BIKLaw Medical Malpractice Lawyer > Q&A With the Lawyer: Your Top Questions for Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq.

Medical Malpractice FAQs

As a medical malpractice attorney, I work every day to help my clients get the compensation they deserve. Since 2004, I’ve fought for the rights of people in Southern California who have fallen victim to malpractice and personal injuries. As a medical doctor and an attorney, I am both qualified and experienced to help you win your case.


What does a medical malpractice attorney do?

A medical malpractice lawyer is a lawyer that represents individuals who have been victims of some health care provider’s wrongful or inappropriate action or inaction. That health care provider can be a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, a hospital, or anyone else that provides health related services. Generally, a malpractice lawyer is charged with the task of representing the little guy against the proverbial corporate “Goliath.” As a medical malpractice lawyer, my goal is to maximize my clients’ compensation for their injuries, no matter who is responsible.


What qualifies as medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is any conduct that falls below the applicable “standard of care” for that particular provider. What that means is that when any health care provider injures a patient as a result of doing something that no reasonable health care provider would have done, he or she has committed malpractice. It is important to note that the substandard care must directly contribute to the injuries suffered, so if there is no injury from the substandard care, or if the injury is the result of something else or someone else’s care, then a malpractice claim would not exist.


Do I need to be physically injured to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice?

Yes and no. 95% of the cases that my firm handles involve a significant physical injury to a client, with one exception, wrongful death. In wrongful death cases, the only injury to the remaining client is the loss of the person that died, which is a purely emotional and/or psychological injury. There can be other situations where the only injury suffered by a client is emotional, however those cases are much rarer.

What is the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence?

These two terms are identical and interchangeable. Negligence is the correct legal term, but most people use the term malpractice in common language.


What are the most common types of medical malpractice cases?

The most common forms of malpractice include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Hospital injuries
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Nursing errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Prescription drug injuries


What makes you specifically qualified to handle medical malpractice cases?

Because I am a licensed physician in California as well as an attorney, I am uniquely qualified to handle medical malpractice cases for my clients. More specifically, for nearly all of the clients that visit with me, not only am I familiar with their condition, but I have also treated patients in the hospital with that exact condition.  In addition, because of my education and training, I am able to completely understand medical records without the need to hire experts to interpret the files.


How long have you been practicing medical malpractice law?

I have been in active practice since 2004, and have focused my practice on medical malpractice and personal injury claims since 2009.


Are there any other areas of law that you practice?

My office represents clients in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, public transportation accidents, truck accidents, and catastrophic injuries. We also represent clients in business affairs and litigation, ranging from garden-variety breach of contract claims, to complex fraud, to partnership disputes, and others.


Will there be a cost for you to evaluate my case or represent me?

There is never a fee for someone in my office to speak with you about a potential claim, and in most cases, there is no charge for my office to evaluate your medical records. In certain cases, however, where the claims are complex and not straightforward, or the medical records are extensive, we do charge a fee to review the medical records to determine whether you have a viable claim. Thereafter, 95% of the cases we handle are done on a contingency basis, where there is only a fee if we win your case.


The hospital I want to sue is a really big hospital.  How can you go up against these big entities with unlimited funds?

At the end of the day, medical malpractice cases are won and lost based upon the ability of an expert doctor to testify on a particular party’s behalf. In some cases where the injuries are very complex, multiple experts may be required, and this can be expensive. With that in mind, over the past decade, we have made it a priority to maintain our firm’s financial liquidity so that we can finance all of our cases no matter the cost. As for the litigation itself, no matter the size of the defendant or the size of the law firm representing the defendant, it is almost always the responsibility of a single attorney on the other side to represent the defendants, and our firm is familiar with every firm that represents health care providers in malpractice claims.


What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in California?

The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is set forth by C.C.P Section 340.5, which provides as follows:

In an action for injury or death against a health care provider based upon such person’s alleged professional negligence, the time for the commencement of action shall be three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first. In no event shall the time for commencement of legal action exceed three years unless tolled for any of the following: (1) upon proof of fraud, (2) intentional concealment, or (3) the presence of a foreign body, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, in the person of the injured person. Actions by a minor shall be commenced within three years from the date of the alleged wrongful act except that actions by a minor under the full age of six years shall be commenced within three years or prior to his eighth birthday whichever provides a longer period. Such time limitation shall be tolled for minors for any period during which parent or guardian and defendant’s insurer or health care provider have committed fraud or collusion in the failure to bring an action on behalf of the injured minor for professional negligence.


