Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Johns Hopkins completed a study that found 250,000 people die a year from medical mistakes. That puts medical malpractice just behind heart disease and cancer.
If you think a doctor injured you, you may be able to take legal action. A medical malpractice attorney in Florida can help. To learn more about your right, keep reading.
Let’s start by defining medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is derived from English common law. Rulings across the country and over the years have solidified the modern-day understanding of medical malpractice.
When a patient enters into a facility to seek medical treatment, emergency or otherwise, the doctor that agrees to treat them owes them a duty of care. If something goes wrong and it’s discovered the doctor was negligent, they can be held accountable for the actions, and the patient can seek compensation for their losses.
Medical malpractice claims are common in the United States, but they are notoriously hard to prove. To understand where you have an applicable claim, let’s take a look at common medical errors.
Types of Medical Malpractice
The type of medical malpractice you endure will affect your claim. Some claims are more complex than others. To get an idea of what you can expect, let’s take a look at the most common medical errors.
Diagnostic Errors. Misdiagnoses and failed diagnoses happen when doctors are inexperienced or distracted.
Surgical Errors. Common surgical errors include leaving objects inside patients and operating on the wrong side of the body.
Prescription Drug Mistakes. If a doctor gives a patient a medication they are knowingly allergic to, they can be held accountable.
Birth Injuries. Common birth injuries include lack of oxygen to the fetus, brain injuries, and hemorrhaging.
Dangerous Medical Devices. When a device manufacturer makes something dangerous and people get hurt, it can be held liable.
While that list includes the most common types of malpractice, it’s not comprehensive. If you’ve been injured differently in a medical setting, you could still have a claim. Let’s take a look at what is needed for a valid medical malpractice lawsuit.
Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
When a patient is injured due to physician negligence, a lawsuit may be possible. A medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your situation and help you determine how best to proceed.
If you pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, you’re going to need strong evidence and witness testimony to support your side. Your attorney can use the evidence and the witness to prove the elements of medical malpractice.
Elements of Medical Malpractice
To pursue a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, your case needs to include the following four elements:
- Standard of Care. The standard of care refers to how doctors are supposed to treat patients.
- Breach of Standard of Care. The standard of care is breached if a doctor acts negligently.
- Causation. Causation is the injuries the doctor caused and how they happened.
- Damages. Damages refer to any economic and non-economic losses.
To prove those elements, you’ll want a medical malpractice lawyer by your side. They will collect the evidence to build your claim and fight for your right to recovery.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Florida
Medical malpractice laws vary by state. It’s important to understand the laws that apply to your claim not to jeopardize your chances of making a full recovery.
To start, you only have two years from the time of the accident to take legal action. This is referred to as a statute of limitations. If you fail to meet the deadline, you won’t be able to collect compensation for your losses or hold the negligent doctor accountable.
However, it’s important to note that there can be exceptions to the statute of limitations if you can prove fraudulent concealment. Your lawyer will know exactly how long you have to pursue a lawsuit.
In Florida, you have to serve notice to the allegedly negligent doctor before you can file a lawsuit in court. This much include an affidavit of merit from an expert witness. Filing a notice of intent is what starts the claims process.
Finally, it’s important to understand the state’s damages cap. In terms of non-economic damages, you can only recover up to $500,000 against most medical professionals. However, if the malpractice resulted in death, that amount goes up to $1,000,000.
The Benefits of Working With a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida
While you can legally pursue a med-mal claim independently, doing so will likely result in an unsuccessful claim. Fortunately, our attorneys are here to help.
To prepare for your first meeting with a medical malpractice lawyer, bring any and all applicable documentation with you. You don’t need to know whether you want to pursue a claim. Your attorney can help you decide what’s best.
Not only will your lawyer be able to tell you if you have a potentially valid claim, but they will also be able to give you an idea of what your claim could be worth. In addition, they will take your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other losses into consideration.
No matter the extent of your injuries or the impact on your life, your attorney will fight for your right to a full and fair settlement. In the event settlement isn’t possible, they won’t hesitate to help you take your case to court as a lawsuit. If that happens, it will be up to a judge or jury to decide whether the doctor was wrong and what you’re owed for your losses.
Get Help From Reed & Reed
If a doctor has injured you, a medical malpractice attorney in Florida can help. At Reed & Reed, our lawyers are well-versed in med-mal laws, and we’re prepared to guide you through the process.
The sooner you get in touch with our law firm, the better your chances of pursuing a successful claim. Contact us today to learn more.