San Francisco Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The attorneys at Callaway & Wolf have handled medical malpractice cases in San Francisco and just about all the Bay Area counties over our 30+ year history. Many of these cases have involved Kaiser Permanente malpractice, and those cases are heard in a special Kaiser arbitration program, which has its own independent administrator. These are challenging cases, requiring an attorney with great dedication, specialized skills and good connections to highly-qualified expert witnesses. If you or a family member has been injured due to medical neglect, call a San Francisco medical malpractice lawyer at Callaway & Wolf today at 415-541-0300.
California’s “MICRA” law limits both attorney’s fees and the amount an injured person can receive for medical malpractice cases. MICRA limits recovery for “general damages” such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or even death of a loved one. The MICRA limits increased starting in 2023, but they still have a major impact on the available compensation for many cases.
The Steps In Evaluating Medical Malpractice Cases
- An attorney should make a preliminary assessment of your claim, based on information you provide. Sometimes, for various reasons, a decision is made at this stage that we will not proceed further with your claim. Those reasons may include a potential conflict of interest (for example, where the potential defendant in your claim is a treating physician for other clients or is an expert witness in another case), a belief that the liability case is weak, or that the provable damages are not extensive enough to justify the risks and costs of pursuing the claim.
- If this initial review is positive, the medical records will be obtained and reviewed by an attorney. Establishing liability, or fault, depends, in most cases, on what is in the medical records. In the second stage of the evaluation process, we will examine copies of all the relevant records.
- The initial review of the records will be done by an attorney. It may take as long as four weeks or more to secure records, and the doctors and hospitals are allowed to charge for their copying costs, or will simply make the records available to an outside copy service. Depending on the volume of records and the complexity of the case, the review may take four weeks or more to complete. Often it is necessary for us to perform medical research.
- Send the records to a medical expert. The best experts are busy practicing doctors. It can take time to find the right one, who is available for new cases, and is willing to take it on. Frequently the expert has to be from out of the area. Expect 3-4 weeks for the expert to perform the review and give their opinion. Although you may prefer to see a written report, lawyers never want that for an initial opinion. At least half the cases are not supported by retained experts, despite how strongly the victim and the lawyer saw the case.
Proving Medical Malpractice Cases
Many malpractice cases fall into one of a few categories, such as failure to diagnosis, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and prescription errors. In addition to proving that the doctor made an error, you must be able to prove that the error caused you harm. If, for example, a doctor negligently missed making a diagnosis, but another doctor made the correct diagnosis and treatment began shortly afterward, there probably would not be a case.
Our San Francisco medical malpractice lawyers begin the process of building a case by getting the facts from our clients and reviewing their medical records, in most cases an expert review is needed to determine whether there is a case. A minority of doctors take on this work as experts, and many of those who do will only accept cases to defend another doctor. Thus your attorney’s ability to find and hire the best expert for your case is key. Some cases require more than one expert: one to speak to the malpractice, and another to give opinions on the injury caused by the malpractice.
What’s the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice in California?
The statute of limitations, or time limits that apply to medical malpractice cases, are often short. There is a complex law that sets the limitation period for cases, but the California Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice can be as short as six months for a claim against a public medical facility, or one year for claims against a private doctor or facility. You will need a lawyer to analyze the facts of your case and advise you what deadline applies. In most cases, a letter stating your intent to bring a case in court will extend the statute of limitations for 90 additional days.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Lawyer in San Francisco
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to speak with an attorney in person. If you’ve been injured by medical malpractice or know someone who has, call 415-541-0300 for a free consultation with a top-rated medical malpractice attorney in San Francisco, CA.