California Medical Malpractice Basics—Do You Have A Case?
When a patient sustains an injury during the course of their medical care, they could have a medical malpractice claim in California. We’re going to cover some of the basics of California medical malpractice law to give you an idea of whether or not you have a case. Let’s dive in.
What Is California Malpractice?
Generally speaking, medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider breaches the standard of care while treating a patient. That breach must also cause an injury to the patient for there to be a medical malpractice case.
Standard of care is a term that refers to the generally accepted practices and procedures that all practitioners in the area should be using when treating someone who is suffering from a given ailment or disease, and the standard of care also varies depending on a variety of factors—including your overall health, age, and more.
When a doctor doesn’t follow the standard of care for your illness or injury, that’s not enough on its own to warrant a medical malpractice case. You must also show (and this is the more difficult part) that the doctor’s breach of care resulted in an injury. Proving so often requires the help of an expert witness.
Also, under California law, the definition of “treatment” is very broad. Treatment doesn’t just mean providing care or writing a prescription—it extends throughout the entire medical process, meaning even a misdiagnosis could (in some cases) be considered malpractice.
Statute of Limitations for California Medical Malpractice Claims
Every state sets their own statute of limitations for filing malpractice cases, which refers to the timeframe during which a hurt or sick patient may file a lawsuit against their medical provider.
California medical malpractice law states that a patient can file a malpractice claim for up to one year after the discovery of the act that caused their injury, or three years from the date that their injury occurred—whichever applies first.
With strict limits in place, time is of the essence. If you suspect medical malpractice in California, contact a personal injury attorney right away before you risk losing out on the compensation you deserve.
California Malpractice Damage Caps
The money you seek in a lawsuit is called damages, and their are several types of damages available to victims of medical malpractice cases. Under California law, some types of damages do have limits.
Compensatory damages are meant to ease the burden of medical bills or lost wages caused by your injury, and have no maximum limit.
Non-economic damages compensate you for various things like pain, suffering, disfigurement, inconvenience, or physical impairment. In California, these types of damages of limited to $250,000.
Patients may also seek punitive damages under certain circumstances. Punitive damages are meant to punish the doctor or healthcare professional for reckless behavior, and seeking punitive damages means proving that the doctor acted fraudulently or with malice. Punitive damages are also uncapped and have no maximum limit.
How Much Is My Medical Malpractice Case Worth?
To find out if you have a case, give us a call right now or fill out the form below to set up a free malpractice consultation and case evaluation with one of our skilled attorneys.
We’ll help you figure out just how strong your case really is, what type of compensation you may be entitled to, and the best path forward to winning that compensation.
Remember, every day you delay is another day that draws closer to your case’s statute of limitations cutoff. Let’s get started ASAP—before it’s too late.