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When you get injured, sick, or have a condition that requires medical attention, you schedule an appointment with a doctor or visit an emergency room to seek treatment. When you go to a hospital or emergency room, you expect to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, healthcare professionals fail to provide the highest quality of care, which can result in harm to patients.

If you or someone you care about has suffered harm as a result of the negligent or careless conduct of a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or another medical professional, you must speak with a medical malpractice attorney. As an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Fitzgerald Law, I assist clients in all medical malpractice matters in Glendale, California, and other parts of California, including Los Angeles, Burbank, the San Gabriel Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.

Medical Malpractice in California


Many people who suffer harm as a result of receiving substandard or inadequate medical care do not realize that they have a right to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages. If you were injured or your condition worsened because of a doctor's negligent act, you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

California law defines medical malpractice as a healthcare provider's failure to provide treatment that meets the accepted standards of care, which results in further injury or illness to a patient. To file a successful medical malpractice claim in California, an injured patient or their family members (in a wrongful death lawsuit) need to establish the following four elements:

  1. The existence of a doctor/patient relationship;

  2. The doctor's failure to adhere to the accepted standards of care;

  3. The link between the doctor's negligence and the patient's injury or death; and

  4. The patient's injury/death resulted in actual damages, including medical expenses, loss of income, and others.


Medical malpractice encompasses many types of medical errors, including but not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosis

  • Delayed diagnosis

  • Failure to diagnose

  • Surgical errors

  • Medical errors

  • Failure to treat

  • Birth injury


Under California's statute of limitations, an injured victim has three years after the date of sustaining the injury or one year from the date of discovering the injury, whichever comes first, to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. Failure to file a lawsuit within the applicable time limit will eliminate the victim's right to file a lawsuit.

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice?

Any medical professional who failed to adhere to the accepted standards of care can be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Often, patients sue doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, cardiologists, urologists, and obstetrician-gynecologists for providing substandard care and causing harm.


In some cases, a hospital may also be held liable for the patient's injury or death if the facility's negligence contributed to the malpractice. Consider speaking with a skilled attorney to identify all liable parties who can be sued for medical malpractice in your particular case.


Unlike many other states, California does not require plaintiffs to file a certificate of merit or affidavit of a qualified medical expert when starting a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, that does not mean that you do not need an expert medical witness to win a favorable outcome in your case.


Damages Available When Suing for Medical Malpractice


A victim of medical malpractice may face physical, emotional, and financial hardships as a result of receiving inadequate medical care. Fortunately, victims of medical malpractice have a right to obtain compensation for their damages and losses. Recoverable damages in medical malpractice include but are not limited to:

  • Past and future medical bills

  • Lost wages and lost/diminished earning capacity

  • Loss of consortium

  • Pain and suffering

  • Disfigurement

  • Inconvenience

  • Emotional distress

  • Loss of enjoyment of life


Damages that may be available are case-specific, which is why you might want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Glendale, California, to review the facts of your case and determine the compensation to which you are entitled.

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