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San Diego Medical Malpractice Attorney

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 San Diego medical malpractice attorneys of the Gomez Trial Attorneys 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.

Gomez Trial Attorneys 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.

Gomez Trial Attorneys have had impressive legal victories in various types of medical malpractice cases, including the following:

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 sue my doctor for making a mistake that hurt me?

Broadly speaking, yes.

In California, patients have the right to take legal action against healthcare providers who commit professional negligence. State law defines professional negligence as:

A negligent act or omission to act by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death, provided that such services are within the scope of services for which the provider is licensed and which are not within any restriction imposed by the licensing agency or licensed hospital.

So, if your doctor committed a negligent act—one which does not meet the prevailing standard of care—and you ended up injured, then (generally speaking) you have the right to take legal action for damages.

Patients also have the right to take legal action for harm resulting from intentionally-harmful acts, although California law does not consider that sort of act one constituting professional negligence.

Who else can I sue for medical care-related professional negligence?

San Diego patients injured by an act of medical care-related professional negligence have the right to take legal action for damages against a wide range of healthcare providers, including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • EMTs
  • Surgical techs
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Walk-in clinics
  • Therapists
  • Testing laboratories
  • Blood banks
  • Sperm banks
  • Nursing homes

In essence, if you sustained an injury or a loved one died in connection with receiving medical care, then the chances are strong that under California law, the provider who delivered that care could have a legal liability for professional negligence.

How long do I have to take legal action?

Under California law, patients injured by medical malpractice (a.k.a, professional negligence) have three years from the date of injury, or one year from the date the patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever comes first. In other words, in most cases, patients have just one year to take legal action for an act of medical malpractice, and at most have three years. If a patient misses this deadline, the legal claim will (in most cases) expire, leaving the patient without the right to compensation.

California law contains a few exceptions to this rule. If a health care provider commits fraud, intentionally conceals wrongdoing, or leaves a foreign object inside of a patient, then the one year/three year clock stops (is tolled, in legal terminology) until the patient discovers the wrongdoing. Also, the same clock remains stopped for patients under six years of age when an injury happens, until the patient turns eight.

How much money can I recover from a medical malpractice action?

It depends on your case.

The damages you may have the right to receive in a medical malpractice action in California generally fall into two broad categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages compensate you for the out-of-pocket costs associated with the injury caused by medical professional negligence. They include, for example, your direct and indirect medical costs (hospital bills, pharmacy fees, etc.), your lost wages from time taken off from work while you recover, and the cost of replacement services you need to retain to help you complete tasks that your injury prevents you from doing yourself (such as transportation or cooking meals).

In California, there is no cap on the amount of economic damages you can recover in a medical professional negligence claim. Any amount of these damages that you can prove, in other words, you have the right to recover.

Non-Economic damages compensate you for the aspects of an injury that do not have direct, out-of-pocket costs associated with them, but are no less real in terms of the harm they do. This includes, for example, pain and suffering and damage to your intimate personal relationships flowing from the injury. California law caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. Many southern California medical malpractice lawyers feel this cap is too low because it has not kept up with inflation, but for now, it remains in effect.

It also bears noting that California law permits periodic payment of certain future damages, instead of requiring that all damages be paid as a lump sum.

I have heard medical malpractice cases are hard to file. Is that true in California?

Yes and no.

Like many states, California’s legislature passed laws in the latter part of the last century aimed at curbing what some perceived as skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance costs. Unfortunately, the principal purpose of the laws was to cut the number of medical malpractice cases, rather than aiming to improve the quality of healthcare.

The laws had their intended effect: They made it more costly and difficult to take legal action against doctors and other providers. They also had the unfortunate effect of leaving patients relatively unprotected from medical wrongdoing; in some ways, southern Californians today have less protection against a doctor harming them in his office than they do against the same doctor running into them with his car on the highway.

Still, California’s tort reform laws did not make it as difficult to seek justice and compensation in medical malpractice cases as did laws in some other parts of the country. For example, in California, the injured party must give 90 days’ notice to the healthcare provider before filing a claim, which is similar to many other states. However, California patients injured by medical professional negligence are not required to have a medical expert certify the validity of their claim before taking legal action, which is often the case in other parts of the country.

