Medical Malpractice Attorneys San Diego

Are you in need of a San Diego medical malpractice lawyer? Thousands of people in the United States die each year as the result of medical error. According to a comprehensive and highly regarded hospital study by Harvard University, more than 1 million people suffer injuries each year as a result of mistakes caused by doctors, anesthesiologists, residents, nurses, technicians and malfunctioning medical devices. Medical malpractice also occurs in other settings, such as doctor’s offices or nursing homes. Most of the victims never know their injury was due to medical error. But investigations into such personal injury cases often reveal medical malpractice on the part of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Whether failing to timely diagnose a medical condition, inattention to patients, or incorrectly prescribed medications, the results are often catastrophic. Patients suffer injuries ranging from birth defects to brain damage to spinal cord injuries to death. People also contract infections while being hospitalized. If you or a loved were the victim of medical malpractice here in San Diego, contact the experienced med mal lawyers of the Gomez Law Firm today.

 

WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

Medical malpractice is the failure of a health care provider to treat and care for a patient with a reasonable degree of expertise and compassion. If a physician was careless, lacked proper skills or disregarded standardized rules, a jury may find the health care provider negligent. If damages resulted from such negligence, monetary compensation may be awarded. Hospitals can be liable for the negligence of their employees, including staff nurses and technicians.

 

Medical malpractice is common, particularly in hospitals. It can occur during various stages of care, during something as complicated as surgery or as simple as the prescribing of drugs. In fact, a study by the Institutes of Medicine recently found that medication errors occur on average once a day to every hospital patient, resulting in serious injuries and thousands of patient deaths.

 

The Gomez Law Firm has trained attorneys and a wealth of experience in medical malpractice lawsuits. We have won a litany of large settlements and verdicts in medical malpractice cases. Our medical malpractice attorneys in San Diego employ exhaustive investigation, the latest technology and courtroom experience to insure maximized results.

 

The Gomez Law Firm’s attorneys have had impressive legal victories in various types of medical malpractice cases, including the following:

  • Allergies
  • Anesthesia
  • ARDS – Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Brain Injuries
  • Birth/Infant Injuries
  • Cancer Cases/Missed Diagnosis
  • Fertility
  • Gastric Bypass
  • General Doctor/Hospital Error
  • Medication Errors
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Surgical Staples Injuries
  • Wrong-Site Surgery

San Diego Medical Malpractice FAQ

We put our faith in doctors and other medical professionals to diagnose, treat, and cure our injuries and illnesses to the best of their abilities. We also trust that doctors won’t cause us additional harm. When doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals cause injury intentionally or as a result of negligence, their patients may suffer both physical and emotional damage.

 

California law legally obligates medical professionals to deliver a reasonable standard of care to their patients. If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered injury or contracted an illness because a doctor, a nurse, or another medical professional has acted negligently and breached his or her legal duty of care, you should seek compensation for damages related to your injuries.

 

Contact the award-winning medical malpractice attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys at (619) 237-3490 to schedule your free case evaluation, discuss the details of your medical malpractice claim, and learn how our legal team can assist you. Below you will find some answers to frequently asked questions that you might have about hiring a lawyer and filing a medical malpractice claim.

 

Can I afford a medical malpractice lawyer?

Oftentimes, money for attorney fees is one of the first worries that medical malpractice victims think of when they consider hiring a lawyer to file a lawsuit on their behalf. Suffering injury or illness as a result of a medical professional should not cause you financial difficulties, nor should you have to pay your attorney fees. Most personal injury attorneys, including those at Gomez Trial Attorneys, offer free case evaluations and take cases on contingency. We understand the challenges you face in the aftermath of harm caused by a medical professional, and we want to help you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.

 

When a law firm takes a case on a contingency fee basis, you do not pay fees out of your own pocket or up front. Instead, you will sign an agreement with the firm stating that it will deduct its attorney fees and costs of representation from any compensation it secures for you as a result of your medical malpractice lawsuit. Compensation might be a negotiated settlement or damages the court awards you if a jury rules in your favor.

