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El Centro Medical Malpractice Lawyers

When an El Centro doctor commits a negligent act that injures you, denial is often the first reaction. No patient wants to believe that their doctor caused them harm. Sadly, negligent medical events occur every day. They are sometimes passive acts such as failing to diagnose a harmful condition. They can also be active acts of negligence. These occur, for example, when a physician injures a person during surgery or continues prescribing a medication beyond the point of addiction.

El Centro doctors hold a unique position of trust in their patients’ lives. Patients rely on a doctor’s routine care to help keep them well. When they suffer from a serious injury or condition, they often relinquish personal control. If and when a patient learns that a doctor’s actions caused further harm, denial or disbelief often prevents them from recognizing the truth. It sometimes prevents them from seeking legal assistance.

Negligent medical treatment often worsens an existing problem or causes new difficulties. Patients endure pain, suffering, continuing disabilities, and even addiction. As they gradually become aware of what happened, they sometimes face psychological setbacks. Many negligently treated patients return to the same doctor, hoping for a different outcome.

Number1Award2019The El Centro medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys believe physicians have a duty not to harm their patients, and practitioners must be held accountable when medical malpractice results in injury. By holding these negligent professionals accountable, we can prevent future patients from suffering harm, and enhance our community’s safety and trust in our medical caregivers.

Medical Professionals Should Pay For Their Negligent Acts

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we understand that it’s often traumatic for a patient when they recognize that their physician has harmed them. Our attorneys have provided legal solutions to help our injured clients deal with their sense of denial and doubt. We have used our knowledge and resources to determine liability, present our clients’ claims, and recover the damages to which they are legally entitled.

As medical negligence claims have always been somewhat difficult to prove, we have immediately taken the appropriate investigative steps. Our attorneys have reviewed malpractice legal issues and evaluated our clients’ damages. We have consulted with qualified medical experts for opinions on compliance with medical standards of care. We have thoroughly prepared our cases and evaluated all the issues before moving forward with our client’s claim or suit.

Just like our clients, our lawyers always believed in doctors as trusted medical professionals. We’ve also seen where some physicians have caused serious harm. We’ve never sought to minimize any doctor’s professional standing. Our primary goal is to recover damages for our injured clients.

Our Law Firm’s Results

Our attorneys recover settlements and win courtroom verdicts because we’ve always fought hard for our injured El Centro clients. We have resolved cases in ways that were best suited to our clients’ financial interests and goals. When possible, we have negotiated medical negligence claims with responsible parties, their insurance carriers, their personal representatives, and their defense attorneys. We have sometimes resolved cases during mediation and court-mandated settlement conferences.

Sometimes, we’ve had to accept that litigation was the only reasonable way to come together in serious conversation. In anticipation of future court involvement, we’ve prepared our cases ahead of time. We’ve taken the critical steps and done the work necessary to present a convincing case before a judge and a jury.

Each malpractice case is unique, so we can’t promise a specific outcome.

To further understand our commitment to our injured clients, however, we recommend that you visit our case results page.

  • $105,356,000 jury verdict: Fraud & negligence
  • $105,000,000 jury verdict: Medical fraud
  • $30,000,000 settlement: DePuy hip-medical product liability
  • $2,500,000 settlement: Wright hip-medical product liability
  • $1,875,000 settlement: Medical malpractice

Medical Malpractice in El Centro

The term medical malpractice describes negligent events that harm a patient under a medical professional’s care. These events occur when a medical professional either commits an act or fails to perform in some way.

This often involves.

  • A delayed or missed diagnosis
  • Failure to act during a complicated childbirth
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical mishaps
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Inappropriate or badly performed surgery
  • Disfigurement
  • Inappropriate or dangerous treatment practices
  • Negligent mental health practices

The National Practitioners Data Bank tracks performance data from medical professionals across the country. NPDB statistics show that California patients reported more medical negligence acts than any other state. Their 2019 data confirms that 5,135 California patients filed adverse action reports and 1,092 patients recovered damages.

