One of the principal tenets of medicine is “First, do no harm.” Yet incompetent and careless doctors continue to injure patients every day. According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, medical accidents cause between 65,000 and 200,000 deaths each year. These numbers represent almost 1% of all hospital patients who, unfortunately, are the victims of medical malpractice.
If you have been injured by a doctor, you might have a legal claim to recover financial compensation. These cases can be difficult and complex, and you should have an experienced Doral medical malpractice lawyer in your corner from the start. At Dolman Law Group, we have represented numerous patients who have been injured by medical professionals, and we are here to help you.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence. Doctors owe patients a duty to exercise reasonable care when treating patients. Florida Statutes § 766.102 identifies the precise contours of this duty - to use the skill and care that would be acceptable to reasonably prudent health care providers in light of the circumstances.
If your doctor is a specialist, they must use the degree of care reasonable for specialists under the circumstances. For example, a brain surgeon must use the skill of other brain surgeons, not just the skill of a regular doctor.
One key to determining whether your doctor satisfied the professional standard of care is what they knew at the time of treatment. For example, if you did not notify your doctor of all your symptoms accurately, your doctor might miss a diagnosis.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
A doctor or other medical professional can fall below the standard of care in several ways. At Dolman Law Group, we see many types of medical malpractice, including:
- Failure to diagnose:Your doctor might have failed to diagnose an illness or injury, or they might have made a wrong diagnosis.
- Surgical mistakes: Many things can go wrong during surgery. For example, the surgeon might have carelessly injured you or left implements inside an incision.
- Anesthesia errors: A mistake in administering anesthesia during surgery can cause brain injuries or even death. Anesthesiologists can make errors by failing to look into a patient's medical history or monitor the patient's vital signs during surgery.
- Birth errors: Either mother or child (or both) can suffer an injury during birth. Many things can go wrong, including nerve injuries to the baby, surgical errors during a C-section, or infections after surgery.
- Medication mistakes: The doctor might prescribe the wrong medication or wrong amount.
- Failure to inform a patient of a procedure's risks: You cannot give informed consent if you do not understand all the potential risks.
- Abandonment: Doctors cannot simply stop communicating with or treating patients.
Whether a doctor or other medical care provider committed malpractice will depend on the circumstances. If you believe your doctor committed medical malpractice, meet with a lawyer right away to review your situation.
Building a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases can be tricky and require extensive preparation. For example, a jury is unlikely to understand whether a doctor or other medical professional followed the appropriate standard of care without expert assistance. This information is outside their realm of knowledge, so they will need to rely on someone authoritative to tell them how other reasonably prudent doctors would have acted. To build your case, you might need an expert witness to testify as a result.
Also, medical issues can be exceedingly complex. Jurors may not readily grasp whether a certain course of treatment contributed to your injuries. Because you must prove causation in your lawsuit, you might need an expert witness to testify as to causation as well.
Quality expert witnesses are hard to find, particularly for injured victims focused on their recovery. At Dolman Law Group, we have worked with dozens of experts over the years who are skilled at explaining medical concepts to judges and juries. Your lawyer should be able to locate and retain an expert in the appropriate field to assist in building your case.
Furthermore, doctors and hospitals do not like to hand over medical records or admit errors. As a result, building your medical malpractice case can sometimes feel like a blind fishing expedition. To make sure you have adequate evidence, you must understand what evidence is available and the legal methods to obtain it. The evidence necessary to establish your case may include:
- Testimony from other medical staff about what happened. You can take this testimony in a deposition, where a witness answers questions under oath.
- Information about your doctor's medical experience, including educational records or performance reviews. You might need to issue a request to produce documents or a subpoena.
- Expert analysis about what caused your injury and what should have been done to prevent it.
At Dolman Law Group, we know how to build a medical malpractice case the right way from the start, saving our clients time and money.
Doral Medical Malpractice FAQs
Residents of Doral who seek medical attention from a local provider have every right to expect they will receive care that meets or exceeds the minimum standards for the medical profession. No one should have to worry about receiving substandard medical services at a Doral-area doctor's office, hospital, or other medical providers.