 

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

California law places a statute of limitations, which is a time limit, on victims of medical malpractice to take legal action against the medical professional who caused them harm. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice hinges on when the injured patient discovers the injury or condition. If the event or injury is obvious, he or she generally has one year to file a lawsuit. Yet, many times medical malpractice victims don’t immediately discover their injuries. In these cases, the law allows them to file a lawsuit within one year of discovering their injury, or one year from the time they should have reasonably discovered the injury. If you’ve been injured in a medical malpractice incident, you should consult a qualified California attorney regarding the statute of limitations that applies to your case.

 

Under California law, if you discovered your injury more than three years after it occurred, a court will likely not hear your medical malpractice case.  The law does make an exception for surgical errors where a foreign object was left inside a patient’s body, which typically includes surgical sponges or a surgical instrument. In these cases, you still must file within a year of discovery, but it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to discover the object.

 

How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?

Each medical malpractice case is different, so there is no guaranteed amount that you might receive if you win your case. Many different factors contribute to the valuation of your claim, including the nature and severity of your injuries, economic losses you have incurred because of the malpractice, non-economic losses you have experienced, the likelihood of a full recovery, and whether the harm you experienced was intentional or a result of negligence. Your attorney will use the documents you provide to calculate the value of your claim, and he or she will call upon experts to quantify economic costs. Below you will find more in-depth explanations of the factors that can add to or reduce the value of your claim:

 

How severe is your injury?

Typically, the more severe your injury or the negligence that led to your injury, the more valuable your medical malpractice claim will be. However, medical malpractice encompasses a broad spectrum of things from failure to diagnose an illness to misdiagnosis to surgical error to intentional harm. The industry focus is on never events. These events include all preventable and severe events which result in disability or death, which include 29 serious reportable events, split into seven groups. These include:

  • Surgical or procedural events occur when a medical professional performs surgery on the wrong body part, the wrong person, or performs the wrong procedure on a patient. Other events that fall under this umbrella include leaving a foreign object in a person’s body after surgery and the improper administration of anesthesia.
  • Product or device events refer to contaminated drugs or medical devices leading to harm or death and the improper use of any medical equipment or device.
  • Patient protection events are the result of a hospital or other medical facility discharging a patient prematurely or releasing a patient to an unauthorized person. Attempted suicide, suicide, and other self-harm while in a facility also constitute this type of never event.
  • Care management events are the most frequent never events because most healthcare interactions include care management. These types of never events include medication errors, improper blood transfusions, injured newborns or mothers during labor or delivery of a low-risk pregnancy, artificial insemination of the wrong patient, falls, bedsores, and the failure to provide a patient with test results.
  • Environmental events occur when patients are injured or die from electric shocks, mixed-up gas and oxygen lines, or toxic chemical exposure. Improper use of bed rails, restraints, and inflicting burns on a patient are also examples of environmental never events.
  • Radiologic events refer to the extremely rare instance when a medical professional or patient brings metal into an MRI area, leading to serious injury or death.
  • Criminal events are arguably the worst of all never events. They occur when a medical professional intentionally harms or neglects a patient. This can include someone impersonating a doctor, patient abduction, and abuse. Assault and battery in a medical environment is also a never event if it leads to severe injury or fatality.

 

What economic losses have you endured?

In the wake of medical malpractice, victims often suffer financially. Many lose income because they cannot work for a long period of time and watch as medical bills amass into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some common expenses that might contribute to economic losses in a medical malpractice suit include:

  • Ambulance and emergency room visit
  • Hospital stay
  • Diagnostic imaging and lab tests
  • Corrective surgery
  • Prescription medication
  • Doctor visits
  • Travel to and from the hospital or medical facility

 

Additionally, medical malpractice victims might have to spend money to modify their homes to make them more accessible by purchasing a hospital-grade bed, adding handrails in the bathroom, and/or building a wheelchair ramp. Replacement services also cost additional money. They don’t apply to every case, but sometimes victims need to hire people to help with lawn care, laundry, cleaning, and other things that they can no longer do around their home.

