One of the few discussions we have about medical malpractice pertains to prescription overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “more than 40% of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid, with more than 46 people dying every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.” This makes opioid overdose the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Fortunately, not all medical malpractice cases result in death, and many others are not due to prescription drug errors. In fact, further illness or serious injury can result from a wide variety of malpractice errors. At Sibley Dolman, we provide victims of medical malpractice the resources necessary to file a claim for monetary awards when they have been victims of medical malpractice.
Holding the Right Party Accountable for Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims can be filed against any medical professional who is responsible to a patient. This covers not only physicians, but also others who may be responsible for your overall health, including:
- Nurse Practitioners and Nurses
- Surgical Residents and Surgeons
- Chiropractors and Neuropathic Practitioners
- Medical Specialists
- Dentists and Dental Assistants
Depending on the injury or illness suffered, there may be a possibility of filing a lawsuit against the facility where they occurred. For example, if your loved one was in a nursing home and received inadequate care, the nursing home may be found liable for the harm caused by the inadequate care. If a surgical error occurred in a hospital, the hospital may be held liable if they are responsible for your injury. Victims of medical malpractice should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer to determine who they may be able to hold accountable, and how to navigate the often-complex geography of filing a proper lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Takes Many Forms
By law, all medical professionals must use the proper level of care with every patient. This means the care they provide must be similar to the standard of care other professionals would use in similar circumstances. Unfortunately, there are some types of malpractice that are more common than others, including:
- Misdiagnosis – When a doctor makes a mistake in diagnosing an illness because of improper testing, the results can be devastating to the patient and patient’s family. If you are told you have nothing wrong that can be identified, it could mean treatment for the illness is delayed, often causing serious complications. In some cases, patients may be treated for illnesses they do not even have.
- Surgical mistakes – One of the most common surgical errors occurs when a surgeon leaves a foreign object inside a patient, such as surgical tools or sponges. This type of mistake can cause serious infections and may lead to death. In another common instance, the anesthesiologist may fail to properly read the monitors attached to a patient, resulting in oxygen deprivation. While only two examples, surgical errors can often result in severe harm to the patient.
- Birth injuries – Pregnancy and delivery of a baby puts women at a high risk for medical errors. Some of the most common errors involve harm to the infant; during the birthing process, for example, the baby can suffer injuries associated with forceps use, or a mistake could be made that deprives the baby of oxygen. Such errors can result in disfigurement, developmental damage, or death to the infant. Mothers may suffer excessive bleeding, infections, or may have reactions to anesthesia because of improper monitoring.
- Medication and treatment. Even when a doctor does not make a diagnosis error, they may be providing the wrong treatment or a dangerous drug. When this type of problem occurs, patients can suffer serious side effects, leading to serious injury or worsening illness.
Identifying Symptoms Associated With Medical Malpractice
Most patients know how they are supposed to feel, even if they are being treated for a specific illness. Medical professionals seldom will call your attention to possible mistakes, leaving you to attempt to figure out the problem on your own. If you develop new symptoms, feel worse, or you are suffering from abnormal pain, you may want to verify your doctor’s treatment plan or diagnosis.
You may be a victim of malpractice if you go to another doctor and receive a completely different diagnosis, receive a diagnosis is not consistent with the diagnostic tests that were performed, or you start displaying new symptoms that are not ordinary to the diagnosis. Regardless of the circumstances, you should listen to the signals your body is sending you, and quickly seek a second opinion if possible. If the second opinion is different than your initial diagnosis, contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases for a review of the circumstances.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Malpractice
Some victims of medical malpractice never seek advice from an attorney because they believe a pre-existing condition prevents a malpractice claim. This is a serious mistake, and in reality, most of us see a doctor due to an ongoing medical issue. Malpractice can occur if your current condition is being treated improperly, often resulting in the condition becoming worse. One example of this would be if someone has arthritis, and a doctor prescribed medication that makes it worse; or, you have a joint replaced due to your arthritis, and as a result suffer more pain or a lack of mobility after the surgery.
Understanding Medical Malpractice Settlements
One of the most common questions we receive at Sibley Dolman is how much money people can expect to recover if they are successful with their medical malpractice claim. Keep in mind that every lawsuit is different, and it is difficult to predict how a claim will result. However, there are many forms of damages you may be able to collect, including the cost of your medical care or lost wages. Typically, these damages are calculated based on past, present and future costs. Non-economic losses may also be awarded, such as pain and suffering as a result of the malpractice.
Florida Statutes of Limitations
Like all states, Florida places time limits on when a victim of any type of personal injury may file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is not always easy to identify, and some victims may remain unaware of the problem for several months or years after they were misdiagnosed; or, their condition may worsen because of the treatment, or lack thereof, they were provided. Thanks to changes in the law, however, medical malpractice cases can be filed for up to four years after the malpractice occurred. Additionally, there are several exceptions to this rule, such as in cases of fraud or injuries to children. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect you or a loved one may be a victim of malpractice.
Contact a Boca Raton Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered undue injury or illness because of a mistake on the part of your doctor or a medical professional, it’s vital to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately. The attorneys at Sibley Dolman can help victims of medical malpractice determine if they have a legal claim against a doctor when they have suffered an illness or injury, or if they have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice. Our attorneys can review your case, devise a plan for moving forward, and handle all the requirements necessary to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Florida.
Schedule a no-risk, free consultation by contacting us at (561) 220-4963, or fill out our easy-to-use contact sheet online.
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
2101 NW Corporate Boulevard, Suite 410
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
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