When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s important to not the statute of limitations – or in the other words limited time after the alleged malpractice one has to file. The statute of limitations on medical malpractice varies by state and type of malpractice
In Georgia, there are two main categories of malpractice, an injury and a failure to diagnose. You have two years from the date of the injury to file a malpractice claim for it. If you have claim from a failure to diagnose, that two-year time period begins at the date you became aware of the problem.
It’s possible in some cases that the statute of limitations can be even shorter, as with malpractice cases involving municipalities. In those situations you may have a year or less to file. But even if you think the statute of limitations may have passed for your claim, it’s important consult with attorneys for medical malpractice cases, who know the ins and outs of medical malpractice law and may be able to present you with a range of options you didn’t know you had.
In any case, you’ll want to work with an attorney who operates on a “no win, no fee” basis. It gives them an extra incentive to fight for you, and it frees you up to take a risk you might not otherwise have been able to afford.
In judging whether you have a good case, you have to think about the cost/benefit of filing. An attorney might spend a $100,000 and several years to settle a malpractice case. If the length and cost of the legal battle adds up to more than you’re seeking in damages, it’s just not wise to pursue it. Unfortunately, that means many legitimate cases worth several thousands of dollars are just not worth pursuing – for the lawyer or the client. Still, it might be best for a lawyer to decide this question, so don’t let that necessarily stop you from taking the first step.
The other element is liability. The attorney has to be confident not only that the actions of the caregiver fell below the professional standard of care, but that those actions resulted in an injury that would have otherwise been avoided. If the lawyer doesn’t think the case meets those criteria, he or she won’t likely represent you. That might be disappointing, but it’s better to be turned away by a lawyer than to have your time wasted and your hopes wrongly raised. This aspect is crucial. Most malpractice cases are drawn out arguments over this very issue, and the defendant’s attorneys will be doing everything they can to mount an argument that the negligence of the defendant isn’t responsible for the injuries the plaintiff suffers from – that they are the result instead of the underlying medical condition.
If your case is rejected by one lawyer, but you strongly disagree, feel free to seek the advice of another one. You never know, you may find an attorney who can present an angle on your malpractice case which puts the odds in your favor.