No Recovery, You Owe Us Nothing
Medical malpractice claims are unique from other types of claims in many respects. In Georgia, there are laws that apply specifically to claims for medical malpractice, and understanding how these laws apply to your case can be critical to protecting your legal rights. Here is an introduction to what you need to know when you hire a Valdosta medical malpractice attorney to represent you:
One of the most important laws of which patients in Georgia need to be aware of is the state’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit for asserting your legal rights. If you do not formally initiate your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you could lose your ability to collect just compensation.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years. Under Section 9-3-71(a) of the Georgia Code, this limitation period runs from, “the date on which an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” Critically, the date of injury or death could be (and often will be) different from the date of the malpractice. For example, the effects of a diagnostic error may not manifest until months – or even years – after the misdiagnosis.
In addition to a statute of limitations, Georgia also has what is known as a statute of repose. This is similar to a statute of limitations, but it applies regardless of when a patient’s symptoms emerge. Under Section 9-3-71(b) of the Georgia Code, the statute of repose for medical malpractice claims is five years from, “the date on which the negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” So, if you discover your injury four years after your doctor’s mistake, you only have one year (not two) to file your claim for damages.
There is one major exception to Georgia’s statute of repose for medical malpractice claims, and it appears in Section 9-3-72 of the Georgia Code. Under this section, if a patient discovers that a foreign object left was in his or her body during surgery, the patient has one year to file a claim even if it has been more than five years since the date of his or her surgical procedure.
Another unique requirement for medical malpractice claims in Georgia is the obligation to submit an expert’s affidavit with the initial complaint (a complaint is a document filed to initiate a civil lawsuit). As explained in Section 9-11-9.1 of the Georgia Code, failure to submit this affidavit is grounds for dismissal, and in most cases, it will not extend the statute of limitations or the statute of repose. As a result, if you believe that you may have a medical malpractice claim, it is imperative that you hire an experienced malpractice attorney to begin working on your case as soon as possible.
If you believe that you may be a victim of medical malpractice in Georgia, we encourage you to contact us promptly so that our Valdosta medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at your convenience, please call 800-780-8607 or submit your case online today.