Do I Have A Malpractice Case?

Do I Have A Malpractice Case?
Nov 22, 2016


This is the number one question we get asked by potential clients who have been hurt while under the care of a doctor or providers at a hospital or clinic. And, it’s a great question! The reality is that there are situations where something bad may have happened, but it’s not the fault of the doctor, nurse or hospital. Other times, someone may have been negligent, but nothing bad happened. So, let’s talk about what you need to have a medical malpractice case.

  • First, there must be negligence. A healthcare provider had to have done something wrong, or in legalese, “breached the standard of care.” The healthcare provider had to have done something (or failed to do something) that no other ordinary healthcare provider would have done (or failed to do). In Georgia, to file a medical malpractice case in court, we must have a healthcare provider sign an affidavit outlining at least one negligent act; otherwise, the case will be thrown out.
  • Second, there must be a damage or harm to the plaintiff. If a doctor makes a mistake, but you are not harmed, there is no medical malpractice case. For example, say you have an elderly relative in the hospital and the doctor orders that the bed rails are up at all times so that she doesn’t fall out of bed. If the nurse forgets to put the bed rails up, but your elderly relative doesn’t fall out of bad, there are no damages. She could have been hurt, but thankfully, she wasn’t.
  • Finally, there must be a link between the negligence and the damage, or what we call “causation.” If your elderly relative receives an infection while at the hospital, we can’t say that she suffered an infection because the bed rails were not up. We have to be able to link the injury (infection) to the negligence of a healthcare provider.

There are many other factors that determine whether you have a medical malpractice case that we can pursue, but these are three essential pieces to the puzzle. If you have questions concerning your specific situation and whether you or a loved one may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover your damages, contact Warshauer Woodward Atkins for a free consultation.