Unfortunately, medical malpractice happens in Doral, but it can also cause serious harm to patients. Being a victim of medical malpractice can be a shocking experience and leave you with many questions. Contact an attorney today for answers to questions about a specific Doral medical malpractice case and your rights to compensation for the harm you may have suffered. Read below for answers to some common questions Doral medical malpractice victims are likely to have.
How Do I Know If I'm a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
It's not always easy to tell if a doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner has done their job wrong and harmed you. For one thing, that is not supposed to happen, so people might look for other explanations for the harm they experience.
For another, people often visit healthcare providers in Doral when they are already hurt or sick, and they understand that sometimes even the most skilled doctor cannot completely fix whatever is wrong with them. And, of course, everyone knows medical professionals are huma - they try to do their best for patients more often than not, and they frequently have to make well-intended judgment calls about a patient's care that may nonetheless fail to avoid harming a patient.
Which is to say, having a poor health outcome even after receiving medical care in Doral isn't always a sign of medical negligence, and it can be hard to tell right away whether or not you have been a victim of medical malpractice.
But, sometimes, getting sicker or feeling worse after you've sought medical attention signals having received substandard care. How do you know? You might notice some telltale signs, like having a health outcome that no one predicted, having a medical worker apologize to you for your condition, getting diagnosed for the first time with a late-stage illness well into the time you have been receiving treatment, or having your health take a serious turn for the worse after what should have been a routine procedure.
But the most reliable way to find out if you've been the victim of medical malpractice in Doral is to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Such an attorney will be familiar with medical procedures and protocols, will know the right questions to ask about your case, and can determine whether you naturally suffered a bad health outcome, or a medical provider contributed.
Because it can be hard to tell when you have been a victim of medical malpractice, anyone who has suffered, or has had a loved one suffer, an unexpected health complication after receiving medical care in Doral should contact an attorney right away. A consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation for further legal services.
What Are My Rights as a Doral Medical Patient?
Under Florida's Patient's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, every patient has certain core rights when receiving medical services, including:
- A right to dignity and privacy
- A right to get answers from their treating medical professional to health-related questions
- A right to have health information clearly communicated to them
- A right to be advised of risks of medical treatments and procedures before giving consent to them
- A right to be free from discrimination and have equal access to care regardless of race, national origin, religion, handicap, or source of payment
- A right to information about the costs of medical care and financial resources
In addition, every patient has the right to expect that they will receive a minimum standard of care, which Florida law defines as “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
Any violation of these basic rights and expectations that results in harm to a patient could amount to medical malpractice or negligence.
Is Suing for Medical Malpractice the Same as Suing for Other Personal Injuries?
No. Suing for medical malpractice is different from suing for other personal injuries. For this reason, it is especially critical to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, not just any personal injury attorney, if you think you may have been the victim of medical malpractice in Doral.
For some time now, medical malpractice lawsuits have been a hot-button political issue. In Florida, as elsewhere, the medical (and medical malpractice insurance) industry has pushed hard to limit the scope of those lawsuits. Those efforts have resulted in the passage of laws that make it far more complicated to sue for medical negligence.
However, it is possible to sue for medical malpractice - it is just important to have a lawyer who is familiar with how medical malpractice cases in Florida work and how to comply with the special procedures involved in pursuing them:
- Conducting a thorough investigation of the case, including obtaining a medical expert's opinion
- Giving presuit notice to any medical providers against whom the patient may have a claim
- Engaging in negotiations with those providers before bringing a lawsuit
- Navigating offers to arbitrate medical claims and litigating claims in front of an arbitrator
- Engaging in mandatory mediation and settlement procedures
- Evaluating a patient's economic and noneconomic damages to determine total compensation
- Explaining the potential risks and rewards involved in the options a patient has for pursuing a claim
Suing for medical malpractice in Doral is quite different than suing for most other types of personal injuries. Be sure the lawyer you choose has the necessary experience to handle your case and a track record of success in similar matters.
