.
- Lost future earnings. Many people who are seriously injured by medical malpractice cannot work for long periods of time, or they could be left unable to work at all in the future. If your experience diminished your earning capacity, the defendant must repay these anticipated future losses, compensating you for the future income you are no longer able to earn.
Along with these economic damages, you also have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. However, while state law does not limit pain and suffering for most personal injury cases, there is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. A recently approved law took effect on January 1, 2023, increasing the previous cap of $250,000 to $350,000 for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This increases to $500,000 if medical malpractice results in wrongful death. Your Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney can help secure as much compensation as possible for the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life you suffered due to the defendant’s malpractice.
When you choose Easton & Easton to represent your medical malpractice claim in Los Angeles, our goal will be to maximize your total compensation as much as state law allows. We have the experience necessary to uncover every channel of compensation available to you, and we know how to streamline your proceedings to shorten the time it takes you to receive your compensation. Every victim of medical malpractice will face unique challenges as they seek compensation for their damages, and the right attorney is an invaluable asset to anyone in this difficult situation.
Q: What Does a Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorney Do?
A: Hiring legal counsel to help with your medical malpractice claim means you can focus on your recovery as your legal team manages your case on your behalf. They can help you meet the legal prerequisites of your case and assist you in establishing liability for your damages. Medical malpractice claims fall within the purview of personal injury law, but there are specific rules you must follow for this type of claim to be successful. Your attorney can help you meet all applicable requirements and seek maximum compensation for the damages you suffered.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim for Medical Malpractice in Los Angeles?
A: California law allows the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case to claim full repayment of all the financial losses they suffered from their experience. These may include the cost of corrective medical care, lost income during the time they could not work in recovery, and lost future income if they are too disabled to return to work due to their injury. Unfortunately, damages in medical malpractice claims are more restrictive than in other personal injury cases. State law recently increased the cap on non-economic damages to $350,000 and $500,000 for cases involving wrongful death, and this cap will increase each year until 2034. Your Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney can provide you with an estimate of the total compensation you could potentially recover from your case.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case in Los Angeles?
A: There is a three-year statute of limitations on most medical malpractice claims. However, if the injury is not immediately noticeable, the discovery rule can apply, and the plaintiff would have one year from the date they discovered their injury to file their claim. Alternative statutes of limitations may apply in other cases, such as when a defendant uses fraud or other concealment to hide the harm they have done or if a surgeon leaves a medical device inside of a patient’s body after surgery. It’s ideal to contact legal counsel you can trust and start the claim filing process as soon as possible.
Q: How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
A: Success with your medical malpractice suit in Los Angeles requires proving that the defendant directly caused your claimed damages through their failure to meet the standard of care you required for your condition. The standard of care is the minimum level of medical treatment a diagnosis requires, and all medical professionals must adhere to the standard of care for every patient they treat. Your Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney can be invaluable for gathering the evidence you will need to prove you suffered medical malpractice, such as a letter of support from a qualified medical professional who can explain how the defendant breached your standard of care.
Q: How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorney?
A: The attorneys at Easton & Easton will not make your economic situation worse with expensive attorney’s fees as your case unfolds. We take these cases on a contingency basis, only collecting our fee once we have won compensation for our client. Your contingency fee will be a portion of the total amount of compensation we win from your claim, and you pay nothing if we are unsuccessful with your case for any reason.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of experience helping clients in Los Angeles and surrounding communities with all types of personal injury cases, including complex medical malpractice suits. We know how difficult it can be for the average person to approach this type of case and the many questions they are likely to have in terms of their recovery options. The sooner you connect with our team, the sooner we can start guiding you through your proceedings and helping you reach the case award you deserve. Contact us today and set up a consult with a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney you can trust with your recovery.