If you’ve ever suffered harm due to a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. The laws surrounding this category of negligence vary dramatically from state to state, so it’s important to learn the laws specific to your area.
Today we examine three key concepts to understand for any medical malpractice suit in Georgia:
Affidavit by expert
If you want to sue over medical malpractice in Georgia, it’s insufficient to just file a complaint; you must also file an affidavit by expert. This is an official statement written by a medical expert. It is a professional opinion which supports your claim that medical negligence led to your injury. If you don’t file an affidavit in conjunction with your complaint, your case could be dismissed.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations refers to the time limit you have to press charges. For medical malpractice suits, you normally have two years from the date the negligence occurred to file a claim. In some cases, however, you may not realize there was negligence or discover any harm until after the two years has passed. In such cases, the date by which you file your claim cannot exceed five years from the date of negligence. A final exception in Georgia law states that if a doctor leaves a foreign object in a patient (e.g., following surgery), that patient can file a medical malpractice claim within one year of discovering the object, regardless of when the negligence originally occurred.
Many states place a limit—a so-called “cap”—on the award you can receive in a medical malpractice case. Georgia used to be among these states—capping non-economic damages for pain and suffering at $350,000 for cases involving physicians. But in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court found that cap to be unconstitutional. This means that if you’re filing a medical malpractice suit in Georgia, there is theoretically no limit on how much you can receive in compensation.