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Medical Malpractice Claim in California

Under California law, an injured patient can pursue a medical malpractice claim in California against physicians or other health care providers in case their negligent act or omission caused injury or death to the patient.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in California

The claimant must be able to establish the following elements to have a successful case:

  • There was a patient-doctor relationship
  • Doctor owed a standard of care to the patient
  • Doctor violated that standard of care
  • The doctor’s actions or omissions caused an injury to the patient
  • As a result of the medical malpractice the patient suffered

Standard of Care for Medical Malpractice Claims

Standard of care is a term that refers to the accepted practices and procedures that healthcare providers use when treating a patient and it can vary depending on a different number of factors, such as the patient’s overall health or age. A standard of care can be shown through gathering testimony from expert witnesses, such as from another doctor who practices at a similar facility and the same type of medicine.

What Can Qualify as a Medical Malpractice in California?

Here are some common examples of medical malpractice:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to recognize symptoms
  • Ignoring or misreading the test results
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Premature discharge
  • Providing the wrong medication or wrong dosage
  • Unnecessary surgery or surgical errors
  • Incorrect medication or dosage
  • Poor follow-up care

Who Can Be Liable for Medical Malpractice in California?

In California, an injured person can bring a medical malpractice case against

  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Clinics
  • Doctors
  • Podiatrists
  • Physical therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Chiropractors,
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

In California, a plaintiff has three years after the initial date of the injury to bring a personal injury claim connected to medical malpractice lawsuits. Though in case there is an issue in discovering that something happened such as an injury which shows no signs of damage to the person’s body, there is only 1 year after this plaintiff discovers the harm.

There is an exception in the statute of limitations and the time for bringing a claim can be longer in case the minor is under the age of six or just before his eighth birthday. Also, in case the person suffers an injury through medical malpractice because of fraudulent actions, this time can be stopped for a while.

Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered From a Medical Malpractice Claim in California

In California, patients who suffered as a result of medical malpractice can recover the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Home health care
  • Lost wages
  • Non-economic damages

California medical malpractice laws may change at any time so it would be best to get updated information from a professional near you.

If you were harmed by a healthcare provider’s negligence, we invite you to get in touch with our medical malpractice lawyers at KAASS Law for a free consultation!


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  1. Pingback:California Medical Malpractice Laws | KAASS LAW

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