Christa R. Haggai, Attorney-at-Law
All of us have heard a lot about “Tort Reform” in the past 10 years or more on both a State and National level from politicians. At first glance many people might think that it is a good thing. However, limiting someone’s Constitutional Rights is never a good thing. California passed tort reform in 1975 affecting disputes between healthcare providers and limiting the recovery of the injured victim of medical malpractice. This has had the effect of limiting victims of medical malpractice access to attorneys, courts and juries, and ultimately justice for the harm caused to them by negligent health care providers. If you or a loved one believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At the Haggai Law Firm we can help you navigate your claim against your healthcare provider that caused injuries to you or your loved one.
If you are in a car accident or have a slip and fall injury, the victim of another’s negligence generally has two years from the date of loss to file a lawsuit. However, in California , a medical malpractice victim’s rights are restricted and they must, within one year from the date the victim discovered the negligent act of the healthcare provider, but no more than three years from the date of injury, file a lawsuit. For cases where the healthcare provider leaves a foreign object inside the human body after surgery, the statute is tolled until the victim discovers or should have discovered the injury.
In the case of a minor, in ordinary personal injury cases, a victim of negligence who is a minor at the time of injury has two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. However, the law is more restricting and the parents or guardians of the injured minor must move faster when a healthcare provider causes the injuries. In medical malpractice cases involving a minor, the lawsuit must be filed within three years from the date of the negligent act, unless the child is under the age of six, in which case the action must be commenced within three years or prior to the child’s eighth birthday, whichever provides the longer time period.
California law allows a victim of medical malpractice to hold a hospital liable for the acts of a doctor if he or she is an agent of the hospital. When a hospital holds out a physician as an employee, a patient may reasonably assume that the physician is an employee of the hospital without making an inquiry on the subject.
To establish a claim case of medical malpractice in Los Angeles against a healthcare provider, the negligence of that healthcare provider must be proven by expert medical testimony. While it is not required to have an expert review a case prior to filing a lawsuit, we believe it is good practice and require all clients to have their claims reviewed by an expert prior to filing a lawsuit
If you are injured in a car accident or other personal injury claim, not committed by a healthcare provider, you are entitled to receive full recover for the injuries you have suffered. Unfortunately regardless of injury, California places a cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages, which are compensation for the greatest loss in a personal injury case – as compensation for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary injury, are limited to $250,000. The cap applies whether the case is for injury or death. While there are damages caps on the non-economic injuries you have suffered, there are no caps in California for your economic losses. When you or a loved one is injured as a result of someone’s negligence, this loss may be accompanied by a life time of required medical care and treatment. It may also mean that you or your injured loved one can no longer work and support your family. In California, you are entitled to receive compensation for all your economic losses. Therefore, it is imperative you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you with your claim. Call us today at the Haggai Law Firm to speak with an experienced medical practice attorney.
If you are injured in a car accident, and you settle or receive a verdict from a jury, you are entitled to payment for your damages immediately. However, unlike other claims for personal injuries, for medical malpractice cases that result in judgments of future damages in excess of $50,000, either party may request the court to order periodic payments.
California limits the amount attorneys in a medical malpractice case can collect pursuant to a contingent fee arrangement to 40 percent of the first $50,000, 33 1/3 percent of the next $50,000, 25 percent of the next $500,000, and 15 percent of any amount that exceeds $600,000. This limit applies regardless of whether the recovery is by settlement, arbitration, or judgment. However, the attorneys for the hospital or doctor who caused your injuries fee’s are not limited in anyway. In other words, the hospital can pay the doctor market rates. The effect of this law is that fewer attorneys take medical malpractice cases, making it more difficult for you to find an attorney willing to work for less compensation to represent you in your personal injury claim against a hospital or other healthcare provider. We at the Haggai Law Firm still handle medical malpractice cases in Los Angeles despite these fee limitations. We want to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to under the law for the harm caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence. Call the Haggai Law Firm today to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Los Angeles.
YOU WILL ALMOST ALWAYS NEED AN ATTORNEY IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE. Insurance companies aggressively litigate medical malpractice cases, rarely settling them until close to trial. What is more, all medical malpractice cases require expert testimony in order to prevail at trial. This is an extremely complex area of law, requiring the knowledge and expertise of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
In California, because of the complexity of the law, it is imperative to hire an attorney with experience to help you and your family get the recovery you deserve to compensate you for the harms you and your family has suffered as a result of medical negligence of the healthcare provider. Because of the strict timelines for filing a lawsuit, it is also highly important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to insure that your claim is timely.
There is no common medical malpractice claim. Each medical malpractice claim is unique to each person. However, there are several common themes including misdiagnosis of a disease or condition. An example of this one is the brain damage baby case, where a OBGYN fails to recognize conditions such as pre-eclampsia in the mother, resulting in brain damage and potential death in both the mother and the child. There are also cases of delay in diagnosis, which can have equally devastating consequences. Because each medical malpractice is unique to each individual, each case requires an extraordinary amount of work and dedication of your attorney, finding the best expert witnesses and working with the family and injured party to find out how the injury has impacted their lives. It is only with this hard work and dedication to the client that we can work to obtain the best resolution for you and your family.
There are often bad results in medicine. Bad results do not necessarily mean you have a case. The only way to know for sure if a doctor or medical professional breached the standard of care in the community is to have your case evaluated by an expert in that particular field of medicine. Unlike automobile accident cases, a medical malpractice case requires the use of expert opinion. Therefore, there are no common factors necessarily to determine whether or not you have a medical malpractice case.
Christa R. Haggai