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Medical Malpractice FAQs

Medical Malpractice FAQsMedical errors are an unfortunate reality in Florida and are shockingly common. Negligent actions, misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and more can result in immense physical, emotional, and financial consequences for patients and families. If you or a loved one suspect substandard treatment led to injury, infection, illness progression, or worse, you are far from alone. You undoubtedly have questions about your legal options for justice and compensation.

This medical malpractice FAQ was created by Florida medical malpractice lawyers to provide simplified insights and information for patients and families seeking accountability after medical negligence turns lives upside down.

Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in Florida?

Yes, you can sue a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider (e.g., nurse, physician’s assistant, radiology technician, etc.) for medical malpractice in Florida. To successfully file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you generally must show that the medical professional acted negligently, deviated from the accepted standard of care, and directly caused your injuries.

A Florida medical malpractice attorney can assess your case and help you understand your legal rights and the steps to take if you or a loved one suffered harm due to a healthcare provider’s mistakes. It’s essential to act fast in these cases, as Florida has a strict statute of limitations that puts a deadline on all lawsuits.

How Much Are Most Medical Malpractice Settlements?

There is a wide range when it comes to medical malpractice settlement amounts. The specifics of each case play a major role in determining settlement value. Some key factors include:

  • Type and severity of injury
  • Need for ongoing medical treatment
  • Impact on ability to work
  • Clear evidence of negligence

Less severe or short-term injuries might settle for tens of thousands, while permanent disabilities, wrongful deaths, or egregious mistakes can result in settlements in the millions of dollars. Settlements are a negotiated compromise, and our medical malpractice attorneys will fight aggressively to help victims and grieving families obtain maximum compensation in Florida.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Florida?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to meet the accepted standard of care (i.e., what a reasonably careful healthcare provider would do under the circumstances) when treating a patient, resulting in some level of harm or injury. Some examples of medical malpractice under Florida law include:

  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a condition
  • Surgical errors and mistakes during procedures
  • Negligent post-operative care after surgeries
  • Administering the wrong type or dose of medication
  • Childbirth injuries to mother or baby due to negligence
  • Failure to monitor patients appropriately
  • Not consulting a specialist when needed
  • Poor follow-up care after discharge

In essence, if a doctor or nurse fails to treat a patient in a way a reasonable professional would have under the circumstances, and the patient suffers additional injury or illness as a result, the elements for a Florida medical malpractice case may exist.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice in Florida?

The statute of limitations sets deadlines for legal actions after medical negligence. According to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(b), patients typically have two years from the date of injury/incident to file a malpractice lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, or another healthcare provider.

However, some exceptions can change this timeline significantly. For example, you might have until a minor is eight years old to file a medical malpractice claim in Florida. The deadline for filing a lawsuit may also be extended if the medical provider in your claim is also engaged in fraud or concealment. A lawyer can help you determine how much time you have left to act.

These strict cutoffs underscore why prompt legal consultation after potential medical negligence is so important. Don’t take chances – call an attorney today if you suspect any instance of medical error resulted in harm to you or a loved one.

What Elements Must Be Met to Prove Medical Malpractice?

In a medical malpractice case, the following elements must be met to have a successful claim:

  • Standard of care: Healthcare providers owe patients a duty to provide competent and safe treatment that meets professional standards. We must prove that the care fell below what a reasonably careful medical professional would have done under the same circumstances. Medical expert testimony is required to prove this.
  • Breach of duty: The provider fails in their duty through errors, negligence, reckless actions, etc.
  • Causation: There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and the patient’s resulting injury or harm. We have to use expert testimony to show that the healthcare provider’s negligence is what actually caused your injury.
  • Damages: You have quantifiable economic and non-economic losses stemming from the provider’s medical negligence, such as additional medical costs, lost income, disability, pain and suffering, and more.

In essence, victims must demonstrate their doctor failed to treat them appropriately, directly causing substantial injury or illness that resulted in financial and personal losses. A Florida medical malpractice lawyer will evaluate all the events and build a strong legal case around these elements.

