What You Need to Know About Suing a Hospital in Georgia
You may find yourself in a position where your healthcare practitioner commits a medical error which results in physical or psychological harm. Here’s everything you need to know about suing a hospital in Georgia.
Georgia allows patients to sue a hospital for medical malpractice if they feel a medical professional wronged them in their treatment. To sue for medical malpractice in Georgia, an individual must prove a doctor did not uphold an appropriate standard of care which caused the patient harm.
Suing a Healthcare Practitioner in Georgia
Although healthcare practitioners are under oath to serve patients to their best ability, a doctor’s care may negatively impact you. Medical malpractice may happen due to:
• Surgical errors
• Diagnosis errors or misdiagnosis
• Hospital errors
• Anesthesia errors
• Emergency room negligence
• Failure to treat
• Birth injuries
• Medication errors
In most cases of medical malpractice, a patient will file a lawsuit against their healthcare provider, whether that be your nurse or physician.
Grounds for Medical Malpractice in Georgia
To successfully file for medical malpractice, you need to prove the following:
• The doctor’s conduct did not uphold the standard of care and;
• The doctor’s actions directly resulted in the patient’s injury or death (i.e., causation)
According to GA Code 9-11-9.1, an individual must acquire consultation from a medical professional who is willing to sign an affidavit to prove the existence of malpractice. The practitioner will review your case and patient notes and judge if the medical professional provided proper care.
According to GA Code 24-7-702, the expert has to be an individual from the same field as the malpractice. A Georgia court uses this expert’s medical testimony as primary evidence to prove that another reasonably competent healthcare professional would not have caused your injury if in a similar situation.
You must file the affidavit at the same time as the initial claim. It is possible to get a 45-day extension. The court will award these extensions on occasions when the lawsuit filing deadline is coming up and you’ve just recently hired your attorney.
Georgia’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Section 9-3-71 of the Georgia Code states an individual must bring any malpractice situation to light within two years of the injury or death caused by negligent behavior.
A court will not entertain any medical malpractice cases once five years have passed since the event.
If an injury or death caused by an act of malpractice happens five years after the procedure or consultation, then a patient cannot sue for the malpractice.
The exception to this rule is if a patient discovers a foreign object in their body—they then have one year to file for malpractice regardless of the Georgia statute of limitations.
If the patient is a child younger than five years old during the medical error, the patient must file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the procedure. If the child finds a foreign object in their body, they have another five years to file a claim.
Prosthetic aid, fixing devices, and chemical compounds do not count as foreign objects liable under this law.
Related: Georgia Medical Malpractice Laws
Economic Damages for Medical Malpractice in Georgia
There is a cap on the number of damages the victim can receive in a Georgia medical malpractice suit. The cap applies to non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, anxiety, scarring, or other similar traumas.
Georgia’s cap for such non-economic damages is $350,000 for any single healthcare provider. However, if multiple healthcare providers are involved, the cap rises to $700,000. Overall the cap is set to $1.05 million on non-economic damages for any medical malpractice case.
Georgia courts will occasionally deem this cap unconstitutional, and as such, it will not apply. Consult with an experienced Georgia malpractice attorney to ensure you receive your benefits.