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Bakersfield Medical Malpractice Attorneys

When Bakersfield residents, workers, and visitors go to an area doctor or hospital for treatment, they quite reasonably expect that the medical personnel and institutions involved will provide quality healthcare. Most of the time, they get the care they expect.

However, sometimes, doctors, nurses, and other medical workers fail to deliver a reasonable standard of care, and patients end up in worse shape than before. A doctor may misdiagnose their condition. Surgical tools may get left behind in their bodies after a procedure. Pharmacists and nurses may administer the wrong medicine, or an incorrect dosage.

The legal term for these potentially harmful mistakes is medical malpractice. Victims of medical malpractice have rights to compensation under California law. The experienced Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys represent injured patients in seeking that compensation.

Contact our Bakersfield Medical Malpractice Lawyers today for a free case consultation if you suspect a Bakersfield medical professional’s mistakes harmed you or a loved one.

About Our Law Medical Malpractice Law Firm

With offices throughout Southern California, including Bakersfield, Gomez Trial Attorneys is a top-rated law firm representing medical malpractice victims. Our mission is to hold individuals, companies, and government agencies accountable when their unreasonably dangerous actions cause someone else harm.

One area of our practice involves representing patients harmed by medical errors and other wrongdoing by medical professionals. Our seasoned attorneys have successfully represented patients in complex medical malpractice claims. One of those cases resulted in a $1,875,000 settlement for our client. Another resulted in a $2,100,000 settlement.

While we cannot guarantee any client will recover compensation for medical injuries, we can promise to commit the full measure of our experience, knowledge, and resources to seek justice for every one of our clients.

The Scope of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when health care providers fail to treat patients with the degree of expertise and care that a reasonably prudent medical provider in that area would use. This minimum requirement for medical treatment is known as the standard of care.

Medical malpractice can occur in virtually any healthcare setting: doctor’s offices, laboratories, diagnostic settings, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals, pharmacies, physical therapy offices, nursing homes, sperm banks, blood banks, and more.

The parties legally liable for committing medical malpractice can include:

  • Doctors, medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare organizations;
  • Nurses and their employers;
  • Pharmacists and their employers;
  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and their employers;
  • Surgical assistants and their employers;
  • Laboratory technicians and their employers;
  • Therapists and their employers; and
  • Testing laboratories.

Failures to deliver the standard of care can take any number of forms, depending on the patient’s health needs and circumstances.

Some common instances of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis of medical conditions, such as mistaking a life-threatening condition like COVID-19 for a relatively mild one, like a common cold;
  • Surgical and procedural errors, which can include leaving surgical implements in a patient’s body, operating on the wrong body part, performing unnecessary surgical procedures, or performing surgery without a reasonable degree of care or ability.
  • Information and communication errors, such as entering data on a patient’s chart incorrectly, or failing to take note of symptoms a patient complains about.
  • Medication errors, including prescribing medication without considering potentially harmful drug interactions, or administering the wrong medication or wrong dosage.

These are just a few examples. Patients can end up worse off because of virtually any kind of medical error. Doctors, nurses, and medical professionals are human. Like all of us, they make mistakes. Unfortunately, their mistakes can cost people their health, and even their lives.

Signs of Medical Malpractice

It is not always simple to know when a medical error amounting to malpractice has happened. For one thing, people seek medical care because they are in poor health. Sometimes, even the best medical care cannot prevent them from having a bad health outcome.

For another thing, the law gives doctors some reasonable leeway in delivering care. Doctors sometimes have to make judgment calls and split-second decisions, some of which, with the benefit of hindsight, they might have made differently. The law does not necessarily hold doctors liable for reasonable choices in delivering care that turned out to be wrong.

Still, some medical professionals make unreasonable mistakes. Errors that simply should never have happened.

Some signs that an error like that has occurred can include:

  • A dramatic and unexpectedly poor outcome from a routine medical treatment or procedure, particularly if the outcome is not something that the doctor warned about as a potential risk or complication.
  • A negative health outcome related to a patient receiving anesthesia.
  • A negative health outcome relating to damage done by a provider to a patient’s nerve, blood vessel, or a vital organ unrelated to a procedure.
  • A medical event that should just never happen, such as infecting a patient with unsterilized equipment, prescribing medications that have dangerous interactions or to which the patient has a known allergy, leaving a medical tool inside a patient’s body, or performing a medical procedure on the wrong body part.
  • Injuries sustained in the course of medical providers performing routine tasks like intubation, inserting a line, moving a patient, or connecting monitoring equipment.
  • Indications that a medical provider delivered care while drunk, high on drugs, emotionally unstable, or excessively tired.
  • Comments, behaviors, or demeanors of healthcare workers on a patient’s medical team that suggest someone made a serious mistake in delivering care. The vast majority of healthcare workers care deeply about patient safety and wellbeing. If something goes wrong with your or your loved one’s care, chances are you will sense it from them.