Doctors Don’t Tell on Themselves

If you believe that your doctor’s negligent act harmed you, don’t wait for an admission of guilt. Doctors rarely acknowledge that they made a mistake. If they do accept that a mishap occurred, they don’t often admit the error to their patient. A negligent doctor who discovers a problem will often provide a corrective solution. When neither the patient nor the doctor recognizes the reason for additional or continuing symptoms, the problem rarely comes to light.

The Consumer Reports article, “What You Don’t Know About Your Doctor Could Hurt You,“ discusses real-life medical malpractice problems. The article describes how thousands of doctors are on professional probation but their patients never know about it. The article focuses primarily on a Southern California physician, describing his “…errors of medical knowledge, judgment, protocol, and attentiveness…” It further describes the two young mothers who died while under his care. The doctor’s record documented multiple negligent medical acts. His patients never thought to look for another physician because they knew nothing about his history.

Some Doctors Have a History of Bad Acts

El Centro Medical Malpractice LawyersPatients rarely anticipate that their doctors have prior negligent acts on their records, so they never think to do the research. Like other medical professionals in similar situations, the above physician had no incentive to inform new patients of his previous mistakes.

Given his history, honesty would have hurt his ability to maintain a lucrative career.

  • If an incident shows a negligence pattern, the doctor could lose his license.
  • Patients or their families sometimes file suits.
  • Doctors lose their reputations and sometimes their patients.
  • A doctor might have to pay part of the settlement if a jury awards a large verdict.
  • The malpractice insurance company might drop his coverage or increase his premium.

Medical Negligence Occurs More Often Than You Think

When Johns Hopkins researchers released a medical malpractice study several years ago, they concluded that incidents of malpractice were seriously undercounted. Their review determined that negligent medical acts caused 250,000 deaths each year. Based on these numbers, they ranked “medical error” as the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The study found a quirk in the systems that medical communities use to document patient deaths. Their primary purpose is to capture patient billing data. Consequently, they don’t document data related to medical mishaps. The Johns Hopkins team also found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention miscategorized medical events.

Tracking a Doctor’s Medical Malpractice History

As the Consumer Reports article explains, doctor information is out there, but often, patients don’t know how to access it. Despite ongoing problems and a history of adverse medical events, doctors continue practicing. The physician discussed in the Consumer Reports article had a history that included two fatally injured patients. He never lost his license, so he still practices medicine. You can still find positive patient reviews on Yelp, Google, WebMD, and other rating sites.

The Medical Board of California’s disciplinary decision confirms the above physician’s adverse history. The decision addresses the most recent incident where he left a device in a patient during surgery. As of 2017, his progressive discipline included additional training and another year added onto his existing seven years of professional probation.

Search for the information through available resources.

  • National Practitioners Data Bank: NPDB is a government resource that provides physician background information for doctors and eligible organizations. Anyone can access a database with state malpractice statistics.
  • The Medical Board of California: MBC’s Enforcement Public Document Search page allows anyone to search their database for adverse reports.
  • Doctor alerts: is a website maintained by the California Patient Safety Advocates. It provides links to physician disciplinary actions, medical license numbers, and license status information.

If you don’t find formal disciplinary records and you still sense a problem, consult an El Centro medical malpractice attorney, who can investigate for you.

What Types of Injuries Does Medical Malpractice Cause?

Medical malpractice injuries vary widely because doctors practice many specialties and perform a variety of tasks. El Centro Patients suffer when a physician delays a critical diagnosis or fails to discover a condition. A simple mistake during surgery often leaves a patient in worse condition. While the current opiate crisis focuses on those who are addicted to the drug, their habits often began with a physician who continuously renewed their pain prescription.

Medical malpractice often includes these and many other injuries and conditions.

  • Injuries from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Pharmaceutical overdose and addiction
  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Birth trauma
  • Birth defects
  • Disfigurement and scars
  • Chronic infections
  • Fatalities

Who Is Responsible for Medical Negligence?

El Centro Medical Malpractice LawyersDoctors, psychologists, and other medical professionals are responsible for the damages they cause. If they are hospital employees, the employer sometimes shares responsibility for a doctor’s negligent acts. Medical negligence has a different standard than an auto accident or a premises liability case. A medical professional is deemed negligent when he or she fails to meet the prevailing standard of care.

