Defenses In Florida Hospital Errors Cases
While some medical mistakes can be the result of negligence by an individual health care provider, Florida law also allows patients to pursue hospitals that cause harm. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) points out that many medical errors are the result of defects at the enterprise level. Entire health care systems may put patients at risk through faulty processes and failures with policy, causing staff to make errors or fail to prevent them. As such, you can hold a hospital accountable for issues related understaffing, health care acquired infection, and other mistakes.
However, hospitals have large legal departments and a hefty budget to spend on fighting your claim. They will pursue all possible defenses to avoid paying compensation for your losses, so it is critical to work with an experienced Miami hospital errors lawyer who will overcome such arguments. Some examples of defenses raised by health care facilities include:
No Employment Relationship
Hospitals can be accountable for negligence by their employees who cause injuries while working within the scope of employment. This concept, vicarious liability, does not apply to non-employees. The facility may raise this defense when the hospital error is linked to actions by a physician who is an independent contractor or a nurse who works through a staffing agency.
Legal Deadlines Expired
Under Florida’s statute of limitations, actions must be filed in court within 2 years after the incident giving rise to the injuries occurred. In some cases, the hospital has a clear defense when the deadline expires; in others, the patient may not realize that he or she suffered harm until long after the mistake.
If you could not have discovered your injuries through exercise of reasonable diligence, the statute of limitations is extended to 4 years. The so-called “discovery rule” is a way to respond to the hospital’s defense that the 2-year deadline passed.
One element of a hospital error claim is that there must be a causal relationship between the mistake and the harm you suffered. The health care facility may defend the allegations on the grounds that your injuries are the result of a pre-existing medical condition, instead of any misconduct by the hospital.
A hospital could also allege that you were partly to blame in causing your own injuries. Florida applies a comparative fault rule, which reduces your compensation if you were negligent. Examples include:
- Not taking medication
- Mishandling IV and central lines
- Attempting to get out of bed without calling for help, leading to falls
- Bringing in food and beverages from outside the hospital
Our Florida Hospital Errors Attorneys are Prepared to Overcome Challenges
Health care facilities may raise countless defenses, but their arguments often lack merit. You must take on these tactics with an equally solid strategy, and our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. can help. To learn more about the legal process, please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation with a hospital errors lawyer who can explain specifics.