Medical Malpractice Defense in Georgia - Federal Lawyer
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Medical Malpractice Defense in Georgia

Georgia address – by appointment only:
691 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE Suite C
Atlanta, GA 30312

A medical malpractice lawsuit is a serious matter for healthcare professionals and businesses in Georgia. The potential for a massive verdict or settlement is significant, though even just the allegations of malpractice can hurt your professional reputation.

Lynette Byrd
Attorney Lynette Byrd
Georgia Medical Malpractice Defense Team Lead
Former DOJ Attorney envelope icon Contact Lynette
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Georgia Medical Malpractice Defense Team Lead envelope icon Contact Nick
Wade McFaul
Wade McFaul
Georgia Medical Malpractice Defense Consultant
Former HHS-OIG Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge

The medical malpractice defense lawyers at the national law firm Oberheiden P.C. have built a strong reputation for their work in this field. With their vigorous legal guidance and advocacy, many healthcare providers in Georgia have beaten claims of medical malpractice or have drastically reduced the liabilities that they have faced.

Oberheiden P.C.’s local law office is located at:

691 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE
Suite C
Atlanta, GA 30312

The Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle

Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury claim against healthcare providers. Like other personal injury claims, the plaintiff and alleged victim has to show three things:

  1. You had a duty of care to keep them safe
  2. You breached that duty of care
  3. That breach caused the plaintiff’s losses

Medical malpractice cases revolve around establishing exactly what that duty of care required from the medical professional. Expert testimony is generally required to set the duty of care. Importantly – and contrary to what many plaintiffs think – subpar or below average medical care is not malpractice. If it were, half of medical procedures would support malpractice claims against the parties that provided them. Instead, medical malpractice is the provision of medical care that falls below the minimum standards acceptable in the healthcare community.

To add to the complexity, those minimum standards vary by the provider’s particular community: Specialists in a given field are held to higher standards in that field than general practitioners.

Exactly how a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate care is virtually unlimited. Just a few common examples of the same or similar circumstances that have led to medical malpractice claims before in Georgia have been:

  • Wrong-site surgeries, where a surgeon operated on the incorrect body part
  • Wrong-patient surgeries, where the correct procedure was done, but on the wrong patient
  • Leaving a foreign object inside a patient during a surgical procedure
  • Conducting a surgical procedure that was not medically necessary
  • Anesthesiology errors
  • Discharging a patient before it was safe to do so
  • Causing a birth injury by using an unreasonable amount of force during the delivery
  • Unreasonably diagnosing a patient with the wrong medical condition
  • Unreasonably failing to correctly diagnose a patient until too much time had passed
  • Not ordering medical tests when it was clearly appropriate to do so
  • Prescribing the wrong drug, or prescribing it to the wrong person
  • Clerical mistakes that led to a patient’s charts getting mixed up with another patient’s

These are just a few common examples of medical malpractice. The medical malpractice lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. represent medical professionals and other healthcare providers who have been accused of these or any other type of medical malpractice in Georgia.

The Healthcare Professionals and Entities We Represent

Oberheiden P.C. represents both individuals and corporate entities in medical malpractice cases.

Just a few of the sorts of health care providers that we have defended in medical malpractice cases have been:

  • Surgeons
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Physician assistants
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Veterinarians

These are the people whose actions directly led to the patient’s injuries, at least according to the plaintiff. If a good defense is not raised, these healthcare professionals could be held liable for their malpractice. However, if they are employees of a healthcare company, then that company could also be brought into the medical malpractice claim and held vicariously liable through the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. This doctrine holds employers liable for the negligent conduct of their employees, so long as the worker was acting within the scope of their employment.

As a result, the following entities can also face allegations of medical malpractice, even though they were not the ones who actually acted negligently:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dentist offices
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Pharmacies

This is why so many healthcare facilities distance themselves from their workers by hiring them as independent contractors instead. The healthcare defense and compliance team at Oberheiden P.C. can walk healthcare companies through that process and better insulate them from liability for medical malpractice in the future.

The Penalties Our Clients Can Face

Medical malpractice lawsuits frequently demand hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and often over a million. In wrongful death or birth injury cases, you often see plaintiffs demanding multiple tens of millions of dollars in compensation, especially now that Georgia’s damage cap on medical malpractice claims has been declared unconstitutional.

