Each year, doctors and other health care providers injure thousands of patients. These patients are often confused about how to hold a negligent healthcare professional responsible for their injuries.
Bringing a medical malpractice case is not easy. At Dolman Law Group, our North Miami Beach medical malpractice lawyers have the skills and resources to help you make an effective claim for compensation.
Proving Medical Malpractice
Reaching a settlement with the party that caused your medical malpractice injuries hinges on proof of medical malpractice. Unlike many other forms of personal injury, medical malpractice is based on the performance of a medical professional, which is sometimes not as clear-cut as negligence assigned in a case concerning something like a car accident or premises liability.
To prove a medical malpractice suit, a claimant must show the medical professional in question violated the standard of care expected of them.
The Standard of Care and Medical Malpractice
The standard of care in the context of healthcare is the level of care expected of a medical professional. This level of care is determined through comparison to other healthcare professionals in similar circumstances.
The standard of care is not the same for every medical professional, and sometimes it is not even the same for healthcare providers in the same field. For example, A pediatrician who works out of a clinic in a small, rural town will not have the same standard of care expected of them as a surgeon at a major hospital in a large city.
Medical malpractice claims often utilize medical professionals who are similar to the professional who has allegedly committed medical malpractice as expert witnesses. These witnesses can testify regarding what they would have done in a similar situation as the defendant.
It is important to remember that medical malpractice is not simply a medical error, but medical negligence that could have been avoided had a medical professional done what they were supposed to.
North Miami Beach Medical Malpractice FAQ
Suffering medical malpractice in North Miami Beach can leave you struggling in many ways. You may lose confidence in your medical care provider and wonder how you can seek compensation for your injuries. At Dolman Law Group, we can help. Check out the FAQ below to learn more about how to pursue your claim.
How Long do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in North Miami Beach?
Florida has a statute of limitations that sets a specific time limit for filing medical malpractice claims (Florida Statutes § 95.11). Generally, you have only two years from the date of the malpractice to bring a lawsuit. If your injuries were slow to develop and you did not know you were a victim of medical malpractice, you have two years from the date you discovered the injury or reasonably should have.
However, Florida passed a “statute of repose” which cuts off all medical malpractice claims after four years - regardless of when you realized you were a victim of medical malpractice. There are some narrow exceptions for circumstances such as fraud or injuries to children, but courts typically strictly enforce these deadlines.
Do not let the statute of limitations expire while deciding whether to file your claim. You should get in touch with a North Miami Beach medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. That way, an attorney can start investigating the incident right away, rather than trying to find information later that may become lost over time.
Who Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
It is a common misconception that you can only sue doctors for medical malpractice. In fact, you can sue any medical professional, including:
- Medical specialists
- Nurses and nurse practitioners
In some situations, you might even be able to sue the hospital or medical facility if it is in some way responsible for your injuries. Hospitals and medical facilities are often found culpable for their employees' actions.
However, physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare providers may not always be considered employees of these facilities. Instead, they may be contractors. If this is the case, the hospital may not be responsible for their actions.
If you have a question about who to sue, it is better to check with a lawyer than assume you have no case.
What Are Some Common Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Health care providers like doctors and surgeons commit malpractice whenever the care they provide falls below the prevailing professional standard. According to law, health care professionals must use the care that other reasonably prudent professionals would use in the same circumstances.
At Dolman Law Group, we see some common examples of malpractice, including:
- Wrong diagnosis: A doctor might completely miss an illness or injury, or they might diagnose you with a condition you do not have. Either way, you can suffer injury because treatment is delayed or you receive unnecessary treatment.
- Surgical errors: A surgeon or another professional in the operating room might make a mistake that injures you. For example, a surgeon might leave sponges or other implements inside you or perform surgery incompetently, resulting in death or injury. Similarly, an anesthesiologist might not properly monitor you, leading to oxygen deprivation or another injury.
- Medication and other treatment errors: The doctor might correctly identify your illness or injury but prescribe improper treatment, leading to injury.
- Birthing injuries: Many different things can go wrong during pregnancy or delivery. For example, mothers might suffer excessive bleeding, prolonged labor, infection, or negligent anesthesia. Babies can suffer nerve injuries, facial paralysis, broken bones, jaundice, organ failure, and oxygen deprivation, among others.
What Are the Signs of Medical Malpractice?
Doctors and other medical professionals are not in the habit of confessing their mistakes. Nevertheless, you might sense that something is wrong with your body soon after treatment. For example, your condition might not be improving even though you have followed your doctor's prescribed regimen, or you might start feeling increased pain.
Look for these other signs of medical malpractice, which should serve as red flags:
- Another doctor offers a different second opinion. This might mean your initial doctor failed to diagnose you properly.
- A doctor made a diagnosis of a serious illness without ordering any tests.
- You develop complications after surgery. Some complications can't be avoided, but some might stem from medical negligence.
- After taking medication, you develop a side effect your doctor never told you about.
