Gainesville residents rely on doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide care for their ailments and to make a proper diagnosis. However, not every resident receives the standard of care they are entitled to under the law. In some cases, a medical professional’s mistake could have serious, long-term consequences for a patient.
If you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of a medical mistake, you could benefit from discussing your claim with a dedicated personal injury attorney from our firm. By working with a Gainesville medical malpractice lawyer, you could improve your chances of recovering compensation to offset your losses.
While most injury claims are complex, pursuing compensation for medical negligence requires additional steps. There are several important procedural rules that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim must comply with, lest they face losing their chance at obtaining damages.
In Gainesville, an attorney must generally file a claim on behalf of an injured patient within two years of the date of medical malpractice, according to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §9-3-71. However, an injury is not always obvious or apparent immediately after a medical professional’s error. In many cases, complications manifest months or years later, which makes it possible to pursue compensation even after the two-year deadline has passed.
State law also sets a “statute of repose,” which puts additional limits on the filing of a malpractice case. Under this statute, an injured patient must bring a claim no later than five years after the malpractice occurs. Even if a patient discovers the effects of a physician’s error years later, this statute will prevent them from recovering compensation for their injuries after the five-year deadline. Therefore, it is imperative to act as soon as medical malpractice is suspected.
According to O.C.G.A. §9-11-9.1, a Gainesville medical malpractice attorney must file an affidavit in addition to a lawsuit. This affidavit should attest to the opposing party’s negligence and must be signed by a qualified medical expert who practices in the same field of medicine as the defendant.
The inclusion of this affidavit is mandatory under state law, and failing to file it could result in the dismissal of a plaintiff’s claim. However, if the affidavit is missing or fails to fulfill every legal requirement, local courts often grant a claimant time to file a corrected version. Typically, a judge will give a plaintiff an additional 45 days to file an updated affidavit. It is important to note that it is within the court’s discretion to allow this extension or not.
The damages a patient suffers as a result of a medical professional’s negligence could be substantial. To ensure your needs are met after suffering an avoidable medical injury, it could be in your best interest to retain skilled legal counsel.
A Gainesville medical malpractice lawyer could help with investigating your claim, identifying a professional for your expert affidavit, and filing a lawsuit on time. Call us right away to discuss your legal options with an attorney.