Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can I sue a doctor for malpractice in 1994 in Georgia?

Once again, we often hear from folks after their time has run out. Here's a question I got last week from a lady who waited way too long.
Q.  When I had my first child in 1994, the MD performed an episiotomy which caused severe nerve damage (sliced through tissue from vagina to rectum). I did not file suit at the time because I was hoping the problem would resolve. It is now 14 years later and the quality of life has suffered terribly due to damage incurred. Is it too late to file suit for damages?
A. Georgia has a rather strict two year statute of limitation in medical malpractice case. Nothing in your question suggests applicability of any of the narrow exceptions.

Former Mechanic Linked Workplace Exposure to Leukemia

A former police auto mechanic who was recently diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia filed a workers compensation claim against his former employer in West Virginia. The claim states that it was due to his benzene exposure while employed with the West Virginia State Police that he is now suffering from this fatal form of cancer. Unfortunately, the man passed away while his case was on appeal after it was originally denied.

It was following his death that the Supreme Court of Appeals came to a conclusion that there was in fact a link between his exposure to benzene on the job and the development of leukemia. Leukemia is one of the many illnesses that is associated with benzene exposure. Through the medical literature and witness testimony the plaintiff has prepared prior to his death, it was found that there was no other cause for his leukemia, than the benzene he worked with and around while employed as a mechanic. 

Employer Fights Back

The employer fought back against the workplace exposure claims brought against them claiming that the evidence provided was not accurate or medically significant. However, the court rejected these arguments and sided with the deceased mechanic.

According to West Virginia laws, a worker is able to show a link between an occupational disease and their employment under two conditions: 1) They have significant studies and research that clearly show how the disease is associated with a workplace hazard, and 2) If they can show that they were exposed to a hazard and as a result are now suffering from a disease connected to this hazard.

The mechanic was able to prove both and as a result his claims proved successful and those he left behind will be compensated on his behalf.