Georgia Medical Malpractice Laws
Each state has their own set of medical malpractice laws in place, and it is important for patients to understand those laws and how they could affect their case. The following are the basics of the laws in Georgia.
Many states have sought to create tort reform laws in the past decade, and for a lot of them the new laws were deemed unconstitutional. The state of Georgia is one such state and many of the new rules, though challenged, remain in place.
If you feel you have a valid claim, it will pay off to learn a bit about the state malpractice laws Georgia. The most important of which is the burden of proof. Medical malpractice cases are always built on some simple “proofs”. The victim has to prove that there was negligence or malpractice, they have to show that this negligence led to their injury or loss, and they need to establish what the standard of care was in the first place.
That puts a lot of pressure on the claimant, and yet state malpractice laws Georgia increased the pressures when they enacted their SB 3 legislation that increased the burden of proof in emergency medical care cases and for surgeries following emergency care. The claimant in such matters has to go beyond the “reasonable doubt” limits imposed on other claims, and this illustrates why it is important to act fast.
The Time Limits Around State Malpractice Laws Georgia
There is a term known as the statute of limitations, and it tends to apply to many different kinds of legal matters. Where it fits into state malpractice laws Georgia is simple: claimants have from two years of the date of injury or death to make their claim. The exceptions include minors (who have to meet specific age guidelines) and “foreign object” cases in which the claimants have one year after the discovery of the object to file their claims.
The burden of proof remains in all cases, and expert testimony is required for all complaints filed. Using an affidavit from a medical expert, the claimant is responsible for establishing the factual basis for the negligence. The expert testimony can help to determine the liability of the parties involved.
The state malpractice laws Georgia allow for several liabilities only (on all cases beginning after 2005). This means that damages are determined by the percentage of fault that is assigned to each defendant in the case. The use of joint liability ended in 2005, meaning that if one of the parties is unable to pay their share of the damages, the plaintiff cannot obtain it from remaining parties in the group.
The issue of vicarious liability applies as well, though this is quite complex. Non-employees may or may not be considered a liability for a hospital, and many different conditions apply. This is a point that an attorney can help you to understand, and it is only one of the many reasons that legal expertise is of the utmost importance in medical malpractice issues.
Of course, you may wonder about the limitations on damages in state malpractice laws Georgia and the good news is that there is no cap on compensatory damages. Non-economic damages were imposed in the SB 3, but were deemed unconstitutional, and punitive damages can apply only when a specific burden of proof has demonstrated that the medical provider acted with intention or malice. Attorneys’ have no caps and need no approval from the courts.
There is a lot more to know about malpractice laws in the state of Georgia, and few laypersons can understand them enough to move forward on their own. Whether you suffered injury or loss because of medical malpractice, your state laws exist to provide you with the means of seeking compensation. Don’t ignore your rights for damages.
- AllLaw. What are Joint and Several… https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/multiple-parties-liable.html