Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney
For years, Atlanta medical malpractice attorney Stacey Carroll defended doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice cases. The knowledge and experience he gained regarding how the other side approaches, litigates and settles malpractice cases have proved invaluable in representing injured patients harmed by medical error. At the Carroll Law Firm, we combine our expertise in the law with an extensive network of experts to build a strong case that proves the negligence of doctors and nurses, hospitals and other medical professionals and helps you get the care and compensation you need after you’ve been injured by medical malpractice.
Count on the Carroll Law Firm for outstanding representation and excellent results in any Atlanta medical malpractice case, including:
- Anesthesia Errors
- Birth Injury
- Diagnosis Errors
- Doctor/Nurse Errors
- Hospital Errors
- Medication Errors
- Surgical Errors
Medical mistakes don’t just happen; they happen A LOT
A 2016 study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine determined that medical errors account for over a quarter of a million fatalities annually, making medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the country. It’s hard to know precisely just how many deaths occur due to medical error, since “medical malpractice” is not an option for the coroner to select when filling out a death certificate. For instance, if a patient is given the wrong medication and suffers a fatal heart attack, the official cause of death is “myocardial infarction,” even though that needless death could have been prevented with better care and attention on the part of the doctor, nurse or hospital.
Whether death or serious injury, it’s hard for the patient or family to know what happened. Surgeries and other medical procedures involve risks, and medical treatment isn’t always effective. If a patient’s condition worsens or an unexpected outcome occurs, the patient and members of the family may have no way of knowing whether a surgical error, medication error, or some other medical mistake was responsible. Don’t expect that the hospital will volunteer such information, though.
Sometimes a health care provider who witnessed the mistake or has direct knowledge of the malpractice will come forward and report it, but often medical professionals not only stay silent about malpractice, but they stand behind and support each other even when they know wrongdoing was involved.
Stacey Carroll is an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who has longstanding relationships with a number of different medical experts. Working together, the staff and experts at the Carroll Law Firm are able to get a handle on whether malpractice occurred and prove it in court.
Atlanta Medical Malpractice FAQs
How long do you have to file a medical malpractice claim? Can you sue for malpractice if you already signed a consent form? How do you even know if medical malpractice occurred or not? These are just some of the questions we get at the Carroll Law Firm as we help people who have been hurt by medical error at an Atlanta hospital or doctor’s office. Read below for answers to these and other frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or need to speak with a lawyer about a potential malpractice claim, call the Carroll Law Firm in Atlanta at 404-816-4555 for a no-cost, confidential consultation with an experienced and successful Atlanta medical malpractice attorney.
Q. How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim?
A. The statute of limitations in Georgia gives you two years from the date of injury or death to file a lawsuit in court. In the case of a foreign object left inside you due to surgical error, you have one year from the date of discovery. There is also a five-year statute of repose from the date of the negligent act or omission. So, if the negligent act itself did not immediately injure you, you have two years from the date of actual injury, so long is it is not more than five years from the time of the negligent act. Additionally, different statutes of limitation and repose apply if the victim is a minor.
These timelines can be confusing, but it is vital to understand them, as missing a deadline to file can be disastrous to your case. Make sure you find a meticulous medical malpractice attorney to help you who is known for his diligence and attention to detail.
Q. Can I sue for malpractice if I signed a consent form before the procedure?
A. Yes. You’ll sign a lot of forms when you are admitted to a hospital, including general admission and consent forms, Medicare and Georgia Medicaid forms. In these forms you consent in general to accepting treatment at the hospital, including testing, x-rays, blood draws and other necessary procedures. You may also sign a specific consent form before surgery. These forms acknowledge that you consent to the procedure and understand the risks and complications involved. They are not waivers of liability for negligence or medical malpractice. Doctors and nurses must still provide the level of care required by their profession, and they can be held liable if they don’t.
Q. How do I know if a medical mistake occurred during my procedure?
A. Unless you are a trained physician or work in the medical field, this is a difficult question that you probably can’t answer for yourself. If the outcome of the procedure was worse than you expected or you were harmed in some other way, share your concern with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney can get a hold of your medical records and have them reviewed by an appropriate medical expert. If the expert believes you may have been the victim of malpractice, they’ll let you know. Meanwhile, make sure you are getting appropriate medical treatment for your condition, even if it means finding another doctor or transferring to another facility. The Carroll Law Firm will meet with you at no charge to help you figure out if you have a medical malpractice claim you should pursue.
Q. How do I get a copy of my medical records from the hospital?
A. The best way is to submit a written request. Make sure your name and other information, such as your social security number, patient number and date of birth, match the information you provided when you were admitted. The hospital may have forms for you to fill out, such as a Patient Access Request/Authorization form. The process may seem complicated, but remember the hospital has to comply with patient confidentiality laws such as HIPAA. Another difficulty is that you may not know which records to request, or which particular provider you need to ask. This is where a medical malpractice lawyer can help. They’ll know how to get the appropriate records and can request them on your behalf once they are representing you.
Q. When can I get punitive damages for medical malpractice?
A. Most of the damages awarded in a medical malpractice case are “compensatory” damages that are tied to the harm done, such as the cost of additional medical bills, lost income due to time missed from work or disability, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, etc. “Punitive” damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the defendant for especially bad conduct. In Georgia, punitive damages are available in cases involving willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or a complete lack of care showing a conscious indifference to consequences.
Punitive damage awards cannot exceed $250,000 by law, except that this cap does not apply to cases involving intentional harm or the use of drugs or alcohol. A doctor who performed surgery while intoxicated, or a nurse who knowingly re-used hypodermic needles, might be situations where punitive damages are appropriate. Each case has to be evaluated on its own; there is no list of types of injuries where punitive damages would be appropriate.
The plaintiff must prove the applicability of punitive damages through “clear and convincing evidence.” This is a tougher legal standard than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard required to prove other elements of a medical malpractice case. Even though it is harder to prove punitive damages, at the Carroll Law Firm, we put in the extra time and effort to prepare and present a compelling argument for punitive damages in appropriate cases.
Thorough preparation and diligence before a malpractice case is ever filed
Hiring a medical expert witness isn’t just a good idea; it’s the law. Georgia medical malpractice cases require the injured patient to file an Affidavit of Expert, or else the judge will dismiss the case. This affidavit includes the specific opinion of a qualified expert regarding whether a negligent act occurred and whether that negligence caused the injury or harm in question. At the Carroll Law Firm, we put in a great deal of work before a complaint is ever filed, so that your petition for relief is as solid and strong as it can be. Preparation is a key component to any successful medical malpractice claim, and our detail-oriented and attentive medical malpractice attorney ensures that every case is thoroughly researched and meticulously organized.
Get the Help You Need after an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Injury
If you believe that a doctor’s, nurse’s or Atlanta hospital’s medical mistake may have caused a severe injury to you or a family member, call the Carrol Law Firm at 404-816-4555 for a free consultation with a dedicated and successful Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer.