When Do Georgia Injury Victims Need to Submit Expert Affidavits?

In a recent case, a state appellate court reversed a Georgia trial court’s ruling and found that a plaintiff did not need to present an expert affidavit in her lawsuit against a health clinic. According to the opinion, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against a health clinic after she sustained injuries because of a botched blood draw. The woman alleged that the blood draw was performed negligently and without her permission. The clinic filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the plaintiff needed to file an expert affidavit. In response, the plaintiff argued that the blood draw was non-consensual. However, the trial court granted the clinic’s motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court reviewed Georgia Code § 9-11-9.1, which addresses the requirement of affidavits in professional malpractice lawsuits. Generally, when a plaintiff files a lawsuit against a Georgia health-care facility based on vicariously liability and professional malpractice, they must submit an expert affidavit. Expert affidavits are used to determine whether a defendant has complied with the professional standard of care required of them. Generally, a plaintiff must establish that the medical professional owed them a duty, the defendant breached a generally accepted professional standard of care, that this breach caused the plaintiff harm, and that the plaintiff suffered a compensable injury.

Typically, to establish the standard of care, the plaintiff must present an affidavit from a qualified expert and this affidavit must be filed with the lawsuit. This expert must be able to testify to their qualifications and be able to establish at least one negligent act or omission by the defendant. However, this is not applicable when professional skills or judgment are not involved. The court found that a technician does not fall into any of the enumerated categories in the statute, and thus, an expert affidavit was not necessary.

Additionally, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in dismissing her intentional misconduct lawsuit against the clinic. She explained that Georgia Code § 9-11-9, does not require expert affidavits for intentional misconduct claims. The appellate court cited the Supreme Court of Georgia, which found that lawsuits based on injuries sustained because of intentional acts of negligence do not require expert affidavits. Here, the plaintiff argued that the technician performed the blood draw without her consent and thus should be liable for an intentional battery. Ultimately the appellate court reversed the trial’s court dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint

Have You Suffered a Preventable Injury at the Hands of a Georgia Medical Professional?

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of the negligence of a medical professional, you should contact McAleer Law. The attorneys at the McAleer Law have decades of experience handling a wide range of Georgia medical malpractice lawsuits against negligent health care providers. The attorneys at our Georgia medical malpractice firm can help you understand your rights and remedies and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the law firm at 404-622-5337 to schedule your free initial consultation.