When faced with an illness, medical condition or injury; Southern Florida residents rely upon the knowledge and experience of doctors, nurses and other health care providers. In many cases, a doctor is responsible for providing a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment as well as follow-up care. While people who follow the advice of a doctor often expect they will benefit after completing any recommended medical treatments or undergoing surgery, unfortunately this isn't always the case.
According to a study that appeared in the September 2013 Journal of Patient Safety, more than 400,000 people die annually as a result of medical errors and hundreds of thousands more suffer serious harm. In cases where an individual or a loved one has suffered harm due to a medical mistake, it may be appropriate to take legal action.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are highly complex and there are many requirements and stipulations that must be met before a lawsuit can move forward. It's important, therefore, to hire an attorney who is knowledgeable about Florida's medical malpractice laws and who has successfully helped others recover compensation.
Medical errors can take many forms including cases in which a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a condition or illness. Additionally, a doctor may breach professional protocols by prescribing the wrong medication or failing to receive a patient's content.Â
Prior to filing a malpractice claim, it's wise to reach out to the offending doctor to get more information and attempt to figure out what happened. Doing so will help an individual determine if legal action is appropriate and also provide important information that may aid one in pursuing a lawsuit.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is two to four years from the date of injury. Additionally, in order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must provide a "verified written medical expert opinion from a medical expert" that details "evidence of medical negligence."
When in the best interest of a plaintiff, an attorney may work to broker a settlement outside of court. In cases where a settlement is insufficient, an attorney will work to investigate and gather evidence to build and litigate a case against the health care professional or provider.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Medical Malpractice In-Depth," 2015
FindLaw.com, "First Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case," 2015
National Conference of State Legislatures, "Medical Liability/Malpractice Merit Affidavits and Expert Witnesses," 2015