Clearwater Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

People visit their doctors and enter hospitals in Clearwater to receive medical care. But what happens when medical professionals don’t make people better, but impair their health or do them harm? What if you don’t receive proper care, or something goes wrong with the care you do receive? What if a healthcare professional fails to take an appropriate action that hurts you or allows your health to deteriorate?

All of these scenarios constitute medical malpractice. Medical malpractice encompasses a wide range of actions and, at times, acts of omission (failure to do what should have been done). These can be gross errors, such as a failure to diagnose pathology or symptoms, improper diagnosis, and negligence in performing medical services. They can be medical errors, not only in diagnosis, but in health management, treatment, aftercare, medication prescribed, given, or dosage amounts. They can be accidents, such as leaving surgical equipment in a patient during surgery.

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in Clearwater or surrounding areas, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our Clearwater medical malpractice attorneys offer a free, no obligation confidential consultation and case evaluation.

We have helped patients who were harmed by medical malpractice in the past, including patients who have suffered:

    • Broken bones and permanent nerve damage resulting from a surgeon’s negligence.
    • Post-operative infections or surgical site infections caused by negligence from either a surgeon, surgical staff, or a healthcare provider
    • Birth trauma or negligence during delivery, causing cerebral palsy.
    • Errors made during delivery, resulting in brachial plexus injury

Florida law regarding medical malpractice is complicated. Let us help you understand how to pursue justice.

Medical Malpractice Defined

Medical malpractice is professional negligence by a healthcare professional or provider in which the treatment provided fell short of the accepted standard of care, resulted in injury or caused harm, or caused the patient’s death. Medical malpractice is in almost all cases not the result of deliberate intent. Medical professionals take an oath to do no harm. Medical professionals and providers want to help their patients—and by far the majority do. At the same time, though, accidents, mistakes, and deviations from acceptable care standards do exist. No patient should suffer through the failure to provide an acceptable standard of care.

What Does a Medical Malpractice Case Need to Prove?

All cases regarding personal injury need to prove certain elements to be successful, and medical malpractice is no exception. The plaintiff’s case must be able to prove the following for medical malpractice to be established in a court of law.

The Healthcare Provider Had a Duty of Care to The Patient

A duty of care is the legal duty to provide medical care that a reasonably prudent person would consider reasonable and acceptable. A doctor who sees a patient at a clinic, for example, has a duty of care to provide proper medical care to that patient, and so does the clinic.

Medical Malpractice Causation

The patient’s injury was caused by an action (or inaction) that the healthcare provider and or institution did or failed to do. It must also be proved how, why, and when the event, diagnosis, or procedure caused an injury or harm to the patient.

The Provider Strayed From Reasonable Standard of Care

It must be proved that the healthcare provided strayed from a reasonable standard of care. The reasonable standard is often determined by comparing the actions and steps of other healthcare providers in similar situations, with patients of a similar age, condition, health record, geographic locale, and family history.
Expert opinion is often consulted when determining the reasonable standard of care.

The Harm Was the Result of Medical Negligence

Finally, the plaintiff needs to be able to show that the harm received stemmed from the healthcare provider’s negligence, and not some other cause. The harm needs to be directly correlated with the alleged negligence. Some medications, for example, have been shown to cause stroke or conditions leading to a stroke in otherwise healthy patients. If you suffered a stroke, it needs to be specifically correlated with the prescription of one of these medications, and not with underlying conditions that were part of your overall health and might have occurred in any event.

Why Are These Standards of Care in Place?

The standards that must be proven in Clearwater medical malpractice cases are very similar to that of other common personal injury cases (such as being injured by a car driver who runs into you). Standards of establishing negligence and correlating the negligence specifically with the cause of an injury are common to all personal injury cases. The standards also exist to help both plaintiffs and defendants in a medical malpractice case understand the law in dispute.

People who seek a doctor or other medical provider’s care may be ill or have medical conditions that cause harm. Any doctor, hospital, or other medical provider or professional is not liable for all the illness and harm a patient might undergo or suffer. They are only liable if they are negligent and didn’t follow an acceptable standard of care. The proof required in a medical malpractice case can help make instances of negligence clear—and also instances where negligence did not occur, and there is no case of medical malpractice.

Frankly, it is human nature to want to know why we are sick, or why treatment didn’t work. The standards are in place partly to deter people from bringing medical malpractice claims against practitioners and providers who did nothing wrong. False medical malpractice claims occur across the country.

On the other hand, if people have been injured by malpractice, they are entitled to seek just compensation vigorously, to redress the wrong done them.

Why Do Medical Professionals Engage in Medical Malpractice?