Accordingly, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of discovery of the injury and/or negligence, not to exceed three years from the date of the original injury.


How do you prove medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is proven through the use of medical experts who must testify regarding the standard of care for a particular health care provider. If a plaintiff can demonstrate that a health care provider fell below the applicable standard of care in treating that person, and that the person was injured as a direct result of that failure, then a claim is appropriate. Of course, in almost all circumstances, a defendant will hire an expert to say exactly the opposite; namely, that the health care provider did not fall below the standard of care in treating the patient. In that circumstance, it becomes a “battle of the experts” and who a jury will believe is anyone’s guess. Ultimately, that uncertainty is why most cases settle before they ever reach a jury.


Birth Injuries

What is the most common type of birth injury?

The most common type of birth injury is anoxic encephalopathy, which means a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, potentially resulting in long-term cognitive and motor problems. Other problems include musculoskeletal problems such as shoulder dystocia or broken bones.


What are the most common causes of birth injuries?

The most common cause of birth injuries is the failure to pay close attention to fetal monitoring, which is a measure of a fetus’ well being while inside its mother. When a health care provider does not pay close attention to the condition of the fetus and the fetus is allowed to go without oxygen for even a limited period of time, the baby can have severe problems at birth.


When do I need a birth injury lawyer?

If you have a child that was born with any type of abnormality, whether cognitive, musculoskeletal or otherwise, you must contact a birth injury lawyer.


How much compensation am I entitled to for a birth injury?

The formula for determining compensation in all medical malpractice cases is identical. Pain and suffering (capped at $250,000 as a result of California’s MICRA law), out of pocket past medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, and lost earnings.


Burn Injuries

How do you determine liability for a burn injury?

Liability for a burn injury depends heavily on the exact nature of the burn.


What are the most common causes of serious burn injuries?

Serious burns can be caused in several ways: contact with fire or flames, scalding from hot liquid or steam, thermal burns from contact with hot objects, electrical burns or chemical burns. Each of these burns can cause damage to skin, muscle, bone and more.


How much money is a burn injury worth?

Burn injuries are subject to the same caps as other medical malpractice cases: pain and suffering (capped at $250,000 as a result of California’s MICRA law), out of pocket past medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, and lost earnings.


Brain Injuries

How are traumatic brain injuries caused?

Traumatic brain injuries are commonly caused from a car accident, slip and fall accident or other accident in which the head receives damage from a bump or jolt. However, they can also be caused by sports injuries, gunshot wounds, tumors or infections.


What are the side effects of a traumatic brain injury?

When someone experiences a traumatic brain injury, they experience both physical and psychological side effects. They may have internal bleeding, lose consciousness, have a seizure or slurred speech, lose coordination or develop a severe headache. Over time, they may also experience confusion, mood swings, memory problems, fatigue and persistent head and neck pain.


How can a lawyer help me recover from a traumatic brain injury?

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, you need to contact an experienced brain injury lawyer, who can help you recover financial compensation to help you with past and future medical expenses related to your injury.


Medication and Pharmacy Injuries

What is the most common type of pharmacy or medication error?

The most common types of pharmacy errors are supplying the wrong medication or supplying the wrong dosage of the right medication.


When do I need a pharmacy injury lawyer?

If you have suffered an injury due to a pharmacy or medication error, a lawyer can help you recover damages. However, you need to act quickly, because the statute of limitations is only one year for pharmacy injuries.


How much compensation am I entitled to for a pharmacy error?

Pharmacy error injuries are subject to the same caps as other medical malpractice cases: pain and suffering (capped at $250,000 as a result of California’s MICRA law), out of pocket past medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, and lost earnings.


Misdiagnosis Injuries

What is the most common type of misdiagnosis injury?

While nearly any medical condition can be misdiagnosed the most common types of misdiagnosis include cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart attack, asthma and psychiatric conditions.


When do I need a misdiagnosis lawyer?

If a doctor fails to make an accurate diagnosis in a timely manner, you should consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit through an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine whether you have a case.


How much compensation am I entitled to for a misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis injuries are subject to the same caps as other medical malpractice cases: pain and suffering (capped at $250,000 as a result of California’s MICRA law), out of pocket past medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, and lost earnings.


Hire an Experienced Attorney for Your Needs

How do I choose a medical malpractice attorney in California?

Because medical malpractice is so highly specialized, you need to find an attorney that understand both law and medicine. As you look for a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney, you should consider their education, history and experience. I have the legal and medical training and experience to analyze your medical records and help you build a case.

Questions? Contact us