Medical malpractice cases are among the most complicated personal injury cases for a number of reasons. Most people recognize the importance of engaging a lawyer to help with this type of personal injury lawsuit, but it’s just as important to choose an attorney with extensive experience in medical malpractice and a track record of winning significant compensation awards and settlements. As a Florida medical malpractice attorney, I have won significant compensation for my clients’ injuries caused by medical negligence.
Types of medical malpractice
One of the reasons why medical malpractice is so complicated is because there are many different forms of malpractice, and sometimes more than one takes place in the same event. The most common causes of malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis – when another competent doctor following the accepted standard of care would not have made the mistake
- Surgical errors – unnecessary surgery, wrong procedure, mistake during surgery, inadequate prepping, care during surgery, or aftercare
- Anesthesia errors – incorrect instructions or incorrect implementation of correct instructions
- Pharmaceutical errors – wrong prescriptions, incorrect dosage, error in administration in the hospital, complications or interactions with other medications that were foreseeable
- Failure to treat – not following standard protocols, not following the doctor’s orders, releasing the patient prematurely
- Infections – failure to prevent or treat infections
- Childbirth injuries – injury or death to the mother or the child, associated with negligent prenatal care, care during or after delivery, or postnatal care
Within each of these categories is a wide range of possible negligent acts, and in many cases, there are several negligent acts by a variety of parties involved. As a personal injury attorney, I research these situations deeply, combing evidence and interviewing those involved, to determine all errors and all parties associated with the event.
What makes medical malpractice cases challenging
In order to have a medical malpractice case, you must be able to establish negligence. To demonstrate this negligence, you must demonstrate the “4 Ds”:
- Duty: The medical provider had the duty to provide care, which is to say that there is an established patient-doctor relationship, not just a casual remark from a medical professional you happen to know
- Dereliction of that duty: The physician or medical provider failed to follow standards of acceptable medical practice, such that another competent and prudent medical provider would follow
- Direct or proximate cause: The injury can be directly or closely connected to the medical negligence
- Damages: There is a clear injury for which patients can seek compensation
It can be a challenge to demonstrate all four of these points, which are required to have a medical malpractice case. The law recognizes that competent doctors can still make mistakes. While this is unfortunate, it is not malpractice. It is only malpractice if the average, well-trained, competent, and prudent medical provider would not have made that mistake – and it must be proven in court.
In order to demonstrate this, we must present in court clear standards of care and expert testimony to prove negligence. But remember, the defendants will also have expert testimony and reasons why the occurrence was not negligence. As an experienced medical malpractice attorney, I will examine your case closely to determine what the defendants might argue and how to counter those arguments before they have an opportunity to present them.
It is equally important to clearly demonstrate who is at fault for the negligence. As suggested above, if a doctor gives excellent medical instructions but the staff does not fulfill these instructions, a suit against the doctor would be thrown out. However, suing a nurse would probably not provide you with sufficient compensation. After a thorough investigation, your attorney should be able to determine what negligence the hospital or health system committed that allowed such a mistake to occur.
Statutes of limitations
Another challenge is the statute of limitations. Recent changes in the Florida law set the limitations as follows:
- Two-year limit: Personal injury involving negligence of a third party which occurred after March 24, 2023; wrongful death; product liability; workers’ compensation; legal malpractice; medical malpractice
- Three-year limit: Claims against the government, with the exception of wrongful death, which has a two-year limit
- Four-year limit: Automobile accidents and other vehicle accidents; property damage; assault and battery; some product liability; personal injury involving negligence which occurred on or before March 24, 2023
If your injury occurred prior to March 24, 2023, you have four years to file suit. After that, you have only two years. However, if your injury occurred years ago but you only just recently discovered the connection, you may still be able to sue because the limitation refers to when you discovered the injury. For instance, if you develop severe back pain that goes undiagnosed for several years, then you find an expert who determines a nerve was nicked in an operation you had before the pain developed, your statute of limitations would begin upon discovering the connection between your nicked nerve and the operation.
As you may guess, these previously-mentioned steps can be time-consuming to thoroughly complete to provide you with the best representation and the greatest chance of significant compensation. Another issue is determining the severity of the injury.
If your injury is recent, you may not have yet reached the apex of injury – in other words, your injuries may continue to worsen before they plateau. In this case, it is usually wise to wait until there is a clearer idea of the level of harm before filing suit so that we can properly estimate the long-term consequences and request sufficient compensation.
We need to consider the different ways in which your injury has impacted your life. With proper evidence, we can demand compensation for any of the following situations that apply:
- Medical costs, current and future
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Other expenses caused by the accident, such as necessary changes to your home to accommodate your injuries
- Loss of companionship in the case of serious permanent injury or death
Don’t wait to get help if you have been harmed by a healthcare professional. As a Florida resident and an experienced attorney, I am committed to “fighting for the little guy.” Injured people need an advocate who knows how to win justice against big business, insurance companies, and medical institutions, and I have a track record of winning significant settlements and court cases. Contact me at (954) 448-7288, 24/7 for a free consultation to see how I can help you.