Our team of experienced, litigating attorneys have spent considerable in actual courtrooms fighting for victims of medical malpractice in Florida. Our firm has the resources necessary to hire the appropriate expert witnesses, investigators, and specialists necessary to thoroughly prove your case and ensure that your get the most compensation for you injury and pain and suffering.
After you or someone you love is injured due to negligence or malpractice, it is easy–and perfectly natural–to become overwhelmed. To make things a little easier, we have created an article to help you understand when to hire an attorney.
What is medical malpractice?
Florida medical malpractice refers to professional medical negligence committed by doctors, surgeons, specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers that results in serious injury to the patient. Medical malpractice encompasses many different types of negligence, including medical errors, missed or wrong diagnoses, surgical mistakes, or anything else that causes a patient to become more injured or sick instead of healthier.
Can I sue a hospital or doctor even if I signed a waiver?
Every medical procedure, including a surgery, has a certain level of risk involved. In almost every case, before undergoing a medical procedure, the patient must sign a series of waivers stating that they understand all of the risks and are still willing to go forward with the procedure. These waivers do not shield medical professionals from liability for negligence. However, these types of waivers, along with other protections in place for healthcare providers, does make medical malpractice cases more complicated, so anyone injured while receiving medical treatment should review their case with an attorney.
If you sustained injuries and damages in Florida because of a serious and avoidable medical or surgical error, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation under Florida law. Medical malpractice cases can take a long time to resolve, and insurance companies vigorously defend them. This simply means that one must fight fire with fire. The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have the medical knowledge and legal expertise to effectively assist you with your case and represent your interests throughout the entire process.
What are the time limitations in Florida medical malpractice cases?
In Florida, an injured plaintiff must file a claim or lawsuit within two years from the date on which the plaintiff knew or should have known that an injury occurred—and that the injury was likely due to medical malpractice. If the injured plaintiff fails to file a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice within that two-year time period, the plaintiff may have forever lost the opportunity to file a lawsuit or seek monetary recovery for injuries and damages sustained as a result of medical malpractice.
Florida also imposes another time restriction when it comes to medical malpractice cases, called a statute of repose. Under this law, an injured plaintiff may not sue a healthcare provider more than four years after the alleged medical malpractice occurred. In other words, you, the injured plaintiff, must realize that you have been the victim of medical malpractice within four years after the medical negligence occurred. Otherwise, the law will prevent you from filing a claim or lawsuit seeking money damages.
Some exceptions to these time limitations do exist—including cases where fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation were perpetrated on the healthcare provider’s behalf, or some cases involving birth injuries. In these cases, the injured plaintiff may still file suit against the negligent healthcare provider—even after the applicable deadline expires.
Why is there a time limit on filing a medical malpractice case?
According to the Florida Bar’s website, the reason for time limits on medical malpractice cases “reflects a legislative determination to curtail frivolous claims, promote settlement, and reduce the high cost of medical malpractice insurance.” In other words, the limitations are there to benefit everyone by keeping insurance costs low for doctors, encouraging the settlement of cases for plaintiffs, and preventing insurance fraud as a whole.
How long does a Florida medical malpractice case take?
Florida medical malpractice cases can take quite a long time—in some instances, several years. Of course, the amount of time it takes to negotiate, try and/or settle a medical malpractice case depends heavily on a wide variation of factors. These factors that determine the length of time it will take to resolve a pending medical malpractice claim include:
- Nature and extent of the claimed injuries
- Length of time it takes to find a medical expert(s)
- The insurance company’s willingness to negotiate
- Any discoveries the come up late in the case
- Court availability
Because medical malpractice cases often involve very serious claims and large settlements, the insurance companies vigorously defend them. Because of this, they are almost never resolved quickly. One should be thinking in terms of ‘months and years’ instead of ‘days or weeks’.
How do you prove a Florida claim for medical malpractice?
The Florida medical malpractice standard of care refers to the level of care, skill, and treatment that are considered reasonable, acceptable, and appropriate by similarly situated healthcare providers. The applicable medical malpractice standard of care will vary from plaintiff to plaintiff and depends primarily on the patient’s age and medical condition. Medical specialists are normally held to a national standard of care.
For an injured plaintiff to prove that a doctor committed medical malpractice, the patient must show that the doctor breached the applicable standard of care—and that this breach resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Common Examples of Florida Medical and Surgical Malpractice
Medical malpractice and surgical malpractice in Florida can take many forms. Common bases for Florida medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Patient neglect
- Poor sanitation
- For example, failing to properly sterilize or maintain medical and surgical instruments or equipment, resulting in infections or other serious patient injuries.
- Poor communication with the patient
- Misdiagnosing a patient’s medical condition
- Poorly or negligently performed surgical procedures
- For example, closing the patient up and completing the procedure after leaving a towel, sponge, or surgical instrument inside a patient.
- Surgeon fatigue
- Performing an unnecessary surgery on the wrong body part
- Performing a surgery or other medical procedure to which the patient did not consent
- Prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital without sufficient time for observation
Potential Damages Available to Florida Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs
If the injured plaintiff can prove that a doctor or other healthcare provider committed medical malpractice, the plaintiff may recover a multitude of damages, including:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- pain and suffering,
- mental anguish,
- emotional distress,
- loss of spousal support,
- and inconvenience associated with the injuries sustained.
The injured plaintiff may also recover the costs of future corrective surgeries that are related to the accident.
It should be noted that Florida places a cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. This cap for total non-economic damages in Florida is $1 million.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have sustained injuries and damages at the hands of a negligent doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional, Florida law may entitle you to substantial compensation. The Florida med mal lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are committed to helping injured victims obtain compensation and will not hesitate to take a case to trial if it’s in our client’s best interest.
To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Florida medical malpractice attorney, please call us today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online.
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