Orange County Medical Malpractice Attorney
Have you suffered an injury because of an Orange County healthcare provider’s negligence? You may be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. This compensation can help to pay for costly medical bills, compensate for lost wages, and make up for the emotional trauma you have endured. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo to learn about the benefits of filing a medical malpractice claim and how we can help to get you the money you need.
What is Medical Malpractice?
When we are sick, injured, or unwell we turn to doctors and other medical professionals for help. These professionals have specialized training that allows them to diagnose and treat complex medical issues. We expect that these doctors will act with our best interests at heart and do everything in their power to keep us safe. In order to make sure that doctors and medical health professionals do not unnecessarily harm their patients, California’s medical malpractice laws impose a legal duty on doctors to act with a certain level of care.
Standard of Care
In California, medical professionals must adhere to a heightened standard of care when diagnosing and treating patients. This standard of care requires them to act with the “level of skill, knowledge, and care that other reasonably careful medical professionals would use” under similar circumstances. The foundation of this standard of care is obtaining the required education and training that are necessary to provide safe and helpful medical care.
How is a doctor’s standard of care established? Since there are so many different types of medical professionals and an endless number of potential scenarios for treatment or diagnosis, few situations will be the same. As a result, expert witnesses and third-party testimony will generally be required to establish the standard of care that would have been appropriate in each specific case.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional breaches this standard of care and causes harm. In order to recover compensation from a medical malpractice lawsuit, an injured victim will have to prove:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed;
- The doctor had a duty to treat and/or diagnose you with a certain level of care;
- The doctor breached this duty of care;
- Your injury was caused (directly or indirectly) because of the doctor’s negligence; and
- You suffered damages because of the malpractice and resulting injury.
When Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Orange County?
If you have suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s negligence you may be entitled to compensation. However, in order to recover the money you need and deserve you will have to act quickly. California laws limit the amount of time you have to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims must be filed within (a) one year of the reasonable discovery of your injury or (b) three years from the date of the injury, whichever occurs first. This basically means that you will have three years from the date of the malpractice incident to file a personal injury claim. Failure to file a medical malpractice claim before the statute of limitations expires may prohibit you from getting the money you need.
There are certain times when you there could be no reasonable way for you discover your medical malpractice injury. The best example of this is when a surgeon leaves a sponge or towel in your body during a surgery and closes you up without removing it. Since there is no reasonable way for you to discover this injury (without having additional surgeries or becoming violently ill), the statute of limitations can be extended in these situations. If a foreign object is left in your body you will have one year from the date of discovering its presence to file a medical malpractice claim.
Who Is Legally Responsible for Medical Malpractice Injuries?
In California, anyone who contributes to the cause of your medical malpractice injury can be held financially responsible in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even if one specific doctor, nurse, or technician may have directly caused your injury, others may have also played a role behind the scenes. When more than one person/party is responsible for your injury, liability will be divided amongst the group. Each at-fault party will be held responsible to the degree they caused your harm.
Potentially liable parties in Orange County medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Physician’s Assistants
- Physical Therapists
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Medical practices and hospitals
- Hospital administrators, and
- Medical staff.
What Damages Can I Recover With an Orange County Medical Malpractice Claim?
Injuries that are the result of medical malpractice can be incredibly painful, expensive, and stressful. These injuries may require extensive medical care, cause you to miss time at work, and leave you with irreversible and chronic pain. Fortunately, filing a medical malpractice claim can allow you to recover compensation to cover the full extent of the harms you have suffered. In California, victims are generally entitled to ask for both compensatory and non-economic damages.
Compensatory damages, which are also known as economic damages, can be awarded to compensate you for the verifiable financial costs you have suffered (and expect to suffer) because of your medical malpractice injury. The purpose of these compensatory damages is to put you back in the position you would have been in financially had you never suffered the injury. Commonly awarded compensatory damages include:
- Medical treatment
- Nursing care
- Lost Wages, and
- Reduced earning capacity.
Some of your injuries may not necessarily have direct financial consequences. Suffering a traumatic event and painful injury can take its toll in other ways, hurting you emotionally and psychologically. Non-economic damages can be awarded to compensate you for these subjective and hard-to-value harms. Commonly awarded non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
What Should I Do If I’ve Suffered a Medical Malpractice Injury?
If you suffer an injury because of a medical professional’s negligence you may be overwhelmed with emotion and stress. While filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may not be the first thing that comes to mind, it is important to understand that the decisions you make immediately after your accident will affect any future legal action you pursue. Keeping the following suggestions in mind after you suffer a medical malpractice injury will keep you safe and preserve valuable evidence for any future legal claims.
Get Medical Help: It is important to get your injury checked out as soon you learn about it. If left untreated, your injury could become a threat to your health and safety. The medical report that is generated from your visit will help to prove that your injury was the result of medical negligence.
Gather Evidence: Take the time to document your injury thoroughly. Take photographs, write down your symptoms, and collect other pieces of evidence to support your case. Your attorney will be able to use the information you provide as a basis for a future legal claim.
Refuse Early Offers: Doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies will be eager to offer you an early settlement. While this money may be appetizing at a time when you are strapped for cash, it is important to resist the temptation to accept it. In most cases, these early settlement offers will not be sufficient to cover the full extent of your medical malpractice injuries. A thorough investigation of the incident and evaluation of your injuries should be conducted to determine the true value of your claim.
Call a Lawyer: Hiring an attorney to handle your medical malpractice claim is the best thing you can do after an accident. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be incredibly complicated and are best handled by an attorney who is familiar with California’s medical malpractice law and procedure. An attorney will be able to navigate the complex legal issues, conduct a thorough investigation into the malpractice incident, and create a persuasive legal claim.
Orange County Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you have suffered an injury because of a doctor’s medical negligence you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo to learn about how we can help you maximize the compensation you receive. Our Orange County medical malpractice attorneys have more than 35 years of legal experience and have handled thousands of complex personal injury claims. We understand that an injury can change your life forever, and we will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the harms you have suffered. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, answer the questions you have, and explain your legal options.