The firm has a record that includes many multi-million dollar cases.
We should be able to trust doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals with our safety and wellbeing. They spend years studying to ensure that they can provide the best possible care to their clients. While the vast majority of those working in the medical profession do not ever aim to harm their patients, accidents and mistakes can happen. These situations may result in significant emotional, mental, or economic suffering for clients.
These events fall under the legal umbrella of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one have experienced significant pain or loss as the result of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Navigating the legal system when dealing with a medical malpractice case can be overwhelming. Having the guidance and resources that an experienced, trustworthy Irvine, CA medical malpractice attorney provides can offer confidence and peace of mind as you finalize your claim. It can also help you better understand everything that goes into a medical malpractice case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice has been a part of society for generations, with evidence dating as far back as Ancient Rome. Individuals have been able to pursue medical malpractice cases in the United States since the early 1800s, but they did not become common until the 1970s. It is important to note that while medical malpractice cases are fairly common in the US, there are no federal laws regulating how they are handled. Each state can determine its own laws and regulations, but many of them follow the same general structure.
Legally, medical malpractice refers to any situation where the actions or lack of action taken by a doctor, surgeon, or other medical professionals directly caused a patient major losses. There are a variety of cases that could be considered medical malpractice in Irvine. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases involve a medical professional not warning a patient of the risks of a procedure, misdiagnosing, failing to diagnose an illness, or providing treatment that does not meet a reasonable standard. Anything done or not done by a medical professional that has a significant negative impact on a patient could be considered medical malpractice, but it can be difficult to prove legally.
What Do You Have to Prove fora Medical Malpractice Case?
Since there are no federal laws regulating medical malpractice cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint the specific things that you will need when preparing for a medical malpractice case. Fortunately, most medical malpractice cases follow a similar timeline. In any case, involving medical malpractice or medical negligence, it is up to the injured party to prove that some wrongdoing occurred. Typically, there are four things that you will have to prove in a medical malpractice case:
Prove that there was a relationship between the patient and the medical provider. This is often the easiest step to complete, but it is also one of the most important. No action can be taken against a medical provider for medical negligence or malpractice if it is not clear whether or not they were working directly with the patient. Once a doctor/patient relationship has been established, you must then prove that the doctor failed to provide reasonable care.
Prove that the doctor had a duty of care to the patient and failed to meet it. This step is essentially providing evidence that your medical provider failed to treat your medical condition with the same care that any of their peers would have. It does not mean that you were simply unhappy with the care you received. This element of a medical malpractice case can often be proven using expert testimony from other professionals in the same field.They can outline what kind of response or action would typically be taken in the same situation. When this step has been completed, you move to arguably the most difficult element of the case.
Prove that the medical negligence of the doctor was directly responsible for the patient’s injury or losses. Mistakes are a part of life, regardless of your profession, so simply proving that your doctor or surgeon made a mistake is not enough to constitute medical malpractice. This third step of a medical malpractice case requires that the patient provides clear evidence that the specific actions of their doctor were responsible for their losses. One essential piece of this step is establishing that you do not have any other medical conditions that may have contributed to your injury or loss. If that evidence is provided, you will then move to the final step.
Prove that the patient has suffered significant losses as a result of the malpractice. These losses are most frequently referred to as damages, and it goes beyond simply money that was lost. There are two types of damages that you can request in a medical malpractice claim in California. First, economic damages are the monetary losses you suffered and might include lost wages or the costs of additional medical treatment you needed. Second, non-economic damages refer to physical, mental, and emotional losses and may include depression or anxiety. Non-economic damages are often more difficult to prove, and settlement payments for them are currently capped at $250,000.
Once you have provided solid, tangible evidence for each of the elements of your medical malpractice case, you will wait for a final verdict. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, like the team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates, can help make the process more manageable.
How Can an Irvine Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help?
Recovering from a medical procedure can be difficult in its own right, but that is multiplied significantly when you are also faced with a legal battle. Medical malpractice cases can be overwhelming for individuals who are not familiar with all the necessary steps in the case. Working with a medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance and support during the process.
Kenneth M. Sigelman is uniquely equipped to assist clients in medical malpractice cases. His background as both an attorney and a medical doctor provides him with a depth of knowledge associated with both sides of the case. He has dedicated his career to helping clients navigate medical malpractice and personal injury cases and strives to ensure the best outcome.
Kenneth M. Sigelman has also surrounded himself with a team that shares these values and is dedicated to serving its clients. The team’s decades of experience, along with their familiarity with California medical malpractice laws, makes Kenneth M. Sigelman an ideal attorney to lead you through your medical malpractice case.
Medical Malpractice Cases FAQS:
Q: Who Can Sue for Medical Malpractice in California?
A: Any patient in California who has experienced injury or loss as a result of improper medical care can sue for medical malpractice. For adults, a malpractice claim must be filed within three years of the incident or within a year of when the patient learned about the malpractice if the injury was not discovered within the prescribed time. For children, a claim related to medical negligence must be filed within three years or before their eighth birthday for children younger than six.
Q: For How Much Can You Sue a Doctor for Medical Malpractice Claim in California?
A: There are two types of damages for which you could receive compensation in California. The first is economic loss, which refers to lost wages or the cost of additional medical care. There is no limit to how much a patient can sue for these damages in a medical malpractice case. The second type of damage, non-economic, refers to any emotional or mental strain that results from medical negligence. These damages are currently capped at $250,000 but will be raised beginning in January of 2023.
Q: Who Can Be Held Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?
A: In most medical malpractice cases, the medical professional that provided substandard care is the one held liable. These individuals had a duty to care for their patients properly and did not meet that duty. There are some instances when the patient may also be held partially liable in California, such as if a patient does not follow the recommendations of medical personnel and makes their injury worse. This is called shared liability and could have a significantly negative impact on a patient’s settlement.
Q: What Is Legal Malpractice in California?
A: You should always be able to trust the medical malpractice attorney with whom you are working. As with the medical profession, those in the legal profession are also held to a standard of care for their clients. Unfortunately, there are instances when medical malpractice attorneys violate that duty. Whether it is a small mistake that causes their client economic loss or involves intentional wrongdoing within a case, legal malpractice is a significant problem that can cause clients to lose faith in their lawyer.
Working with an experienced, trustworthy, knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney is an essential piece to a successful case. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has almost eight decades of combined experience to guide you through your medical malpractice case. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, contact us today.
Kenneth M. Sigelman and Associates possesses an exceptional and thorough knowledge of California law, decades of legal experience and a commitment to achieve justice and obtain fair compensation for victims. Click below to learn more about our team of San Diego, CA attorneys.
KEN SIGELMAN J.D., M.D.
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