What Is the Hardest Element to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Proving a healthcare provider breached the accepted “standard of care” is typically the most challenging element in a Florida medical malpractice case.

The standard of care refers to how similarly qualified medical professionals would have acted under the same circumstances. Experts in the defendant’s specialty must testify that the care provided fell short of normal standards. Securing convincing expert testimony to critique a fellow doctor and show that no reasonable physician would have acted the same way can be difficult.

Battling the code of silence in the medical community and overcoming skepticism among jurors about doctors making errors are some of the other hurdles victims face. Don’t let these hurdles stop you– your permanent injury or a loved one’s loss of life due to negligence warrants accountability. Let our attorneys help level the playing field.

What Damages Can I Pursue for Medical Malpractice in Florida?

Damages in a medical malpractice claim can be any expenses you have that are directly related to the injury or condition caused by the act of negligence. If negligence is proven against a healthcare provider, injured victims or grieving families in fatal cases can recover two types of malpractice damages:

Economic Damages

These cover quantifiable monetary losses from medical negligence, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Ongoing care costs

Non-Economic Damages

These subjective, quality-of-life losses are calculated more broadly:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive damages may also be pursued to punish defendants in especially egregious cases. Our injury attorneys utilize economists and life care planners to fully quantify lifetime damages.

What is the Patient Bill of Rights in Florida?

The Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights outlines legal rights and protections for those seeking healthcare to ensure appropriate access, choice, transparency, privacy, and safety.

Some major rights guaranteed include:

  • Right to emergency services for acute conditions
  • Full information about services, providers, charges, and payment options
  • Confidential handling of medical records
  • Right to give informed consent before treatments
  • Right to refuse treatment and be informed of consequences
  • Fair complaint and appeals processes if disputes with providers occur

Established in broad laws and regulations governing Florida’s healthcare system, these rights aim to increase consumer protection, equity of access, medical transparency, and autonomy of healthcare choices. Despite these safeguards, malpractice litigation may still be necessary when negligence occurs.

Is Malpractice Insurance Required in Florida?

Generally speaking, no. Most Florida physicians and healthcare providers must carry medical malpractice insurance, but some are exempt from this legal requirement. A professional liability insurance policy ensures financial resources are available for a healthcare provider when legitimate injury claims are pursued for situations involving medical negligence. For those doctors who must carry a policy, Florida statutes mandate the following minimum malpractice insurance coverage amounts:

  • $100,000 per claim
  • $300,000 total annual aggregate

Many doctors acquire policies with higher limits, and hospitals may have policies in the millions or more. Verifying active, adequate liability coverage from the provider, facility, or insurer is one of the first steps attorneys take in developing malpractice cases. This can often be a complex process that should only be undertaken by attorneys experienced in medical malpractice cases and professional liability insurance policies.

How Do I Report Medical Malpractice in Florida?

If you suspect medical malpractice occurred in Florida, you can report it to the Florida Department of Health (DOH) or contact a malpractice attorney. While filing a complaint with the State may sound like a good idea, it rarely results in any help for the victim. As such, a medical malpractice lawyer should also be consulted.

To file an official complaint with the Florida DOH:

  • Get a consumer complaint form from their website or request one by phone.
  • Fill it out with details about the incident(s). Include dates, provider names, and specifics of what happened.
  • Submit the completed form by fax, email, or mail.
  • The Department of Health will then investigate by reviewing records and interviewing staff. If misconduct is found, they can discipline providers or revoke medical licenses.

We advise contacting our medical malpractice lawyers as soon as possible. We can conduct a detailed review to determine if negligence occurred and help you pursue financial recovery through civil litigation.

Get Answers to Your Questions From Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please do not hesitate to contact our Florida medical malpractice lawyers for assistance. The team at Freidin Brown is here to help you 24/7. We have over 45 years of experience handling malpractice lawsuits, and we have won millions in settlements and awards for our clients who were harmed by medical negligence. Call us today at 888-677-7764 to get started.

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