Q: What does a medical malpractice lawyer do?
A: A medical malpractice lawyer is a lawyer that sues health care providers for negligent care. In California, "health care provider" has a specific definition, but generally refers to doctors (M.D., D.C.), nurses, hospitals, and nursing homes. To determine whether care was "negligent," the medical malpractic lawyer will usually consult with experts in the relevant health field to determine whether the health care professional accused of malpractice "violated the recognized standard of care" in providing treatment to the victim. If the answer is no, even if there was some tragic outcome, there is probably no malpractice case. If the answer is yes, that the health care professional breached the standard of care, then there may be a viable malpractice case, and the lawyer may bring a civil action on behalf of the victim.
Medical malpractice cases in California are notoriously complex and difficult, partially because of California law, which provides many hurdles that victims of malpractice must overcome. This isn't the proper place to list them all, but the body of law is called the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (or "MICRA"), which heavily regulates medical malpractice cases.
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