Making a Malpractice Case Against Your Doctor
People go to see the doctor when ill or after suffering a serious injury. When you make an appointment to see your doctor, you trust that the doctor will help to improve your condition or injury – not make it worse. Doctors and other healthcare providers hold people’s lives in their hands. Consequently, when providers make serious medical mistakes, they can and should be held responsible for their negligence.
Medical malpractice among doctors is a serious issue nationwide. If you have been injured as a result of a serious medical mistake, you should seek legal consultation to discuss filing a medical malpractice claim against your doctor. Proving medical malpractice is not always easy and often requires the expert testimony of another health care provider, who must testify that medical negligence occurred in your case.
Moreover, a Florida medical malpractice case involves much more than simply filing a lawsuit with the court. Rather, the injured patient – who ultimately has the burden of proof – has several procedural hurdles to overcome.
If you think that you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice by a doctor, there are several legal options available. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group can review your circumstances with you and determine whether you may take legal action against your treating doctor.
Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations refers to the deadline by which an injured patient must file a claim or lawsuit in a medical malpractice case. In some states, the medical malpractice statute of limitations may be as short as two years from the date of the alleged malpractice, while in other jurisdictions, it may be four years or more.
If you don’t file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against your doctor within the prescribed time period, absent some exceptional circumstances you will be barred from seeking monetary compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. A medical malpractice lawyer should know the statute of limitations deadline in your jurisdiction and can work to make sure that a claim or lawsuit is filed in your case in a timely manner.
Notice of Claim
In order to take legal action against a medical doctor for malpractice, you cannot just simply file a lawsuit with the court. Rather, you must first send a notice to the doctor, indicating to him or her that you are planning to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. After filing the notice, there may be a waiting period before the injured patient is eligible to file a lawsuit.
Because these notice requirements vary by jurisdiction, you will need to consult with a lawyer to determine the exact information that must be included in a claim notice directed to the negligent health care provider.
Affidavit or Certificate of Qualified Expert
In addition to notifying a health care provider that you intend to file a lawsuit, prior to filing suit in most jurisdictions, the injured patient must usually submit an affidavit or certificate from a qualified expert. This affidavit or certificate is usually completed by another doctor who can testify that there are reasonable grounds to determine that medical negligence or medical malpractice took place in a given case. Again, the exact requirements of the certificate vary from state to state and across jurisdictions.
Satisfying the Legal Standard
After meeting the notice requirements and other prerequisites, depending upon the jurisdiction an injured patient may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor. In order to prove the doctor negligent and that he or she committed malpractice, the accident victim must first be able to show that the doctor breached the duty of care owed to the patient.
All doctors owe patients a duty of care. Under most circumstances, medical doctors are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable doctor” who was acting under the same or similar circumstances, and who is located in the same geographical area as the treating physician.
On the other hand, some doctors, such as obstetricians, gynecologists, cardiologists, and orthopedists practice in specialized areas of medicine. These specialists are usually held to a national standard of care in a medical malpractice case.
If the injured patient is able to prove – through qualified expert testimony – that the doctor committed an act of medical negligence, then the patient has satisfied the first step of proving a malpractice claim against the doctor. However, the injured patient must also be able to show that the doctor’s negligence resulted in certain injuries or damages.
Additional injuries sustained may take the form of medical complications or the need for follow up medical procedures, such as future corrective surgeries. Potentially available damages in a medical malpractice case against a doctor include:
- Payment of all related medical and physical therapy bills
- Compensation for all related wage losses
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience associated with the malpractice
- Lost earning capacity resulting from an inability to work
- Inconvenience and loss of quality of life due to the malpractice
- Related mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of spousal companionship or support due to the negligent act
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can take the necessary legal actions to maximize the value of your case and increase your likelihood of recovering monetary damages.
Contact a Clearwater, FL Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
No matter your jurisdiction, medical malpractice claims and lawsuits are primarily about one thing: accountability. People trust that doctors will take care of them and make their condition better in a patient’s hour of need. When doctors fail in that responsibility, they must be held accountable for the negligent actions they took – as well as for the actions that they failed to take under the circumstances.
Dolman Law Group, a national medical malpractice law firm, may be able to provide you with the legal representation that you need in your case. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a medical malpractice lawyer, please call us today at 727-451-6900 or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375