Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a healthcare professional or provider in which treatment provided was substandard, causing harm, injury, or death to a patient. In the majority of cases, medical malpractice or negligence involves a medical error, possibly in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment, or aftercare. The error may also have occurred because of a failure to act, known as an act of omission.
The term medical malpractice encompasses a large range of acts or failures to act, but the area of law can be tricky. Extremely strict guidelines must be met for a patient to have any chance of proving malpractice in court.
For this reason, it is important to speak with an attorney about your case before proceeding with what can be an expensive process. Approaching such a complicated area of both law and medicine alone could wind up wasting valuable resources, like time and money.
The guidelines that must be met are in place to help prevent—or at least deter—false medical malpractice claims. Personal health and well-being can change suddenly and seemingly without cause; it is human nature to want answers and closure. Hospitals, medical professionals, and other figures in the healthcare industry often find themselves being wrongly accused. This led most states to raise the difficulty of opening a tort case and lower the possible settlement from winning one.
A hospital, doctor or other health care professional is not liable for all the harms a patient might suffer. They are only legally responsible for harm or injuries that resulted from their deviating from the quality of care that a competent doctor would normally provide in similar situations, and which resulted in harm or injury for the patient.
Here are some of the most important standards that must be met before a court will consider your case arguable. The patient who is opening the case, known as the plaintiff, must be able to prove:
The court will, in nearly every case, call upon an expert witness. This witness must be educated, trained, or have more or equal experience than the at-fault party in the matter being argued to be able to give a reliable opinion. There are also guidelines for expert witnesses that are expected by the court to be met before the proceedings can move forward. Before the actual trial, the expert witness will give his testimony to the trial court judge without the jury present. The judge will then decide if his testimony is worthy of being presented to the jury.
Depending on the damage received, you may be entitled to a certain amount of compensation; however, this compensation is limited (usually termed, capped) to a certain amount which varies from state to state. There are a few different types of damages you can seek due to medical malpractice. (For more details on the subject, see in depth Medical Malpractice damages).
General Damages: These damages can range from general, everyday life-altering pain and suffering, to future lost earnings due to potential inability caused by the injury. For example, if a person was being drafted to the NFL and, as a result of medical malpractice, lost a limb, the potential earnings from the NFL may be sought as general damages. It also covers general loss of enjoyment of life (known as hedonic damages). These damages are usually asked for and determined by the expert witnesses that testify.
Special Damages: These are specific, calculable expenses like medical bills, lost wages from missed work, calculable future lost earnings from missing work, modifications to the home to compensate a disability, etc. These damages can be proved by paperwork, receipts, or anything of the like and often require little to no testifying.
Punitive Damages: The damages are separate from general and special damages and seek specifically to punish the doctor or healthcare provider for their actions. They are rare in medical malpractice, but it does happen. Punitive damages are usually reserved for the most extreme of cases in which a provider’s actions were intentionally harmful and obviously deplorable. (For more on medical malpractice punitive damages, see this article from AllLaw.com).
Regardless of the damages caused, Florida has a limit of $500,000 in compensation for medical malpractice suits against a healthcare provider, and a surprising $750,000 against non-medical practitioners. (For more information on Florida medical malpractice laws, see §766 of the Florida Statutes).
Though it is growing harder to win a medical malpractice case due to increasingly stricter requirements, it is possible and does happen. You may have some leverage that you’re not even aware of that could be crucial in winning your case, so it’s important for you to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Medical malpractice is almost never intentional. Sometimes, healthcare professionals make personal decisions when trying to solve an issue. For example, a patient may show signs of deep nerve damage and high pain tolerance, so a chiropractor applies more force than usual, causing damage to a patient’s spinal cord and permanent paralysis. While this case is an extreme example meant for illustrative purposes, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. The worst part is, that chiropractor, even though they had no intention of harming of the patient, may end up facing no consequences, charges, limitations, or punishment. It’s usually a double-edged sword, so to speak. Yes, accidents happen. And perhaps some sympathy for this chiropractor—who never meant to cause such life-changing and possibly life-ending harm—should be expressed. But, NEVER should a patient who has received such damages be ignored because of it.
Here at Dolman Law, we fight to make things right. It’s absolutely unacceptable for a patient to be a victim of real, clear-cut medical malpractice. The last thing people expect is to be injured or made sick while in a hospital to solve those very problems. If you believe you may have a medical malpractice case, we can help. There may only be a short window of opportunity for you to pursue your case, so don’t wait any longer. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Dolman Law Group has had amazing success in the past with many cases related to this area of law and we plan to continue to add to our list of impressive achievements. We’re proud to represent and defend anyone who is a victim of unfair treatment, ignorance, or negligence. Even if you are not sure that you’ve been wronged and simply don’t know what to do next, call us. Our proud and respected team will stand with you in your fight to ensure a fair and victorious result.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a situation regarding this topic, Dolman Law Group offers a completely free consultation and case evaluation. That means that we will: personally sit down with you, hear your case, inform you of your rights, let you know of any possible courses of action, and offer you our most suited attorney to handle your situation; all completely free of charge. We also offer a confident “No Recovery, No Fee” promise to our clients, enabling you peace-of-mind knowing that you aren’t obligated to pay us anything until we achieve a payout for you.
Our offices in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey ensure easy access from any location in the Tampa Bay area. However, should you decide we are ideal for your situation, we will advocate for anyone in the state of Florida. We aim for client satisfaction from start to finish and have no doubts about achieving this goal. Contact Dolman Law Group today and we’ll get started on your case quickly and confidentially.
Dolman Law Group was founded in 2009 by Matthew Dolman, Esq. (president of the firm) and partner, Christian Myer, Esq. Both Matthew and Christian attended Stetson University majoring in trial advocacy. Stetson has one of the highest rated trial advocacy programs in the nation. Matt has been selected for Florida Rising Stars in 2013–2016, a prestigious title given by Super Lawyers rating service to outstanding candidates under 40. Matt was also selected as a “National Top 100 Trial Lawyer” and as a “Top 40 Under 40” by NTL (National Trial Lawyers Organization). He also scores a perfect 10.0 rating on Avvo.com, a respected online legal directory. He also a life member of the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, 2013 for his largest claim settlements.
Our firm focuses on personal injury law, representing many practice areas, including those who have been injured in car and motorcycle accidents, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, slip and fall accidents, distracted or drunk driving, and many more. At Dolman Law, we’re on your side. Being home to seven experienced, successful, and professional attorneys makes having Dolman Law fighting for you a wise choice. We also provide an important gateway for success by providing our clients with the personal cell phone number of the attorney dealing with their case, enabling real relationships and connections. We’ve been ‘in it to win it’ since 2009 and we hope you are as well.
Contact us with our easy Online Form which will email us directly.
Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical Malpractice Basics
Types of damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical Malpractice Liability
Elements of Tort Case
Medicine News Today- What is Medical Malpractice?