What Compensation Can I Get for the Harm I Suffered Due to Medical Malpractice in Doral?
Every case is different. However, when you take legal action for medical malpractice against a Doral medical provider, you generally can seek payment for two types of damages: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages (sometimes called special damages) consist of the financial harm you suffered because of medical malpractice. Those damages may include:
- Your medical expenses associated with treating any health complication arising from the malpractice
- Your non-medical, out-of-pocket expenses related to that same health complication
- Any wages or income you did not or will not earn because of your malpractice-related health complications
Noneconomic damages (sometimes called general damages) consist of all the other ways that being a victim of medical malpractice has affected your life, such as:
- Physical pain and discomfort caused by your malpractice-related health condition
- Emotional anguish, anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles resulting from your condition
- Interference with your ability to enjoy activities or pastimes
- Interruption of your personal or intimate relationships
- Inconvenience, embarrassment, and other non-financial hardships caused by your malpractice-related health condition
Florida Statutes § 766.118 caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. The amount of the cap varies depending on several factors, including whether the individual who harmed you was a practitioner or a nonpractitioner, the type of medical service you received, the severity of the harm you (or your loved one) suffered, whether you receive Medicaid, and whether you resolve your claim through arbitration or in court. Depending on these factors, the cap for noneconomic damages can range from $300,000 to $1,500,000.
An experienced Doral medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case and give you an estimate of the compensation you might be eligible to recover in a medical malpractice claim.
How Much Time do I Have to File a Doral Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Generally speaking, under Florida Statutes § 95.11, you have two years from the date of the act of medical malpractice that injured you, or from the date you discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) that it happened, to bring a lawsuit. However, this rule gives patients leeway in finding the connection between medical negligence and their injuries.
However, in most cases, you have at most four years to commence a lawsuit for medical malpractice, regardless of when you discovered that it happened. That period extends to seven years if you can prove that the at-fault medical provider intentionally concealed the malpractice from you.
Regardless of how much time you technically have to file, a Doral medical malpractice claim requires quick action to secure evidence and to secure compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you or a loved one might have suffered harm because of medical negligence in Doral, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You have no time to lose in protecting your rights.
My Child Suffered a Neurological Injury During Birth at a Doral Hospital. Do I have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Possibly, but your rights are different from others who have other kinds of medical malpractice claims in Doral. In the late 1980s, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan. The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association oversees the state-sponsored insurance fund that serves as the exclusive source of compensation for birth-related neurological injuries caused by medical malpractice in Florida. One advantage of this Plan is that it will provide compensation without proving fault.
If your child suffered neurological injuries at birth because of negligence on the part of a Doral medical provider, you might have a claim under the Plan for compensation. You must file that claim within five years of your child's birth.
Ask an experienced Doral medical malpractice lawyer to represent you in filing this claim. The process of claiming compensation from the Plan can be complicated. Therefore, it is best to have the help of a Doral medical malpractice attorney to make sure you file correctly and get your compensation as soon as possible.
How Much does a Doral Medical Malpractice Lawyer Cost?
Generally, it does not cost you anything to sit down for an in-person or virtual consultation with a Doral medical malpractice attorney. The purpose of a free consultation is to explore whether the poor health outcome you or a loved one had resulted from medical negligence and begin evaluating your options for seeking compensation.
If you decide to pursue a medical malpractice claim against a Doral healthcare provider, your lawyer will most likely represent you on a contingent fee basis. Under this fee arrangement, your lawyer works for you in exchange for a percentage of any money the lawyer secures on your behalf. You do not pay money upfront, nor does the lawyer bill you by the hour.
Medical malpractice lawyers represent their clients on a contingent fee basis because they know their clients are typically facing enough financial strain already. This makes legal services available, regardless of economic status.
What Should I Do to Protect My Right to Compensation in My Doral Medical Malpractice Case?
First, address your medical needs. Find another doctor to treat you. Your health takes priority over all other considerations, and you should never wait to seek treatment for a health condition just because you suspect a doctor committed malpractice.