We encourage anyone in Bakersfield who thinks that they may have received substandard medical care resulting in an injury or adverse health outcome to contact the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys for a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation.

Four Steps to Take When You Suspect Medical Malpractice

Number1Award2019Because you might not know definitely whether you have suffered an injury or health complication because of medical malpractice, you may want to take the following steps to obtain a clearer picture of the situation and to protect your legal rights.

  • Seek outside medical care for the injury or health complication. In other words, get treated for the injury/complication, but not by the doctor or medical team who you suspect may have caused it. Avoid pointing the finger directly at your prior medical provider. Instead, simply seek care for your existing condition based only on what you know about how it occurred. Make getting better your priority.
  • Keep all records of your original medical treatment and the second doctor’s care for the injury or health complication. Take note of any comments the second provider makes indicating a belief that your previous treatment was unusual or questionable.
  • Do not make accusations or demands of the medical provider you suspect of having committed malpractice. That will get you nowhere and could jeopardize your legal rights.
  • Consult our Bakersfield medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible.

The team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has years of accumulated experience and knowledge about the standard of care patients can expect to receive from Bakersfield medical providers. We put that knowledge-base to work for clients and potential clients who suspect they have suffered an injury or medical complication because of a medical error. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your potential rights to compensation.

Compensation for Bakersfield Medical Malpractice

California law generally entitles patients injured by an incident of medical malpractice to compensation for their injuries and losses. The specific compensation an injured patient might have the right to receive varies based upon the circumstances of the injury.

However, as a general matter, at Gomez Trial Attorneys, our medical malpractice clients can often take legal action seeking compensation for:

  • Medical expenses and costs related to injuries or health complications, such as the cost of receiving follow-on treatment, hospitalization, long-term care stays, therapy, medication, and medical equipment.
  • Non-medical expenses and costs that a patient incurred because of the injury or health complication, such as the cost of hiring someone to help out around the house because an injury limits a patient’s mobility.
  • Lost current and future income resulting from the injured patient missing work and, in some cases, suffering a disability that prevents a return to work.
  • Pain and suffering damages to account for the physical discomfort, emotional trauma, and overall disruption of a patient’s quality of life because of a medical malpractice-related injury or health complication.

Talk to the Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to learn about the types and amount of compensation you may have the right to recover through taking legal action.

California Medical Malpractice Procedure

Taking legal action seeking compensation for medical malpractice involves a somewhat-complicated procedure that differs substantially from other Bakersfield personal injury cases. Only trust an experienced Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer to represent you; hiring a law firm that does not have medical malpractice know-how could put your legal rights at risk.

Specifically, California law requires injured patients to give notice to a potential medical malpractice defendant (that is, any doctor or other health care provider who may have legal liability for the patient’s injuries) of the patient’s potential claim at least 90 days before the patient takes legal action. The notification must describe the legal and factual basis of the potential claim, and the type of injury and loss claimed.

Preparing this notification in a manner that protects and furthers an injured patient’s legal claim requires the skill of an experienced Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer. Talk to the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys today about whether now is the time to start that process in your case.

Medical Malpractice Leading to Wrongful Death

The unfortunate reality of incidents of medical malpractice is that sometimes they cause a patient to die. In those tragic instances, California law authorizes certain family members (or their representatives) to institute a wrongful death action seeking compensation.

In order of priority, the people who typically have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death action are:

  • The spouse of the deceased patient;
  • If the patient didn’t have a spouse, the patient’s children;
  • If the patient didn’t have children, the patient’s parents;
  • Close relatives dependent on the patient for support, either financial or physical; and
  • The estate of the deceased.

Only one wrongful death suit on behalf of a decedent is allowed. Multiple eligible parties can join in the suit, however.

If more than one healthcare practitioner or institution is responsible for Bakersfield medical malpractice-related wrongful death, then the lawsuit can include claims against each of them.

As with legal actions on behalf of living patients, the type and amount of compensation available through a wrongful death lawsuit can vary.

Typically, however, these suits may seek financial compensation for:

  • Medical expenses for the patient’s treatment before death.
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income that the patient would otherwise have earned had death not occurred; and
  • Loss of companionship for loss of intangible but vitally important love, care, affection, society, comfort, assistance, protection, moral support, training, and guidance.

In extreme cases, such as malpractice that is part of a pattern of wrongful conduct, or which exhibits malice or concealment, a California court may also impose punitive (or exemplary) damages intended to punish the medical provider and to deter further wrongful conduct.