Just like other liability claims, a medical professional owes damages based on a simple negligence formula.

  • The medical professional had a duty to treat a patient in compliance with the standard of care
  • The physician breached that duty
  • The patient sustained damages as a result of the breach.

This standard of care is usually defined by medical professionals. To present a convincing case, a plaintiff’s attorney must find a knowledgeable medical professional to confirm that the defendant breached the prevailing standard of care. Preferably, the expert should be knowledgeable about the medical field in which the defendant is alleged to have committed a negligent act.

Recoverable Damages From a Medical Malpractice Injury

Medical malpractice settlements include economic damages and general damages. In rare instances, an injured person may also receive exemplary damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include current and future out-of-pocket costs incurred by an injured person.

They often include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Hospital and doctor bills
  • Prescriptions
  • Prosthetics, mobility devices, and structures
  • Therapy costs
  • Medical transportation
  • Personal care
  • Household replacement services
  • Funeral and burial expenses

General Damages

A general damage award considers an injured person’s physical and emotional pain, psychological trauma, and other subjective issues. In California, the applicable civil code places a cap on these damages. Regardless of the type of injury or severity, the injured person may recover a maximum of $250,000 in general damages.

These often include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Anxiety and emotional distress
  • Diminished spouse and family relationships
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent disabilities

Exemplary Damages

California courts have the right to award exemplary damages to medical malpractice plaintiffs, but this is a rare occurrence. The statute requires that a plaintiff produce clear and convincing evidence that proves a defendant acted out of malice, oppression, or fraud. If a plaintiff wins a punitive damage award against an insurer or certain health care service plans, the plaintiff must comply with specific instructions outlined in the Exemplary Damage statute.

El Centro Medical Malpractice FAQs

If you were injured by a medical error in El Centro, you undoubtedly have questions about the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here are the answers to some questions our El Centro clients ask most often about medical malpractice.

What is medical malpractice in El Centro?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider causes injury to a patient through negligence. This negligence can include errors made in diagnosis, treatment, after-care, or health management.

All medical malpractice cases must include the following elements:

  • A healthcare professional or corporation violated the standard of care. The standard of care is defined as the way a reasonably prudent health care provider would have responded in similar circumstances.
  • The injury was caused by negligence. This goes beyond simply having a bad outcome to a case or a doctor making a mistake. You must prove that the injury would not have occurred if that mistake would not have happened.
  • The injury resulted in significant damages. Medical malpractice cases are huge and expensive. It is not the sort of process that one would take on for an injury that resulted in a few days of missed work and a prescription.

Some examples of common medical errors that can give rise to a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.
  • Misreading or disregarding the results of diagnostic or laboratory tests.
  • Birth injuries.
  • Surgical errors, such as surgery on the wrong body part.
  • Unnecessary surgery.
  • Medication errors, including improper medication or improper dosage.
  • Failure to recognize symptoms or failure to take a complete medical history.
  • Failure to order proper testing.
  • Premature discharge, poor follow-up, or failure to provide adequate aftercare.
  • Failure to provide informed consent. Informed consent requires that your doctor explains to you a recommended procedure and warns you of the potential risks of the procedure before performing it on you.

How do I prove medical malpractice in El Centro?

To prove medical malpractice, you must show:

  • A legal duty existed due to the doctor-patient relationship.
  • This duty was breached by the health care provider’s failure to adhere to standards of care.
  • This breach was the cause of the injury.
  • The injury resulted in significant damages.

What damages are available in an El Centro medical malpractice case?

California allows individuals who have been injured by a medical error to seek both economic and non-economic damages. The term “damage” is a payment made to compensate for harm. Economic damages are compensation for the expenses you incurred because of your injury.

Common expenses found in medical malpractice economic damage claims include:

  • Past and future medical expenses for the treatment of the injury.
  • Lost wages, if the injury caused you to miss work.
  • Loss of future earning capacity if the injury prevents you from returning to work or earning in the same capacity as you did before the accident.

