Sacramento Medical Malpractice Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, an experienced and highly rated Sacramento Attorney since 1982. I've been successfully helping Sacramento area families work through medical malpractice issues for decades.
When you or a family member is in the hospital, you expect the care you receive to be top-notch, because the staff treating you is highly trained, and paid very well.
But even with all the expertise surrounding you, mistakes can happen, sometimes with devastating consequences.What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical Malpractice occurs when a physician fails to properly treat a medical condition, and the negligent act or omission is the cause of a new, or aggravated injury, to the patient. Obviously, the physician cannot be responsible for the original underlying medical problem, but for a new injury, they can.Types of Medical Malpractice
The negligence in medical malpractice cases can occur in a variety of situations including but not limited to:
- There may be "medical malpractice" by a delay or failure in diagnosing a disease; or
- A surgical or anesthesia-related mishap during an operative procedure could constitute "medical malpractice"; or
- Malpractice may involve the physician's failure to gain the informed consent of the patient for an operation or surgical procedure; or
- A physician who has made the correct diagnosis may thereafter commit malpractice by failing to properly treat the disease process;
- Misuse of Prescription Drugs or a Medical Device or Implant can also be medical malpractice.
The attorney must determine as quickly and efficiently as possible whether there is a good, actionable case. This is so because medical malpractice cases are, by their very nature, complex, expensive to pursue, have a high risk of no recovery, and often involve a client's "personal" attachment.
The first step in the process involves the potential client entering into an agreement with the attorney in which agreement sets forth the method of attorney compensation.
Typically the attorney agrees to advance all costs, only to be repaid in the event of recovery, and to work on a contingent fee basis, meaning the attorney would receive a percentage of the gross recovery.
So....no recovery means you pay nothing.
During the initial client contact, the attorney will obtain a detailed medical history during which the attorney should get the names of all physicians and hospitals that have rendered medical treatment to the client.
It is valuable for a client to prepare a written summary (timeline) of all medical treatment including dates, doctors, symptoms, conversations with medical providers, and treatment received.
After that, all relevant medical records are obtained by the attorney. In many medical malpractice cases, proof of negligence is found in these records.
Here is a video we recently put together regarding selecting an attorney in Sacramento:Determining Medical Malpractice
To determine if there is "medical malpractice," it is necessary that a medical expert is retained to consult with the plaintiff's attorney.
This expert should be well qualified to give a medical opinion and is therefore frequently board certified in the relevant field of medicine. If, after a thorough review of the medical records, the medical expert concludes "with reasonable medical certainty that the action or inaction of the defendant physician was the cause of damage to the plaintiff," it is appropriate to file suit against the physician/hospital.
Filing suit begins the legal process which may cover several years. During this period both parties exchange a series of documents.
In the first stage, the legal pleading stage, the parties set forth with precision their legal theories.
In the second stage called, the discovery stage, the facts to support the various legal theories are developed.
If the parties are not able to resolve their differences the case, now in its third stage, will go to trial before a judge and jury.Medial Malpractice FAQs:
Q: Which areas does your law firm practice in?
A: We take cases throughout California, but most of our cases are filed in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, San Joaquin, and Solano counties.
Q: Does California have a cap on medical malpractice cases?
A: The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) resulted in a $250,000 cap on “non-economic damages.” Non-economic damages are damages such as pain and suffering, discomfort, and the psychological impact of injuries. California does not have a cap on damage amounts people can receive as compensation for medical care.
Q: Who can be held responsible for medical malpractice?
A: Health care providers which have been negligent may be held responsible for medical malpractice. This includes a wide variety of providers including doctors, surgeons, oral surgeons, nurses, therapists, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, eye doctors, obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN), vascular surgeons, neurosurgeons, Ophthalmologists, Maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, other medical specialists, and hospitals.
Q: Do you represent patients from all hospitals?
A: Yes. While hospitals and their staff and the people who work in them generally offer a tremendous service, if things go wrong, I am here to assist and represent the injured. Some of the highest rated hospitals in Sacramento include Sutter Memorial Hospital, Mercy General, and UC Davis Medical Center. There are thousands of medical facilities in Sacramento and all over CA.
Q: What if a loved one died due to medical negligence?
A: If a health care provider’s negligence directly caused a loved one to pass, the provider may be sued for wrongful death. We have a page dedicated to this here: Wrongful Death.
Q: Is there a time limit on medical negligence or malpractice cases in Sacramento?
A: The statute of limitations varies from state to state. In Sacramento and all of California, the Statute of Limitations (SOL) is slightly different for claims by adults and for birth injury suits by children. For non-birth injury medical malpractice cases by children, the SOL is the same as for adults.
Here is the section of California law that applies:
Adults: CCP 340.5
In action for injury or death against a health care provider based upon such person’s alleged professional negligence, the time for the commencement of action shall be three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.
For a birth injury to children, this section applies:
Children: Birth Injury Claims CCP 340.4
Birth injuries caused by medical negligence have an eight-year statute from the date of the birth.
There are many exceptions to the above rules that affect the time you must file. Speak to an attorney personally to find out what time limits may apply in your case.Sacramento Medical Malpractice Lawyers
I'm Ed Smith, a medical malpractice lawyer in Sacramento. If you have been injured or if a loved one has died due to complications at the hospital and you believe it may be negligence of medical malpractice, call me at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.
Photo by: Pixabay
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.4.19]