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Medical Malpractice: Understanding Your Legal Options

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If you or a loved one got harmed by medical malpractice by a doctor, hospital, or another healthcare service provider, you probably have a multitude of questions. You need to understand your legal options if you have a possible medical malpractice case. An experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney can help explain your legal options and determine if you have a case. 

Legal Options for Medical Malpractice in California

You could file a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare provider who committed the medical negligence that harmed you. When you file a claim, the defendant’s professional liability insurance carrier will step in, evaluate the claim, and process it.

The insurance company provides, among other things, attorneys to defend the doctor against your legal claim. It is in your best interest to have your own lawyer because medical malpractice cases are complicated and involve medical expert witnesses. Also, the insurance company has massive resources that they can spend to defend the healthcare professional from your claim. You should not have to battle them by yourself.

If the case does not settle before the filing deadline and it is appropriate to do so, your attorney will file a lawsuit. The parties will engage in extensive discovery that can include the exchange of documents, depositions, and hiring expert witnesses to prepare for the trial. Even after the lawsuit gets filed, you are allowed to reach a settlement with the defendant. In fact, the vast majority of lawsuits settle without having to go to trial. Your lawyer can represent you during every step of the claim and trial.

The Filing Deadline for Medical Malpractice Cases in California

If you wait too long to file your claim for medical malpractice, California law will take away your right to seek compensation from the negligent party who harmed you. The filing deadline, also called the statute of limitations, is different for adults than it is for children. Statute of limitations questions can be complicated, so you will want to talk to your attorney about the deadline that applies to your case. 

Types of Medical Malpractice

People tend to think of a doctor making a mistake when they hear about medical malpractice, but there are many other circumstances that could constitute medical malpractice. For example:

  • The hospital mixed up the medication of two patients, causing both patients to suffer harm because not only did they get a drug that was not appropriate for them, but they did not get the medication they needed. 
  • The emergency room forgot about a patient in a treatment room, who had a fatal heart attack while unattended.
  • The pharmacy misread the doctor’s handwritten prescription slip and filled the prescription with the wrong drug, which harmed the patient.
  • The outpatient surgery center did not properly clean the operating rooms between patients, causing a patient to develop an infection after surgery.
  • The urgent care center failed to diagnose and treat an illness, causing the patient to develop an extremely high infection that caused seizures and permanent brain damage.

Common mistakes that doctors make that can lead to medical malpractice claims include surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, failure to explain the risks of a medical procedure, and medication errors.

You can talk to a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney about pursuing your claim for compensation. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.