Every case of medical malpractice is different and the reasons why different medical professionals engage in medical malpractice will vary significantly. As mentioned before. In order for a medical error to be considered medical malpractice, it must violate the standard of care. In many cases, this deviation from the standard of care is due to ineptitude on the medical professional’s part. They may not be properly educated or trained or they may simply not be cut out to handle the responsibilities of their position. Sometimes, there may be an element of greed involved and a medical professional may engage in medical malpractice in order to benefit themselves. They may take shortcuts or perform unnecessary treatment for their own personal gain. Regardless of the motivation, medical negligence requires that a medical professional be aware of the fact that they are doing something that violates the standard of care or they should be aware of the fact that they are violating the standard of care. Honest medical mistakes made while still providing the expected quality of treatment are not considered medical malpractice.

What Damages Are Possible in a Clearwater Medical Malpractice Suit?

Clearwater Medical Malpractice CaseLegal cases are generally brought to provide victims with economic compensation for the damage done to them. These are referred to as “damages.” In a medical malpractice case, victims can be entitled to the following forms of compensation.

Special Damages

The law terms specific expenses incurred by victims of medical malpractice suits “special damages.” These include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Expected future medical bills and expenses
  • Wages lost from work
  • Expected future lost wages from home
  • Modifications to home to compensate for a disability, such as a ramp for a wheelchair

These damages are arrived at by determining how much has been spent (with references to bills and receipts). If future medical bills or future wages lost from work are likely to occur, expert testimony on advisable treatment and length of time likely to be lost from work is usually sought.

General Damages

Noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are general damages. If the victim has become unable to work at all, future lost earnings calculations are also covered under the term general damages. Expert testimony is usually solicited for general damages as well.

Punitive Damages

In some extreme cases, punitive damages may be assessed. Punitive damages in all cases are awarded when the harm has been extreme and resulted from intentional actions or particularly egregious behavior. They are intended to punish the defendant for their actions; hence the word “punitive.” These are rare in medical malpractice cases, but they do occur.

Are There Limits on Damages?

Many states have limits on medical malpractice damages. Florida limits compensation for medical malpractice suits to $500,000 against a healthcare provider (such as a doctor or hospital) and to $750,000 against non-medical practitioners.

Is There a Time Limit on When I Can Bring a Medical Malpractice Suit?

Most legal cases must be brought within a certain period of time, or the court will in all likelihood refuse to hear the case. This is called a “statute of limitations.” The Florida statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the time the person discovers their injury or harm. However, the person has four years total from when the incident in question occurred.

Note that the statute of limitations clock starts from when the injury or harm is discovered. That’s because, in some cases, the person may not realize they were injured immediately. A surgical implement left in a patient during surgery, for example, can cause complications, but the symptoms may not be apparent immediately.

The four-year statute of limitations is in place due to a statute of repose. After four years, it may be difficult to ascertain what in a person’s health has been caused by past events. It is also to prevent providers and professionals from being sued many years after an event has passed.

There are some exceptions. First, if the healthcare provider or professional intentionally hid their actions from the patient, the statute of limitations is extended to seven years from when the incident occurred. It continues to be two years from when the injury was discovered. Second, the statute of limitations does not apply to people who are under 18 at the time of the alleged medical malpractice.

The Process of Bringing a Medical Malpractice Suit

Florida, like many states, requires a specific process in medical malpractice cases.

The injured person is required to notify the health care provider or practitioner of their intent to bring a suit. The notification must include an expert witness statement, duly sworn, attesting to the merits of the claim. This is done so to discourage suits that are not supported by medical evidence and the proof requirements.

In addition, Florida mandates certain guidelines for expert witnesses before a trial actually begins. First, the expert witness is required to provide testimony to the trial court judge, with no jury present, before trial. The judge then decides if their testimony is worth presenting to the jury.

But before that, the defense expert needs to review the case, according to Florida guidelines. They need to review all the facts related to their area of expertise and prepare an opinion.

If an expert’s opinion differs from the defense expert, the medical malpractice case is considered credible and will proceed to trial. Note that this determination of credible is quite different from determinations of guilt or innocence. Those determinations are always made by the jury. The determinations of defense experts and expert testimony from the plaintiff’s side are intended to discourage frivolous or false suits and to establish that the plaintiff’s claim of medical malpractice is credible.

Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses

Medical malpractice cases can rely very heavily on expert witness testimony. To be an expert witness, the person must be at least as educated, trained, and experienced as the person being accused, or more. Their opinion needs to be reliable. In other words, if a cardiologist is accused, the expert witness must also be a cardiologist, and their education, training, and experience must be equal to or higher than the accused.

But the kind of events that cause injury or death in a medical or healthcare setting is very broad and differs from other kinds of events, of course. While some expert witnesses might be experts in the specialty of the practitioner, others might be medical examiners that testify to the cause of death. Some might be scientists, testifying to a drug reaction. Others might be general practitioners, testifying to the generally accepted standard of care for particular conditions.

