Attorney Profiles

Sean M. Burke

Sean M. Burke

With more than 25 years of experience as an attorney, Sean M. Burke can help you attain the compensation you deserve after a serious personal injury. He holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and was named Orange County Trial Lawyer Association's (OCTLA) Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyer of the Year for 2005.
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Heather J. Higson

Heather J. Higson

Heather J. Higson became a member of the State Bar of California in 1989, and joined Mr. Burke’s law firm in 2006. She has experience in every area of medical malpractice, from case inception through discover and trial.
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Holding Negligent Medical Professionals Accountable

Medical Malpractice Attorney Orange County

Doctors and other medical professionals save and improve countless lives each year. As such, they are rightly among the most important, highly paid, and esteemed members of our society. But when their negligence causes harm to the patients who have entrusted them with their well-being, the consequences can be dire. Medical malpractice law, which attorney Sean M. Burke practices in the San Bernardino and Orange County areas, allows victims of these errors to be compensated for economic and emotional damages.

Video: A Doctor's Negligence

If you have suffered because of a doctor's negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer with our Orange County practice can help you secure compensation. If you have suffered because of a doctor's negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer with our Orange County practice can help you secure compensation. Enlarge Video View All Videos

Types of Medical Malpractice

Any negligent error in the course of medical treatment can become the basis of a medical malpractice case, but certain phases of medical care are more likely to lead to serious mistakes by doctors. Misdiagnosis, in which the doctor fails to identify the source of the medical problem correctly or quickly enough, and errors in medication selection or dosage are among the most common types of negligence that lead to successful medical malpractice cases. Improper administration of anesthesia, failure to secure informed consent before procedures are performed, wrongful amputation, or failure to provide appropriate treatment can also be the basis of successful malpractice litigation.

Medical malpractice errors can occur in the presence of almost any condition. In fact, a recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that no single condition accounted for even 5 percent of successful medical malpractice claims. Some procedures and types of care do give rise to more mistakes than others, however. Birth injury cases, in which a medical professional causes permanent injury to a child by making a preventable error during or shortly after delivery, are quite common. At the other end of life, elder abuse perpetrated by negligent employees of retirement homes can also be considered medical malpractice. Wrongful death qualifies as malpractice if it occurs as a result of a doctor's error during surgery or another medical treatment. Unnecessary brain injury caused by medical professionals is yet another type of malpractice.

If you believe you or a loved one may have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact attorney Sean M. Burke at his Orange County office, serving San Bernadino, Los Angeles, Riverside, and beyond.

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Elements of a Malpractice Case

Like most legal proceedings, medical malpractice lawsuits have acquired a set of standard elements that must be proved and standards that must be met if the plaintiff is to be victorious. First, the medical malpractice plaintiff's attorney must establish that the physician or other defendants were obligated by law to treat the patient. Next, the plaintiff must prove that this duty was breached, either by failure to provide treatment or by failure to meet relevant standards in providing it; this task is often accomplished using expert testimony from another doctor familiar with the field. The third step is to demonstrate that the errors in treatment caused injury to the patient, and the last is to show that these injuries caused damages (physical or emotional losses). If the judge or jury in the case finds in the plaintiff's favor in all these medical malpractice elements, or if the defendant is sure enough that they will to settle, the plaintiff will be paid a sum determined by the court in restitution.

Because of the technical nature of these lawsuits, it is crucial that medical malpractice plaintiffs have an experienced, knowledgeable professional on their side when going to court. Personal injury lawyer Sean M. Burke has tried, won, and settled many such cases, and in doing so has built up the expertise necessary to discern whether a medical malpractice case has merit and what possible damages can be recovered. People interested in discussing the strength of their medical malpractice cases are encouraged to contact attorney Burke at his Orange County office, serving San Bernardino and surrounding counties.

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Restrictions on Malpractice Cases

Victims of medical malpractice seeking the services of an attorney to prosecute their cases should be aware of legal deadlines and restrictions that can affect the success of their suits. Under California's statute of limitations there are strict time limits (between 6 months to 2 years) that apply to these types of cases. Once the claimant learns that he has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Cases may be brought on behalf of children injured prior to turning six up until the date that the child turns eight. Non-economic damages — those awarded for physical and emotional pain and suffering, rather than impaired ability to earn a living — cannot exceed $250,000 for any single medical malpractice injury or death. In some cases, government agencies and their employees may be legally immune to being sued. Because of these restrictions, it is important that you discuss your medical malpractice case with an attorney as soon as possible if you think you may be a victim.

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Modern physicians are trained to use carefully chosen medical practices and treatments to keep us healthy and alive longer than previous generations. When they fail to perform their jobs up to acceptable standards, the only way for patients to receive due justice is often through medical malpractice law. Attorney Sean M. Burke – serving Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Los Angeles – is committed to helping his clients restore their lives to as normal a state as possible. Please contact his offices today for help with your malpractice case.

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Law Offices of Sean M. Burke

Irvine, CA Office

9210 Irvine Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618

Phone: (949) 644-3434
Fax: (949) 644-3433

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Honors & Awards

Sean M. Burke & Heather Higson awarded Trial Lawyer of the Year for Medical Malpractice by the Orange County Trial Lawyers for 2014. Sean Burke has also been honored with this award in 2009 & 2005.

Top 5 Personal Injury Lawyers in Orange County by AVVO and OC Metro Magazine.