Bakersfield Medical Malpractice FAQs

San Barnindo LaywersBakersfield residents have a wide range of options for medical providers, whether seeking a primary care physician, a specialist, or emergency treatment at Bakersfield Memorial, one of the Mercy Hospitals, or another facility. Doctors must take an oath to do no harm, and all medical professionals have a legal duty to provide a standard of care accepted within the medical field. Yet, malpractice still occurs, and not always because of a simple accident or mistake.

If you suspect or know you have not received the proper diagnosis, care, or treatment from a medical professional or facility in Bakersfield, California law may permit you to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Contact a skilled Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the malpractice and determine the best course of action for you. Until you have the opportunity to consult a lawyer, the following answers to frequently asked questions about medical malpractice in Bakersfield provide some preliminary information.

What events fall under medical malpractice in Bakersfield?

Not every negative outcome of medical diagnosis, care, or treatment constitutes medical malpractice. Broadly speaking, medical malpractice includes actions or inaction that lead to harm because a medical professional did not follow procedures accepted by the medical community. Medical malpractice can also include fraud and intentional harm, but more often than not, medical professionals do not purposefully commit malpractice.

Common situations or events often associated with medical malpractice include:

  • Late diagnosis or the failure to diagnose illness or disease
  • Misdiagnosis of illness or disease
  • Failure to discuss risks and side effects of treatment options with patients
  • Failure to get a patient’s medical history
  • Surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgeries or leaving foreign objects inside the body
  • Improper or inadequate aftercare
  • Pharmaceutical errors, including prescribing the wrong medicine, the wrong dosage, or improper labeling
  • Failure to order proper lab testing and other diagnostic tests
  • Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of a patient
  • Covering up a known medical error
  • Improper use of medical equipment

The above list is not exhaustive. If you are uncertain whether your condition, harm, or situation constitutes medical malpractice, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Can I file a Bakersfield medical malpractice lawsuit without an attorney?

No. Medical malpractice claims in California have procedural requirements and strict deadlines, making them especially challenging. Most notably, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit in California without giving notice to the defendant. At least 90 days before filing the lawsuit, you must notify any potential defendants about your claim, the nature of your injuries, and the loss you have incurred.

Additionally, doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals and facilities usually have large insurance companies on their side. It is also common to file a claim against more than one party, creating a more difficult case. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you meet all requirements and navigate the complex parts of a claim, giving you the best chance of receiving compensation related to medical malpractice.

How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim in Bakersfield?

Each state has time limits, referred to as statutes of limitations, for bringing a civil lawsuit against another party. Statutes of limitations vary widely and medical malpractice claims typically stray from the norm. In California, victims of medical malpractice have three years to file a claim in most cases. However, a malpractice victim’s time limit to file a claim depends heavily on when someone discovers the malpractice or their malpractice-related injuries.

Some malpractice victims do not discover their injuries for months or years after the malpractice occurred. California law gives malpractice victims one year from discovering their injuries or one year from when someone should have reasonably discovered their injuries. Children under the age of six at the time of their injury have until age eight for parents to take action on their behalf. Those older than age six must comply with the three-year statute of limitations.

Many states allow significant time to pass for malpractice victims to discover their injuries. California is not one of them. The three-year statute of limitations is an absolute time limit that prevents people from filing a claim if they discovered their injuries three years after the malpractice occurred. The law does allow for some rare exceptions.

They include:

  • Retained foreign objects. One major type of medical malpractice is a type of surgical error that occurs when a surgeon or surgical team leaves a foreign object in someone’s body. Examples include surgical sponges, gauze, surgical tools, or anything else you might find in an operating room. If a surgical team leaves something in a patient’s body, they have unlimited time to discover the object. Once they make the discovery, they must file a medical malpractice claim within a year.
  • Fraud/concealment. If a medical professional or facility commits fraud or intentionally conceals malpractice, victims have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim. Fraud covers a wide range of actions, but it often involves a patient’s medical record in medical malpractice claims. Concealment often involves the individual(s) and the facility. For example, a provider does not get a complete medical history from a patient. The patient suffers an allergic reaction that causes permanent damage from a prescription. The doctor misleads the patient about the cause of the reaction, but the facility learns that lack of medical history led to injuries. They want to avoid a costly malpractice lawsuit, so they intentionally conceal the act.

What damages could I receive compensation for in a Bakersfield medical malpractice claim?

Medical malpractice can lead to a wide range of injuries and related losses depending on the circumstances of the malpractice.