 

Will you make a full recovery?

Some medical malpractice claims occur because a doctor made a fatal mistake. Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a terminal illness, prescribing the wrong medication, prescribing the wrong dosage, and surgical errors might all ultimately lead to death for a patient. When it is unlikely that the victim will make a full recovery, the value of the claim increases. In some tragic cases, a medical malpractice claim might accompany a wrongful death or survival action filed by eligible surviving family members.

 

When medical malpractice results in an injury that permanently disables a victim, the value of a claim also increases. Courts award victims monies for future medical treatment, 24/7 care, and the value of future lost wages. These catastrophic injuries may mean that the victim will be unable to return to work. In the fortunate event that medical malpractice results in recoverable injury or condition, the value of the claim will not be as high.

 

What non-economic losses have you experienced?

A severe injury, condition, or illness caused by medical malpractice can devastate many areas in a victim’s life. On top of the financial burden, victims must cope with the physical and emotional pain of their injuries and changes in their lives. When your attorney values your claim, he or she will take these non-economic damages into account, including:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and trauma
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

 

California, like some other states, caps non-economic medical malpractice damages, and has done so since the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) passed in 1975. Plaintiffs cannot collect more than $250,000 in non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. MICRA does not impact the recovery of lost wages, medical bills, or other economic losses.

 

Is the harm you suffered intentional, or did the doctor and/or facility try to hide the error?

California does not cap punitive damages, compensation that courts award plaintiffs to punish defendants in medical malpractice cases. Yet, courts typically only award punitive damages in two extreme situations. First, if a doctor, a nurse, or another medical professional intentionally harms a patient or exhibits gross negligence, the court might award punitive damages. Second, doctors and facilities who knowingly hide, cover-up, or lie about a medical error might cause a California court to award punitive damages.

 

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help me?

Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex of all personal injury cases. First, they often include the plaintiff; the doctor(s) or other medical professional(s) who committed malpractice, the associated hospital or facility; and all involved insurance companies—making these cases extra challenging. Additionally, California has special guidelines for medical malpractice suits that require additional forms, notices, and paperwork before you can even file a claim.

 

As a medical malpractice victim or loved one of a victim, you might not realize exactly how an attorney can help you. He or she will do many things to build a case against the doctor and facility associated with your injury, support your case with details and experts, and maximize the likelihood of getting a judgment in your favor.

  • Evaluating your case. Not all injuries in a medical setting are malpractice. Your attorney can evaluate your claim and determine the best path forward given your specific situation.
  • Communicating with other parties. A qualified attorney can handle communications with relevant parties in the case so you can focus on healing and recovery.
  • Investigating the malpractice. Your attorney will uncover the relevant facts about the malpractice you suffered, gather necessary evidence, such as medical records, and talk to witnesses or other patients.
  • Value your claim. Your attorney will quantify your claim based on past experiences and consultations with relevant experts, such as life care planners and other doctors.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies. Doctors and hospitals want to avoid litigation, so they are often open to negotiating a settlement. Your attorney will fight to make sure you get compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
  • Litigating your medical malpractice case. When settlement isn’t an option, your attorney will fight for you in the courtroom.

 

Health care professionals are entrusted to provide the ill and injured with proper medical treatment with appropriate standards of care. Unfortunately, this trust may be broken by negligent or careless actions that worsen an already difficult situation, leading to greater injury and even wrongful death. If you, or a member of your family, have been injured by the wrongful conduct of a medical provider contact the Gomez Law Firm today. The Gomez Law Firm charges clients with medical malpractice claims on a contingency basis. What that means is the attorney is only paid if he or she wins money damages for you the client.  We will discuss your situation and go over the options available to you, as well as work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to make sure all of your needs are handled quickly and appropriately. Call and speak to a medical malpractice lawyer in San Diego today and find out your legal rights and options.


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