Non-economic damages refer to a payment made in compensation for impacts to your quality of life that you suffered due to your injury. These are often referred to as pain and suffering damages.

I had a complication from my surgery. Does that mean I have an El Centro medical malpractice case?

Probably not. Complications are a risk of any surgical procedure, even those performed perfectly by the surgeon. For your complication to constitute medical malpractice, you must show that a medical error occurred before, during, or after the procedure and that your injury was the direct result of that error.

Who is liable in an El Centro medical malpractice case?

In California, medical malpractice claims can be brought against licensed health care providers such as:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Optometrists
  • Physical therapists
  • Dentists
  • Chiropractors
  • Mental health professionals
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Podiatrists
  • Pharmacists

How long do I have to file my El Centro medical malpractice case?

In California, plaintiffs generally have one year after the date on which the medical error occurred to file a medical malpractice claim, and must notify the defendants in the case of the intent to sue at least 90 days before the case is filed. In some cases, the patient does not discover the injury right away. In these cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the discovery of the injury. If the patient is a child, his or her parents or guardian have three years from the date of discovery of the injury to file a claim on their child’s behalf.

The statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims in California can be tolled (delayed) in other, limited circumstances as well, such as:

  • The health care provider committed fraud.
  • The health care provider intentionally concealed wrongdoing.
  • There is a foreign body that has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose for being in the patient.
  • A minor’s parent colluded with the defendant’s insurer to not bring a lawsuit on behalf of the minor child.

How long will my El Centro medical malpractice case take?

Medical malpractice cases are generally resolved within one to three years, with much of that timeframe being dependent on the complexity of the case and the court schedule in El Centro at the time your case is filed. However, other aspects of the case can take a lot of time as well, including the discovery phase, when attorneys from both sides share the information that they have uncovered during the investigation and make requests of each other to see additional information.

If a doctor is found to have committed medical malpractice in El Centro, will they lose their license to practice medicine?

The American Medical Association reports that one out of every three doctors has had a medical malpractice claim filed against them. Among doctors over the age of 55, that figure jumps to one in two.

Being sued for medical malpractice or even found liable for medical malpractice will not necessarily impact a provider’s medical license. However, in California, cases that result in a damage award or settlement over $30,000 must be reported to the state’s Medical Board. The Medical Board can then, upon its own discretion, choose to investigate the matter. Depending on the outcome of its investigation, the Medical Board has the authority to revoke or suspend the provider’s license, reprimand the provider, or place the provider on probation.

This is most often done because:

  • The board has reason to believe that the provider is a threat to the public because of his or her practice of medicine.
  • The provider has exhibited behaviors that could contribute to the unsafe practice of medicine. Such behaviors include substance abuse issues, conviction of a violent crime, or documented mental health issues.

What if I am partially liable for my injury? Do I still have an El Centro medical malpractice case?

You might. Injuries rarely result from only one factor, but many factors, choices, and actions. California practices a pure comparative standard law when it comes to determining liability in accidents that result in injury, including those that can also involve medical malpractice. This means that even if you are partially responsible for the circumstance resulting in your injury, you can still file a claim seeking compensation from other liable parties. However, the amount of your award will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility that you bear for the accident.

Are El Centro healthcare providers at non-profit or charity hospitals immune from medical malpractice claims?

No. Some states have a charitable immunity law that protects health care providers who work at non-profit or charity medical facilities from being the subject of a malpractice claim. However, California does not recognize charitable immunity. The only providers who are immune from claims are those who are providing emergency assistance. Even in emergencies, however, a claim can still be filed if the actions that were taken were grossly negligent. Your attorney will let you know if the defendant in your case is shielded from malpractice claims.

How important is expert testimony in an El Centro medical malpractice case?

Nearly every medical malpractice case requires expert testimony to assist the jury in determining the technical aspects of the case. Without expert testimony, the judge will often dismiss the case or decide it early.

Medical experts provide information that can determine the answers to two foundational questions in every medical malpractice case:

  • Did the health care provider in your case violate the standard of care?
  • Was your injury a direct result of the doctor’s failure to uphold the standard of care?