Dolman Law Group Clearwater Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Our Clearwater Medical Malpractice Lawyers Answer Your Questions

You trust your doctor to give you accurate medical information. Whether they are writing you a prescription or they suggest you need an invasive medical procedure to treat a condition, you trust that what they are telling is right.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. All medical professionals—from doctors, to pharmacists, to nurses—can make mistakes that cause life-altering injuries to you or a loved one.

Collecting compensation for injury caused by a medical professional’s negligence can help ease the burden. The money can provide you with a way to cover your medical bills and potential financial losses resulting from your medical malpractice injury.

No amount of money can take away your suffering or undo the pain. But working with a skilled Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer can help you focus on your health and getting back to the life you love.

What is medical malpractice?

When a doctor or other medical professional does not act in accordance with reasonable medical standards and a patient suffers injuries or dies, that is medical malpractice. In fact, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

To prove that you or a loved one suffered a medical malpractice injury or death, your lawyer will try to show that the medical professional:

  1. Owed you a duty of care
  2. Breached the duty of care by not acting as a reasonable medical professional would
  3. Because of the medical professional’s breach of their duty of care, you suffered injuries

This is not as simple as it may initially seem. Because complicated medical procedures may be involved, showing that a doctor acted negligently might require medical experts to speak on your behalf. These medical experts may show that your doctor did not act as a reasonable doctor would have in the same circumstances.

So the success of your medical malpractice claim depends on you working with an experienced Clearwater medical malpractice attorney who has proven experience helping victims like you. Not every lawyer has the ability or the resources to take on a complex medical malpractice claim. The legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers PA does.

Are doctors the only ones who can be liable for medical malpractice?

No, any licensed medical professional can commit medical malpractice.

The list of people or entities that you may hold liable for your injuries includes:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Medical assistants
  • Dentists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Hospital staff
  • Hospital administrators
  • Hospitals

Any of these people could act negligently, causing your injuries. To determine which party is liable for your injuries and your subsequent medical expenses, a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney in Clearwater can help you. It’s entirely possible that more than one person or entity is responsible for your injuries.

Medical malpractice investigations are complex and must be conducted by medical experts. Your lawyer may have resources they can rely on to fully investigate your injuries and come to an accurate conclusion about who is to blame.

What are common medical malpractice examples in Clearwater?

Medical malpractice comes in many forms. It leaves victims with a life that is forever altered and, in the worst cases, the loss of a loved one. About ten percent of deaths each year are caused by medical errors or mistakes.

The most common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Birth injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Medication errors
  • Brain injuries
  • Neglect
  • Failure to get consent
  • Medical equipment failure
  • Medical equipment left inside the patient’s body

In many cases, you are being treated by a doctor for a medical issue or injuries resulting from some other type of accident. You expect to come out of your experience feeling better. Unfortunately, this has only made you worse.

Making sure that you recover from these additional injuries should be your sole focus. Working with a skilled medical malpractice attorney in Clearwater can help you achieve your goal of getting better by taking on the responsibility of working to hold the negligent medical professional liable for your injuries and collect maximum compensation from them.

How do I know if I have a Clearwater medical malpractice claim?

Call us.

Medical malpractice comes in many forms, and it’s not always clear whether an error or an injury is a direct result of a doctor’s negligence. Simply not getting better is not a sign, in and of itself, that you have suffered a medical malpractice injury.

Sometimes things just go wrong. A medical professional may act reasonably in the situation but still can’t correct your medical issue.

The only way to know for sure if your injuries rise to the level of medical malpractice is to speak with a Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer today. Your lawyer can review your medical information, work with their medical experts, and determine whether you have a claim. If you do, your legal representative will work hard to help you collect every dollar you deserve so you do not have to pay out of your own pocket to recover from your injuries.

What damages can I recover in a medical malpractice suit?

When your lawyer files a Clearwater medical malpractice claim on your behalf, the goal is to collect maximum compensation from the at fault party. The last thing you need after suffering unnecessary injuries is to have to shoulder the financial burden of paying your medical expenses and covering your financial losses.

Your lawyer may try to collect compensation for you that covers:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, the vast majority of your medical needs will come in the future. This means that the medical bills you see piling up on your kitchen table represent only a fraction of the total you will need to pay.

But your injuries are not your fault and you should not be on the hook to pay these bills. Beyond that, if you can’t return to work, the accident will further hinder your ability to earn a living. Your family may feel pressure to work overtime or take on additional jobs to cover the financial loss of you being out of work. That’s not their burden to bear.

By partnering with a trusted Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer, you can work together to recover maximum compensation for your injuries. This can include covering your estimated future medical bills and financial losses. This amount of money might be extreme, so getting appropriate legal help now can relieve your stress and worry over how you pay those bills.