In short, trust your gut if you suspect something is wrong. Obtain a second opinion and reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer for help with analyzing your case.
What Should I do If I Recognize or Suspect That I Was a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Sometimes, you may see clear evidence of medical malpractice immediately: birth trauma or birth injuries, for example. Other times, you may discover down the road that you sustained severe injuries due to your care provider's negligence. You might, for example, later discover a misdiagnosis in your medical history or a missed diagnosis that led to substantial ongoing suffering because you did not receive treatment for that ailment. Act quickly once you discover or suspect medical malpractice.
Prioritize the medical care you need. In many cases, medical malpractice can significantly change your medical needs. If you discover a misdiagnosis, for example, you may need to change your treatment protocol immediately to maximize your chance at recovery. If you discover that you suffered a “never” event, meaning some major mistake such as surgery on the wrong body part, you may need immediate medical care to correct the mistake.
Never put off medical care following a malpractice event or suspected malpractice event. If, for example, you believe a doctor did not take you seriously or your symptoms do not line up with the illness your doctor diagnosed, you may want to pursue a second opinion. This might give you a better idea of what treatment you need moving forward. Do not wait to seek that treatment, especially if you have sustained a severe injury or have significant side effects.
Get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. When you suspect medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney immediately to help guide your next steps. Should you go back to the provider who committed an act of malpractice against you? How should you go about seeking medical care for the injuries you sustained or for your changing diagnosis? What compensation do you deserve for the injuries you sustained due to medical malpractice? The more information you have about your rights, the better decisions you can make about your right to pursue compensation moving forward.
Keep track of all records associated with your medical care. Your records can prove vital to establishing how medical malpractice occurred and what compensation you may deserve due to the injuries you sustained. While your care provider may have copies of your records and provide them to you as needed, keeping copies of your medical records and having them on hand when needed can streamline the process of moving forward with a medical malpractice claim.
Does It Matter If I Have a Pre-existing Injury?
Most people visit a doctor precisely because they are suffering from some illness or injury. For example, you might have hurt your back and gone to a chiropractor for relief from pain. The fact that you have a pre-existing injury does not prevent you from holding a medical professional responsible for medical malpractice. The key is whether the doctor or professional worsened your condition by not treating you properly.
What Is the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement?
There is no “average” settlement. Each case is unique, so you will need to analyze the factors that go into determining how much compensation you can receive. For example, you and your medical malpractice lawyer will need to look at the following:
- How much medical care have you needed to treat the injury your doctor caused?
- How much medical care might you need in the future to help you cope with your injury?
- Did you miss work? If so, how much did you lose in wages?
Many clients can receive compensation for economic losses like medical care and lost wages. You might also receive compensation for the following non-economic losses:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost companionship, care, guidance, and sexual intimacy if your spouse is injured
Non-economic losses are harder to estimate, but a medical malpractice attorney can rely on their experience in the field to calculate how much is available.
Will I Receive Punitive Damages?
Many victims of medical malpractice also wonder whether they could be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in instances where the court finds the defendant's actions grossly negligent or abhorrent. They will award punitive damages to further punish the liable party for their actions. It also serves as a way to send a message to the public that the Florida civil court systems will not tolerate these actions.
Punitive damages are rare, but your lawyer can explain whether they might apply in your case.
Will I Have to Go to Court in North Miami Beach to Settle My Medical Malpractice Claim?
Many hospitals in Miami Beach have large legal teams that work to minimize the compensation the hospital pays out in medical malpractice claims. While most healthcare facilities, hospitals, and doctors prefer to settle out of court if at all possible, both to avoid potential publicity and to decrease the cost of legal fees associated with the claim, you may have to take your claim to court to reach the resolution you need and deserve.
If your North Miami Beach medical malpractice claim has to go to court, having an attorney on your side is critical. An attorney knows the court's rules and can build your case for the judge and present evidence and arguments in a compelling light that may ultimately increase the compensation you can recover.
How Are Medical Malpractice Claims Paid Out in North Miami Beach?
There are several ways in which you could be compensated for a North Miami Beach medical malpractice lawsuit. First, you will likely file a claim with the negligent healthcare provider's medical malpractice insurance company. The insurance company will likely be required to compensate you for certain types and amounts of damages up to the limits of the policyholder‘s policy.
Once your damages exceed the policy's limits or are not covered by the insurance company, you will need to seek recovery of these losses through a civil North Miami Beach medical malpractice lawsuit. Here, you can seek restitution for every loss the insurance company did not compensate you for, as well as the non-economic damages that the initial medical malpractice insurance claim did not cover.
Contact a North Miami Beach Medical Malpractice Attorney
Have a doctor or other medical professional injured you? If so, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Dolman Law Group today.
Our team will work with you to identify whether you have a valid legal claim and can handle all of the pre-suit requirements in Florida. To schedule your free, no-risk consultation, call us at (727) 451-6900 or fill out this contact form.
North Miami Beach Office
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162