Certain cases do not require medical testimony because the error is so obviously the source of the injury that the testimony is not necessary. An example of this would be a sponge left inside a patient during surgery. In such a situation, the only one who could be responsible would be the doctor and other medical staff, and that type of injury only results from a violation of the standard of care.

Can I sue my doctor for failing to disclose the risks of my surgery to me?

Without knowing any other facts to your case than that, generally failing to disclose the risks of a surgery to you can result in a medical malpractice claim, as they are a violation of informed consent, which is a standard of care requirement.

Is there a maximum amount of damages I may recover from my El Centro medical malpractice claim?

The amount of economic damages such as medical expenses and wage loss is not limited by the court. If you prove that you actually incurred those expenses, they can be included.

However, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) of 1975 caps non-economic pain and suffering damages for medical malpractice at $250,000 per claim. Inflation has made $250,000 about 80 percent less today than in 1975.

In November 2022, however, California residents will have their say on raising the pain and suffering cap. Voters may tie the cap on non-economic damages to inflation. This would bring the maximum amount that residents can pursue for the noneconomic, quality-of-life impacts of their injury to about $1.2 million currently. The proposal would also allow judges to use their discretion to increase the cap in cases that involve catastrophic injury or death.

I can’t afford an El Centro medical malpractice attorney. Can I file a medical malpractice claim on my own?

No. Medical malpractice claims are extraordinarily difficult and having an attorney with ample experience is crucial. In addition to capping pain and suffering damages, MICRA places a limit on attorney fees in medical malpractice cases to ensure that the award goes to the patient. Additionally, our El Centro medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys make legal help accessible to accident victims who need it, regardless of their financial status.

We can provide you with:

  • A no-obligation, free case review. This is time for you to meet with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case and your legal options.
  • A client-friendly contingent-fee payment. This means that you owe nothing for your attorney’s services until there is a successful outcome to your case.

The experienced El Centro medical malpractice lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are ready to explore your legal options with you. For your free case review, contact us online or call us today.

How Do El Centro Medical Professionals Avoid Paying Damages?

Doctors often initiate the process of avoiding responsibility long before the case becomes a claim or a lawsuit. They are in the best position to notice, diagnose, and treat a problem. They usually understand when they’ve breached a standard of care. Even when a medical professional determines that they caused a problem, they rarely turn in a claim unless the harmed person hires an attorney and files a lawsuit.

Doctors Don’t Admit Fault

As most doctors and medical organizations have malpractice insurance to cover their negligent acts, insurance companies become involved in deciding whether to pay a claim. When a malpractice incident becomes a claim or a lawsuit, often doctors still refuse to acknowledge fault.

Insurers investigate new malpractice claims, but they often rely on the physician’s opinion on a claim’s validity. If an insurance company wants to settle, they often look to their insured for insight.

Some Insurers Need Permission to Settle

Some malpractice policies have a consent clause that gives doctors final settlement approval. Even if an insurer decides it’s in the physician’s best interest to settle a claim, they can’t do it without the doctor’s permission. If the medical professional doesn’t agree to settle, the insurer must defend the case.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, our El Centro medical malpractice lawyers understand the challenges inherent to medical malpractice cases. We’ve countered defendants’ strategies by preparing our cases well ahead of any hearing, mediation, or court appearance. We have evaluated evidence, connected with medical experts, and planned out case presentations. We have done our best to deliver the best results for our clients.

Call Our El Centro Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

If you or your loved one sustained an injury due to medical negligence in El Centro, Gomez Trial Attorneys want to hear your story. We have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our injured clients; let us review your case to determine we can help you. Call us at (619) 237-3490 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.

Review: 5/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“I know firsthand that Gomez Trial Attorneys is a professional and compassionate law firm. The entire office is a family and they treat their clients like family as well – these people truly care. Not only that, but they strive to make a positive difference in the community through their outreach efforts. Highly recommend.

Gomez Trial Attorneys
2299 West Adams Avenue, Suite 102
El Centro, CA 92243

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