If you take legal action against your medical provider, and you accept a settlement agreement or a court awards damages at trial, you could receive compensation for:

  • Medical treatment costs including ambulance, emergency room treatment, a second opinion, additional testing, corrective surgery, and hospitalization.
  • Estimated future medical expenses when malpractice causes permanent injuries or diseases that require continued care and treatment.
  • Costs for rehabilitation including therapy with one or more specialists that help medical malpractice victims cope with the physical and emotional trauma of their injuries.
  • Lost wages due to taking time away from work for treatment, hospitalization, and recovery.
  • Estimated future lost wages for medical malpractice victims who suffer permanent injuries that prevent them from returning to work.
  • Transfer costs when patients need to move to a different hospital, rehab facility, or nursing home because of malpractice.
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
  • Diminished quality of life.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Punitive damages when a medical professional or facility exhibits gross negligence or intentional harm or fraud.

How much money could I get from my Bakersfield medical malpractice lawsuit?

Those who prevail in medical malpractice claims receive varying amounts of compensation. The amount of money you could get depends on the type of injury you suffered, the nature of the injury, your long-term prognosis, and whether you may receive punitive damages. Claims typically include all economic costs listed above, but the amount included for non-economic costs, like pain and suffering, vary widely. Typically, those with the most severe injuries receive more compensation.

Many states cap the damages a medical malpractice victim can receive. In California, there is no limit to the amount of money one can receive from economic damages. However, California law limits the amount of non-economic damages to $250,000.

How long will it take to resolve my Bakersfield medical malpractice claim?

You can expect to wait at least 18 months, but likely longer. Many factors can impact the timeline. You need to wait long enough to know the full extent of your injuries before your lawyer can accurately place a value on your claim. Also, the insurance company involved might fight to avoid paying out a costly claim and use every trick up their sleeve to deny your claim or devalue your claim.

Hospitals and other medical facilities do not want bad press, so sometimes they are more willing to negotiate a fair settlement. It really depends on your situation. When you meet with a lawyer about your medical malpractice claim, he or she can identify any obstacles or difficulties that might increase the timeline of your claim.

Can I afford to hire a Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney?

Some medical malpractice victims fail to hire an attorney because they are concerned about paying attorney fees. You can get the compensation you deserve after suffering from medical malpractice without paying fees upfront or out-of-pocket. We take medical malpractice cases on a contingent fee basis.

A contingent fee agreement means that your attorney will represent you in your medical malpractice claim and deduct their attorney’s fees from any compensation you receive from a settlement or court-awarded damages. Everyone deserves to have a lawyer advocate for them after falling victim to medical malpractice. Contingent fee agreements give all victims a fair chance to get the compensation they deserve for their malpractice-related injuries and losses.

How can your Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyers help me?

Malpractice attorneys go through a lot of paperwork and file documents with the court. Yet, this barely scratches the surface of the ways an attorney can help you with your claim.

Examples of ways our medical malpractice lawyers help their clients include:

  • Case evaluation. The last thing you want to do is waste time pursuing compensation if you do not have a viable claim. Not all injuries that occur in a medical setting fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of the malpractice and evaluate the facts of your claim to ensure that you have grounds to take legal action. Investigation includes gathering relevant evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, employment history, code violations, and anything your attorney can find to build the strongest case possible against the other side.
  • Communication/negotiation with the insurance company. Insurance companies and investigators from the other side will try to elicit statements from you to hurt the value of your claim. Attorneys handle communications for their clients to protect their rights and the value of their claims. Additionally, attorneys are negotiators who understand how to deal with insurance companies to get the best possible outcome for their clients. In most cases, an experienced malpractice lawyer can negotiate a higher settlement than a client could get on their own. When an attorney handles communication and negotiation, it frees up victims to focus on healing and recovery.
  • Litigation. Negotiations sometimes fail in medical malpractice claims. The medical professional or facility might outwardly deny liability. In other situations, the defense might argue the malpractice injuries are not as severe as the plaintiff claims. Medical malpractice claims that involve the failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis create special challenges, especially when terminal diseases are involved. Victims must make the case that they would have likely survived the early stages of disease had it not been for malpractice. Some cases are simply more challenging than others, and going to trial is the only option. Hiring an experienced medical malpractice lawyer ensures you have someone on your side to fight your case out in court and give you the best chance of receiving compensation for your injuries.

Experienced, Knowledgeable Bakersfield Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Personal injury Attorney John Gomez

John Gomez, Bakersfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer

No one in Bakersfield should ever receive medical treatment that harms them. If you think that you or a loved one fell victim to a medical provider’s malpractice, then you may have rights to substantial financial compensation under California law. To protect and enforce those rights, hire an experienced Bakersfield personal injury attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys to advise and represent you.

The top-rated team of Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have years of accumulated knowledge and know-how to put to work on behalf of victims of Bakersfield medical malpractice. Contact us today online or call us at (619) 237-3490 for a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation.

Gomez Trial Attorneys
1825, 18th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(619) 237-3490

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