What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to deliver an acceptable level of care for a patient. This negligence can result in injury or even death for the patient. In a majority of cases this involves some form of medical error on the part of an individual, but can result from a systematic failure on the part of a facility or institution. The statutes which outline medical malpractice vary from state to state. The following are a few guidelines established for residents of California.
All medical malpractice cases are subject to a one-year statue of limitations from the date at which the individual became aware of the act, regardless of the victim’s age. If the individual fails to recognize the cause within the one-year period, the statue of limitations can be extended to no more than three years from the date of the injury. If the case involves a child who is under the age of six, action must be taken either before the child’s eighth birthday or within a three-year period following the incident.
Why You Should Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Early
A statute of limitations generally applies to most civil and criminal actions. Without them, the details of a case can easily become distorted by the passage of time. As this happens, the very validity of a case can be questioned, which is why it is important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you feel that you or a family member has suffered from medical malpractice.
Statutes of limitation are in place to protect both plaintiffs and defendants. In the case of a plaintiff, these statutes are used to force the plaintiff to bring their suit to a court in a timely manner so that defendants will have sufficient time to defend themselves of the charges. If a defendant fails to properly defend himself within the specified time limit, the court will have no choice but to accept this failure as a sign of admittance to the claim.
How Can I Tell If My Lawyer Is Trustworthy?
Anytime we have the need to hire an attorney, we expect to have a professional on our side who will fight for our rights and always have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, as in all other professions, there will be some lawyers whose integrity is questionable. How do you determine if the lawyer you’re about to hire is trustworthy? There are a few ways.
First, simply have a discussion about your case. Pay close attention in these early talks. An honest lawyer will go through all the pros and the cons of your case and give you an unbiased opinion of the likelihood of winning. They won’t sugar coat your chances. A lawyer that is less principled may be more prone to tell you that you have nothing to lose – no matter what the circumstances. He or she might be willing to tell you whatever is necessary to persuade you to hire them, particularly if they stand to be paid regardless of the outcome of your case.
How Do I Pursue a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Being the victim of medical malpractice can alter the quality of your life temporarily, or for the rest of your life. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in such an incident, it’s important to understand what you need to do to protect yourself, and your future. The consequences of mishandling your claim for medical malpractice can be serious, even disastrous.
In order to know exactly what you’re up against, you need to see a reputable doctor who can assess your health situation and tell you exactly what your medical options are. Whatever their assessment, it must be in writing. Depending on the circumstances, you may even want to secure assessments from more than one doctor.
Why Compromise If My Case Is Solid?
When a lawsuit is filed, all parties are given a court date at which time they are to share their evidence and opinions as to why the court should find in their favor. Often, the best case scenario is to reach a mutual agreement before the case makes it’s way to the courts. A “998 Offer to Compromise” offers just such an opportunity.
The 998 offer to compromise statute has been in existence in the state of California since 1851. The statute provides for an attempt to be made to reach agreement no less than ten days before the scheduled court date. A written offer can be made by any involved party in an effort to reach an amicable settlement. According to the statute, any party “may serve an offer in writing upon any other party to the action to allow judgment to be taken in accordance with the terms and conditions stated at that time.”
Punitive Damages in California Courts
When you bring a lawsuit against another party, one type of recovery you can request from the court is called punitive damages. The definition for punitive damages is easy to remember because it comes from the same root word as “punishment”. That’s why, when an individual receives an award of punitive damages, it is meant to punish the behavior of the defendant. Punitive damages are separate and apart from awards for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical expenses, or other damages that may be recovered.
There are some instances where punitive damages will not apply, which is why they are not automatically given in every type of case. Only when the defendant acted in a particularly egregious or intentional manner will punitive damages be taken into consideration. But being awarded a specific amount in punitive damages is no guarantee that you will actually receive it. It is often the case that the trial judge, or even the appeals court, has the final say as to how much the plaintiff will receive. It can end up being considerably less than the amount that was originally awarded during trial.
Why Choose a Personal Injury Specialist?
Personal injury can be any injury to a person that involves their overall health, whether it’s emotional, psychological, or physical in nature. This can encompass a wide variety of injuries that can produce residual effects which can last a lifetime. That’s why those who find themselves in this situation should hire the right personal injury specialist to ensure that they receive the representation they deserve, and that their case will receive a fair and complete hearing under the law.
It’s crucial that you seek the assistance of a personal injury specialist before contacting anyone else – including your insurance company, if possible. Why? Because once the wheels are set in motion, you could unknowingly divulge vital information to someone that could potentially damage your case. Once this information is made public, the damage has been done. The problem is that you won’t know which facts are okay to release and which ones aren’t, so it’s best to leave this determination up to a qualified professional.
Dealing With a Wrongful Death in California
A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence or reckless act of another individual or entity. California wrongful death can be attributed to a person, a company, or a product. The wrongful death charge is not only material to the individual who lost his or her life, but also to anyone who relied on that individual for support, or who would stand to inherit property or belongings as a result of the individual’s passing.
Some people confuse wrongful death with medical malpractice, or even murder. The main difference between them is that wrongful death is determined through a civil suit while murder must be determined through a criminal proceeding. Wrongful death is more about damages while malpractice is focused negligence. You can, however, have medical malpractice without a wrongful death, and vice versa.
Today We Congratulate One of Our Own
All of us at The Mandell Law Firm are proud to announce that one of our partners, and our lead litigator, Robert J. Mandell has been selected as among The Top 1% Trial Counsel for Medical Malpractice Plaintiff Attorney’s for 2012 in California.
This designation is a very prestigious award where candidates are selected from the top professionals in the state based on MedicalMalpracticeLawyers.org’s stringent six-point scoring system. To make it even more impressive, Robert was selected based on individual medical malpractice trial performance in the previous 24 months as well as peer reviews.
This award is reserved for the most elite medical malpractice professionals in the state of California as it only applies to less than 1% of practicing attorneys.
Part Two of a Two-Part Series
You might reasonably ask yourself, “Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?” There are a lot of good reasons, but for one – insurance companies love to see plaintiffs who are not legally represented. This means that, not only can they utilize their own expert legal staff against you, but they can drag out the proceedings to the point that you may well settle out of court simply in sheer desperation.
If you are forced to hold out long enough, you may have to take whatever they offer just to recover something, and get on with your life. But you should also know that an insurance company is under no obligation to settle with you.
Another reason why you should never represent yourself is the complexity of the process. You will be required to answer every request for information and documents and you must be able to do so in a timely manner. Insurance companies are well-versed in the law. You’re not. They know this, and they use it to their advantage.