Even if you settle a medical malpractice claim for a fraction of this amount, it can still be crippling. A verdict in the full amount can be overwhelming, especially if it exceeds your medical malpractice insurance policy’s limits, or if you have chosen not to carry malpractice insurance at all.

However, healthcare professionals and institutions need to know that this is just the most direct impact of a medical malpractice case. There is more.

Both individuals and institutions will see their professional reputations get tarnished with even the merest allegation of malpractice. This can cost them substantial sums in lost business in the long run.

Individuals will also likely see their malpractice insurance premiums rise, and can even face an action against their medical license, imperiling their professional future as well.

The Legal Defense Strategies We Use

Each medical malpractice case is going to present a unique set of circumstances that will call for a unique legal defense strategy. However, there are certain lines of defense that are more common than others in Georgia medical malpractice claims. A few are:

  • The statute of limitations has expired – There are rules about when plaintiffs can bring a case forward. If they have not followed those rules, their claim can be dismissed fairly quickly
  • The patient gave their informed consent – It is not uncommon for patients to agree to a risky or unproven procedure, only to claim that it was medical malpractice if it does not work out. Their agreement to move forward can be a strong defense
  • Someone else was responsible – For individual defendants, this can be a strong defense if the malpractice occurred while the plaintiff was under anesthesia and does not know who did it
  • The standard of care was met – The plaintiff has to show that your conduct fell below the minimum standard of care, and will often argue that the applicable standard is well above what is appropriate
  • It was not the malpractice that caused the injuries – This is a risky defense because it admits to the malpractice, but if you can show that the plaintiff’s alleged losses would have happened no matter what you did, you could avoid liability for it

Frequently Asked Questions About Georgia’s Medical Malpractice Laws and the Legal Representation That Oberheiden P.C. Provides

Can’t I Just Use the Defense Lawyer Provided By My Medical Malpractice Insurance Company?

If you have medical malpractice insurance, the insurance company should provide you with legal representation. However, you need to remember that this lawyer will have the insurance company’s best interests at heart, not your own.

If the malpractice claim could lead to damages above your insurance policy’s limit, this can lead to problems.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

Georgia’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the date that the victim discovered, or should have discovered, the malpractice, or five years after the incident, whichever comes first (Georgia Code § 9-3-71).

However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule.

The first is for plaintiffs who were minors under the age of five at the time of the malpractice. For them, the statute of limitations is tolled, or delayed, until their fifth birthday. This means they can file a medical malpractice lawsuit – or their parents can file it on the child’s behalf – until the child turns seven (Georgia Code § 9-3-73(b)).

The second is for when the malpractice consisted of leaving a foreign object inside the plaintiff. In these cases, the lawsuit can be filed within one year after the malpractice was discovered, even if it was not discovered until five or more years have passed (Georgia Code § 9-3-72).

Does Georgia Have Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims?

It used to, but a court case from 2010 threw it away.

The Georgia Tort Claims Act used to limit a plaintiff’s noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims to $350,000 (Georgia Code § 51-13-1). This includes difficult to quantify losses like those for pain and suffering or the victim’s loved ones’ loss of consortium. Many states passed laws like this one in an attempt to reduce the costs of skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance coverage.

However, the Supreme Court of Georgia found that this limitation violated the state constitution’s right to a jury trial (Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery v. Nestlehutt, 286 Ga. 731 (Ga. 2010)).

As a result of this court decision, healthcare providers in Georgia have become exposed to substantially higher verdicts in medical malpractice cases than before.

What Makes Oberheiden P.C. Different from Other Medical Malpractice Defense Firms?

There are several things that sets Oberheiden P.C. apart from other Georgia medical malpractice defense firms.

Perhaps the most important is the fact that our roster of lawyers consists solely of senior-level attorneys who have been practicing in the field for many years.

For our clients, we think that this makes a huge difference. With all of the work on your case being performed by a senior-level attorney, rather than by an inexperienced junior associate or by a paralegal, the quality of that work will be better than what you can expect at other firms. In some cases, we think that our work quality has proven to be outcome determinative.

Why Don’t You Call Your Firm the Best Medical Malpractice Defense Firm in Georgia?

We prefer to let our prior clients say these sorts of things. Read their testimonials here.

Oberheiden P.C.: Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Georgia

Call the Georgia medical malpractice defense attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. at (404) 738-6630 or contact them online.

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