San Rafael is a city on the move, with video game and technology companies choosing to call it home. But as employers move in, the area grows, with all the comforts being necessary – especially doctors and other medical professionals who can keep employees happy and safe. A failure to perform that duty can mean pain for a lifetime, and the stakes are high. Medical malpractice is something, if it happens to you, that needs to be addressed, and a knowledgeable attorney can do so. Our medical malpractice lawyers in San Rafael are experienced and willing to fight.
Criteria For Malpractice Is Specific
In order to show that medical malpractice has occurred, you must be able to demonstrate certain criteria. You must be able to show that a medical professional has breached the standard of care owed to patients (that is, that they did not conduct themselves according to the prevailing standard a reasonable person would use when treating a patient). You must be able to show that you suffered harm directly as a result of the professional’s conduct, and that no other superseding cause exists, and that you suffered harm that is tangible and not ephemeral – that is, harm that lasts more than a couple of hours or days.
It is important to understand that the standard of care can vary depending on factors like geographic location and specialty. For example, the standard of care in San Rafael, which is a moderately large city with access to some of the top medical minds and technology, may be very different than the standard of care in a rural village with only limited access to cutting edge research. If a doctor does the best they can with substandard tools, they have likely not committed malpractice because they are performing to the best of their ability with the standard that is in place at the time, in that location.
It is also worth knowing that California’s concept of “treatment” is much broader than many other states’, which can be relevant when determining medical malpractice because the action had to happen during the course of a doctor treating a patient. Many non-standard medical practices, such as acupuncture, might conceivably fall under the aegis of “treatment” depending on the facts of a particular case, so it is a good idea to be aware that you may have a cause of action even if a regular medical doctor was not the one who allegedly committed malpractice against you.
Limits On California Malpractice Claims
While California has a large population, medical malpractice claims are perhaps less common than one might think, because the law regulates the amount of damages that a person can claim in a case against a medical professional. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was passed in California in 1975, ostensibly to keep malpractice premiums down in the state so that providers could spend more on patient care and less on overhead. However, in reality, what the law has done is limit non-economic damages to $250,000. This means a person can only recover up to $250,000 for any type of cause of action such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, or loss of consortium (loss of marital enjoyment) – when in today’s dollars, such bills can reach up to millions.
Six other states have a similar cap on non-economic damages, but as of this writing, California is the only state to have no provision in its law to raise the cap along with the rate of inflation. No cap, however, exists on economic damages (that is, on reimbursing actual medical bills incurred by someone who has been injured), so some do bring suit if there is a chance to recover their medical bills. It is also possible, though extremely rare, to recover punitive damages if one is able to show that a medical professional’s conduct was particularly outrageous or egregious.
Another limitation on many malpractice claims, however, is the relatively short statute of limitations that California has placed on these cases. California law permits only one year from the date of discovery of the injury (or the date one should have discovered the injury by exercising reasonable diligence) in which a claim can be filed. Other states permit as long as three years, so if someone is new to California or otherwise ignorant of the statute, they may wind up with no recourse if they do not file a claim quickly enough.
Types of Malpractice
Because California’s definition of “treatment” is fairly wide, almost any type of injury sustained in medical care, if it is sustained due to error, may be enough to allege malpractice. Examples of some of the most common cases include:
- Birth injuries, such as prenatal issues and injuries incurred during an improper delivery;
- Surgical mistakes such as anesthesia-related errors, operating on the wrong area or person, or causing damage due to negligence;
- Medication errors;
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis; and
- Treatment errors, such as delaying too long to attempt a certain treatment.
There are of course many different actions which may give rise to allegations of malpractice, but these are perhaps the most common, as they are a large percentage of the problems that doctors and nurses treat in any given day.
Our San Rafael Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Ready To Help You
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. Malpractice victims are often left disabled or in severe pain, and sometimes managing your medical issues and bills can feel like it has taken over your life. Engaging our law firm to mount your malpractice claim means you can focus on the important things, like recovering and getting the treatment you deserve.
When you hire our medical malpractice attorneys, you can feel like you are not alone. There are 15 attorneys in our firm, and we use all of our skill and resources to ensure that your claim is given its fair due. We also work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to worry about fees until there is a decision in your case. To schedule a free consultation, contact us by telephone today at 415-421-2800, or use our handy web contact form.