Seek an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If there’s anyone professional you should trust, it’s your medical provider. Yet, recent research conducted by MotivIndex found that more than half of all Americans don’t trust their doctor. Even if you are among the half of Americans who do trust their doctor, that trust is often broken when it comes to medical malpractice.
Medical professionals must adhere to what is called a “standard of care.” This refers to the treatment process that a medical professional should follow for a certain type of patient or illness. In legal terms, a standard of care is how similarly qualified medical professionals would have managed the patient’s care under the same circumstances. Malpractice occurs when the actions fall below the standard of care and harm the patient as a result.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
Malpractice typically involves some type of medical error. In 2016, the increase in medical errors caused scientists at Johns Hopkins to suggest that medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death—after heart disease and cancer.
Common types of errors include:
- Surgical Errors
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
- Pharmaceutical Errors
- Birth Injury
- Leaving items inside the patient’s body during surgery
- Failure to order appropriate tests
- Possible life-threatening infections acquired while in hospital
- Pressure ulcers or bedsores
- Premature discharge
Examples of these types of errors are a failure to diagnose cancer or a surgical procedure on the wrong arm. Medical malpractice laws exist to allow patients to pursue compensation for harms suffered through a subpar standard of care. Disability, constant pain, loss of income, and suffering can result in significant damages for the patient.
Informed consent is another type of medical malpractice. If a patient does not give informed consent for a procedure, the doctor or healthcare provider may be liable. The liability occurs when the patient is harmed or injured, even if the surgery was performed perfectly.
What is Required for a Successful Case
Florida law requires pre-litigation procedures to be followed before filing the lawsuit. A panel of experts may need to review the claim to decide if there was malpractice. The panel’s findings are permissible in court. Should the panel decide no malpractice occurred, the court must then decide whether to permit the lawsuit to advance.
There are four factors that plaintiffs must prove in malpractice claims:
- The medical provider owed a professional duty to the patient.
- There was a breach of said duty.
- The injury resulted because of the breach.
- The consequences of the injury damaged the patient.
Expert testimony often plays an important role for both the plaintiff and defendants in the lawsuit. A doctor’s specialty, and the illness at issue, can play a factor in defining the standard of care. Expert testimony helps to clarify this in most medical malpractice cases.
Types of Damages
The damages awarded depend upon the damage incurred. Compensation is often limited, or capped, at a certain amount—the amount varies among states. Florida has a limit of $500,000 in compensation for medical malpractice suits against healthcare providers. The limit is $750,000 in compensation against non-medical practitioners.
The types of damages awarded for medical malpractice include general, special, and punitive awards.
General damages range from pain and suffering to future lost earnings, to a general loss of enjoyment of life. Expert witness testimony greatly affects the outcome of any awarded general damages; many of these damages can be difficult to quantify into economic terms and require significant evidentiary support.
Special damages are easier to quantify—the specific amount of lost income, medical bills, and expenses for modifications to your home to accommodate a disability, for example. Special damages are calculable expenses, though may often include planned or anticipated future expenses.
Punitive damages seek to punish the doctor or healthcare provider for their actions. These types of damages are rare, and are reserved for extreme cases of medical malpractice; misconduct that goes above and beyond simple mistake could result in a punitive award.
The laws regarding medical malpractice claims become stricter all the time. Due to the complex nature of this area of law, it is best to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible if you have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Sarasota, Florida, Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, your next step should be to contact the Dolman Law Group. Our experienced attorneys understand how insurance companies operate, how defendants try to avoid liability, and what attorneys must do to achieve fair compensation for our clients.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is shorter in Florida than other types of personal injury claims. Medical malpractice law is complex, and medical professionals are not responsible for every mistake they make. It can be very challenging to prove medical malpractice due to the specifics of showing how a doctor failed to meet the standard of care.
It is unacceptable for a patient to experience medical malpractice when seeking help for illness or injury. Patients should leave medical facilities feeling better—not with additional pain or damages. Whether a surgeon suffers from fatigue or an emergency room is short staffed, no patient should suffer due to negligence on behalf of a trusted healthcare provider.
Let the medical malpractice attorneys of the Dolman Law Group review your case. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. The Dolman Law Group offers a “No Recovery, No Fee” promise to our clients—no fee is owed until we achieve a settlement or judgment for you.
During your free consultation, our attorneys will sit with you and hear your case; we’ll inform you of your rights, and discuss any possible courses of action.
To schedule a free consultation, call (941) 210-7586 or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, FL 34201-3007