So, while it is true that California law arguably makes seeking justice, accountability, and compensation from a medical provider more difficult than from, say, a reckless driver, patients represented by a skilled San Diego medical malpractice attorney can still hope to have their claims heard through a fair and just process (albeit one hampered to some degree by a dated non-economic damages cap, as discussed above).

What should I do if I suspect a medical mistake hurt me?

It is frightening to think that a visit to a medical facility may have done you more harm than good. If you find yourself in that position, however, it helps to take some simple steps to protect your legal rights.

  • Seek alternative medical care, if necessary. If you suffered harm in the course of receiving medical care, get follow-up care—if possible—from a different provider. Give the second doctor as much detail as possible, without necessarily suggesting you think the first provider harmed you.
  • Keep all records. Do not throw away any information you received from your medical provider or any health insurance provider. These records contain what may constitute essential information in proving that you were harmed by an act of professional negligence.
  • Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues. Medical providers go into that profession to help people. If they make a mistake, it will often show in their language, conduct, and body language. If a provider seems distressed about the harm that you suffered, make sure to note that provider’s name. Keep notes of any stray comments a provider makes that might indicate remorse or concern about the standard of care you received.
  • Speak with an attorney right away. As soon as possible, speak with an experienced San Diego medical malpractice attorney about your concerns. Remember, you have only one year to take legal action, if appropriate, so you have no time to lose. The sooner an attorney can begin working on investigating a potential instance of medical professional malpractice, the better your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

A medical provider offered me a settlement. Should I take it?

Not without speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney first.

If someone offers you an unsolicited settlement, it means one thing and one thing only: That person or entity thinks they have a legal liability to you for damages, and wants to get out from under that liability for as little money as possible. In that scenario, the amount offered as a settlement in exchange (no doubt) for you giving up important legal rights will almost always represent a lowball offer. Tempting as it may feel to jump at easy money, do not say yes to any settlement without first speaking with an experienced San Diego medical professional negligence attorney who can give you a sense of how much money you really deserve. You have important legal rights at stake. Do not sacrifice them cheaply.

How long does a medical malpractice case take?

In California, your lawyer must give the medical provider who harmed you at least 90 days’ notice before taking legal action. The purpose of that 90-day notice period is to encourage parties to negotiate a settlement of a medical professional negligence claim rather than taking it to court. As a result, some strong medical malpractice cases could reach a resolution more quickly.

However, that is not always the case. For a host of reasons, a medical malpractice claim could take longer. Factors that influence the timeframe of a professional negligence case in California include the complexity of the medical care and injuries involved, the number of health care providers with potential legal liability, the amount of money at stake in potential damages, and both parties’ willingness to engage in meaningful settlement discussions.

The best way to get an idea of how long it might take to resolve your medical malpractice claim is to speak with an experienced San Diego medical malpractice injury attorney right away.

What can I do to help my medical malpractice claim?

First, get the medical care you need from a reputable doctor. Your health is of paramount importance. Follow any treatment plan a doctor gives you, and commit yourself to getting better. Not only will this protect your wellbeing, it will also generate important records of your condition and care that may prove valuable in a later legal action against the provider who hurt you.

Next, keep detailed records. As we mentioned above, do not throw away any medical records you receive, either from the health care provider who harmed you or from any subsequent medical care you receive. Also take care to record and preserve any observations you made about a health care provider’s demeanor or body language that suggest embarrassment or remorse about harming you. That could also constitute valuable evidence down the road.

Third and finally, stay off of social media. In this day and age, people post the best version of their lives on Instagram and similar platforms. The problem is, a glossy, curated version of your life can provide evidence for defense lawyers and insurance adjusters to misinterpret into admissions that your medical malpractice injury isn’t so bad, and that you do not deserve the damages you seek through legal action.

Do not commit an unforced error like that. Say away from social media platforms for the time being, so that your legal action can stay on track and you can recover the compensation you deserve.

Have questions about a potential medical malpractice claim in the San Diego area? An experienced San Diego medical professional negligence attorney can help you understand your rights, and your legal options.

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help me?

Attorney John Gomez

John Gomez, Medical Malpractice Attorney

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 personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys. Gomez Trial Attorneys 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. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in San Diego today and find out your legal rights and options.


655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101

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