Next, contact an experienced Doral medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect you might have been the victim of medical malpractice. One of a medical malpractice attorney's most important jobs is to help people explore whether medical negligence caused them or a loved one harm. A lawyer can help you find out if you have a claim. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you will know whether a Doral medical provider truly did harm you, and the sooner you can hope to secure compensation to help you pay for your needs.
Finally, keep all records you have that you believe might be related to the malpractice. That means every scrap of paper your doctor gave you, every statement you received from an insurance company, and every receipt for the medication you purchased. The documentation of the care you received and your expenses will likely constitute critical evidence in helping your lawyer evaluate your claim and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Is My Medical Malpractice Case More Likely to Settle or Go to Court?
Like most personal injury cases, yours is far more likely to settle out of court than go to trial. In fact, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics research indicates that only seven percent of all medical malpractice cases actually go through the trial process.
Proving a healthcare provider's negligence with compelling evidence and the support of the state's required forms will strengthen your case. Medical malpractice cases are technical and can involve multiple reviews of your medical records, depositions, and the involvement of several experts. An experienced lawyer can help you build a compelling case and negotiate a favorable settlement.
Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
Florida has thrown roadblocks in front of injured patients seeking financial compensation from doctors and other medical professionals. Before you can bring a lawsuit, you must satisfy many complicated requirements. Failure to follow any of these can result in your case being dismissed.
For example, before filing a lawsuit, you must:
- Have your attorney perform an initial investigation and gather medical records.
- Send your medical records to a medical expert for review.
- Obtain an affidavit from the medical expert confirming reasonable grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice case.
- Send a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation for Medical Negligence to each defendant and possibly to state agencies.
- Exchange written questions and produce documents during a 90-day presuit discovery period.
If you fail to follow any of these requirements, you might be unable to file a lawsuit, leaving you without recourse to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
How Do I Get and Send the Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation for Medical Negligence?
The Notice of Intent is an essential part of your case. It officially informs the negligent medical professional of your intent to seek compensation via a medical malpractice insurance claim or lawsuit. To meet the state's requirements laid out in Florida Statutes § 766.106, it must:
- Be sent to each individual person or entity named in your case
- Include a list of all health care providers who treated you for the previous two-year period
- Copies of all medical records relevant to your case and deemed so by the required medical expert
In addition to meeting these criteria, a presuit investigation must precede the Notice of Intent. Per Florida Statutes § 766.203, the presuit investigation supports your allegations that your medical malpractice claim has merit, that all parties named in your case were negligent, and that your injuries would not have occurred but for their negligence. Your lawyer can secure both vital documents on your behalf.
What You Need to Know About the Settlement Process and Timeline
Resolving your case will take time and patience. A personal injury lawyer can give you an anticipated timeline, but no one can say precisely how long it will take to resolve your case. Key factors that influence the possible timeline include:
- The health care practitioner may be reluctant to acknowledge an error.
- Their insurer may delay the settlement with numerous requests for information and evidence.
- Their insurer may dispute the amount of compensation you are owed.
Reaching a settlement can involve many rounds of negotiation before you receive an acceptable offer. Allowing your lawyer to negotiate for you may extend the timeline versus accepting a speedy settlement. However, when you accept a settlement offer too quickly, you might not allow enough time for your entire range of damages to become apparent.
The insurance company might offer you a structured versus lump-sum settlement payment in some cases. Your lawyer can help you make the decision that best suits your long-term needs. Your attorney can also explain the finality of a settlement agreement and the importance of waiting for the best possible offer and outcome of your case.
Contact a Doral Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If a negligent doctor has injured you, you need to focus on your physical recovery. Legal help is available. At Dolman Law Group, we represent clients struggling to recover from incompetent medical care.
Whether you sue a doctor, dentist, anesthesiologist, nurse, or medical technician, we can help you recover just compensation for your injuries. At the same time, you focus on getting better and moving forward with your life. Call (305) 930-7688 today to schedule your free, no-strings consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
8400 NW 36th St Suite 450
Doral, FL 33166