Medical errors and malpractice can have life-altering results. If you or a loved one suffered injuries while obtaining medical care, you might be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Because every state has its own medical malpractice laws, you need to understand California medical malpractice laws. Medical malpractice lawyers in Los Angeles, California, can help you determine if you have a claim and how to proceed.
What is California Medical Malpractice?
When a healthcare professional breaches the standard of care when taking care of a patient, medical malpractice has occurred. This breach must cause the patient to be injured for a medical malpractice lawyer in Los Angeles, California, to pursue a medical malpractice claim for the patient. A technical term, standard of care means the practices and procedures that are generally accepted for healthcare practitioners treating a patient who is suffering from the same injuries, disease or condition. Numerous factors can affect the standard of care, such as age and other medical issues.
Proving the medical provider did not follow the standard of care is not enough for a California medical malpractice claim. You must prove something more challenging. You must prove that the breach of care is directly related to the injuries suffered. In other words, even if a doctor fell below the standard of care, if the outcome was unchanged, or if there was no direct injury or change in treatment resulting from that breach, then there is no claim for malpractice. California law also considers “treatment” to be broad and not just include medical care or prescription drugs, but treatment throughout the entire medical process. Sometimes a misdiagnosis classifies as medical malpractice.
California Medical Malpractice Claims Statutes of Limitations
Every state establishes its own statute of limitations for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. This is the time frame in which you can pursue a claim against a medical provider. If you wait too long, you cannot file a lawsuit to recover compensation. California medical malpractice law allows a patient to pursue a medical malpractice claim for up to a year after discovering the act that caused the injury and no more than three years from the date the injury occurred. In this case, it is whichever date comes first that starts the running of the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you believe you have suffered from medical malpractice, you should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer in Los Angeles, so you can file your claim in a timely manner.
The Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice in California
The money that a patient asks to be compensated with as a result of a medical malpractice lawsuit is called damages. In California medical malpractice claims, you can seek various damages. There are limits placed on some of the damages that you can recover through a California medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Compensatory damages are the actual or economic losses suffered by the patient. These damages serve as compensation for lost wages from the inability to work and the resulting medical expenses. There is no cap on these damages.
- Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, physical impairments and inconvenience. These damages are limited to $250,000 in California. This means that a court or a jury cannot award more than this maximum damage cap on this type of damages.
- In extremely rare situations, punitive damages are allowed. These damages are awarded because they serve as punishment to the provider for behaving recklessly. To receive punitive damages, your Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer will need to prove that the medical professional acted in a way involving fraud or malice. There are no damage caps in California for punitive damages in medical malpractice claims.
If you believe you have suffered because of medical malpractice, call the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, medical malpractice lawyers in Los Angeles at (310) 289-2600 for a free initial consultation.