How much is my Clearwater medical malpractice case worth?

clearwater medical malpractice lawsuit claim waiver attorney FloridaThis is the most common question we get. Ultimately, we cannot provide an exact answer. A word of warning here—any lawyer who does give you a precise answer is not being honest with you. There is no way to know with absolute certainty exactly how much money you can recover.

But we can work to create an accurate estimate by partnering with medical experts who can investigate your injuries. These experts will help you and your legal team understand what you face and determine how much that might cost. They will also provide you with an estimate of how much time you will spend out of work and if you can ever return. Collecting compensation for your lost income could account for a substantial portion of your financial recovery.

The only way to be sure you have an accurate estimate, however, is to partner with a Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer who has proven experience helping victims like you. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers PA, we have the experience and compassion that you deserve.

Will I have to go to court?

Many people fear going into a courtroom. We get it. It can be a nerve-wracking experience. But sometimes it is necessary to help you recover every dollar you deserve.

Our goal is to settle your case out of court. But sometimes insurance companies refuse to settle for a fair and reasonable amount. When this happens, we may need to take your case to trial to help you make a full and complete recovery.

Medical malpractice claims may also end up in court, simply because of their complexity. Your injuries might be extremely severe and it may be challenging to clearly determine who and what caused your additional injuries. Going to trial can paint a clearer picture that may result in you getting the compensation you need to cover all of your medical expenses and financial losses.

This is also why it is important that you choose a Clearwater medical malpractice attorney with trial experience. You do not want your medical malpractice trial to be your lawyer’s first.

Do I have to file a claim soon?

Yes. In Florida, you only have two years from the date of your injury to file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent medical professional.

This might seem like a long time but think about some of the obstacles you may face:

  • Extended hospital stays
  • Multiple surgeries
  • Extended time off work
  • In facility rehabilitation
  • Multiple doctor appointments
  • In home care

Not only can each of these items greatly increase the amount of medical expenses you will owe, they also take up a great deal of your time and attention. Before you know it, those two years will pass. If that happens, you cannot file a claim and you will miss out on your chance to collect maximum compensation from the person who injured you.

To avoid this tragic situation, speak with a trusted medical malpractice attorney in Clearwater as soon as possible after you suspect you have been injured through medical malpractice. Your lawyer can begin the claims process right away, allowing you the chance to focus on your health and well being.

I already have a settlement offer. Why do I need a Clearwater Medical Malpractice lawyer?

Soon after you have suffered injuries at the hands of a doctor or other medical professional, the insurance company representing the negligent party may contact you with a settlement offer. Many victims get excited by this offer. They hope this means they can put this traumatic experience behind them and move on with their lives.

Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of more troubles. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. If they pay out the full value of your claim, they will not make money.

Knowing that you are worried about your physical health and stressed over how you will pay for the medical attention you need, the insurance company will offer you a quick settlement. They may even tell you that you do not need a lawyer, that this is the best offer they can make, and that hiring a lawyer will only reduce the amount of money you recover. None of that is true.

Consider why the insurance company pressures you to take their first offer. It’s because this offer and you not having a lawyer is in their best interest. If you take their offer, you will waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for your medical malpractice injuries. Months or years later when the settlement funds have run dry but you still have medical expenses to cover, it will be too late.

That’s exactly why you need a lawyer. Your attorney has your best interests at heart and is always looking out for you.

What can your Clearwater medical malpractice lawyers do for me?

We can fully investigate your medical malpractice injury along with the help of their medical experts. We will also stand up to the big insurance companies, aggressively negotiating on your behalf in an attempt to collect maximum compensation for your injuries.

The last thing you need is to worry about how you will pay your medical expenses and cover your financial losses. Your lawyer can be the legal advocate you deserve, fighting to protect your rights and help you collect every dollar you deserve.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you recover from your medical malpractice injuries and get back to your regular life.

If You or a Loved One Has Suffered Medical Malpractice in Clearwater

Personal Injury Attorney, Matt Dolman

Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Matt Dolman

What should you do if you or a loved one has suffered from medical practice in Clearwater or surrounding areas? Frankly, it can be difficult to know what to do. It can be daunting to go up against a medical provider or institution, particularly if you still need medical care.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in the Clearwater area can help. At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we have assisted many patients in obtaining justice and fair compensation in the wake of medical malpractice. Our first consultation is always free.

Florida law concerning malpractice is complicated. Let us help. We can explain the law clearly and discuss your case in a transparent way. Contact us today or call 833-552-7274.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900

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“AMAZING and understanding attorneys! Did great on my case and I highly recommend Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for anyone that has been injured in an accident!”
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Jan 2020
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