Most of us are taught to trust doctors, so if you are injured by one, it can be a shock. The unfortunate truth is that medical errors that lead to bodily injuries, and are surprisingly common. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, more than 250,000 deaths in the country each year and a large number of injuries are caused by doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals. However, not all of these cases rise to the level of medical malpractice. So how do you know if you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice in Florida?
Medical malpractice is a complicated area of the law that can be very difficult to prove. If you’ve been injured in a health care setting, contact a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs right away. To schedule a free consultation of your case, call (954) 568-3636 today, or reach out through the online form.
Due to the complex nature of medical malpractice cases, it’s wise to know about the laws and other issues that surround the topic, including:
Medical malpractice is based on negligence. Doctors are negligent when they act outside of normally accepted standards of care. Sometimes injuries happen even when doctors are trying to act in a patient’s best interests. For example, a doctor might give you a drug, and you had a bad allergic reaction to it. But what if the doctor had no way of knowing about your allergy – even if you didn’t know about it? In this case, the doctor was not acting negligently. However, if a doctor gives you a drug that you have an allergic reaction to, and your allergy is well-documented in their medical records, this might be a case of malpractice.
Examples of possible malpractice include failing to diagnose an illness, diagnosing an illness but unnecessarily delaying treatment, prescribing or administering the wrong medication, leaving a surgical tool inside a patient’s body, performing the wrong surgery on a patient, improper use of forceps during childbirth, and more.
Nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, and other licensed health care providers who act negligently can face medical malpractice actions.
You must bring your medical malpractice claim within two years of the incident that caused your injury, or within two years of discovering you were injured. You cannot file a suit more than four years after the incident in which the injury occurred.
You may receive compensation for your medical bills, lost time at work, property damage, emotional distress, and more.
Usually, a claim is limited to a maximum of $500,000. There may be higher amounts in cases involving death and punitive damages. Punitive damages are those that go beyond reimbursing you for your losses. They are meant to punish the person being sued, and used in hopes that they don’t commit similar actions in the future.
This means that if you’ve received insurance benefits for your injuries, this evidence cannot be introduced in court.
The court can order the parties involved in your medical malpractice case to try and work out a settlement instead of going to trial. When parties can’t agree and it isn’t possible, the case may proceed to trial.
Sometimes expert witnesses are needed in a medical malpractice case to help prove liability. These experts are medical professionals familiar with the area of medicine in which the injury occurred.
How long a case takes to settle depends upon a variety of factors, including whether the case goes to trial, the available evidence, and more.
A lot is involved in bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida. An attorney who is experienced in handling medical malpractice cases in the state can help guide you through the process, identify expert witnesses, and ensure that your legal rights are upheld. A knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs is available for a free consultation by calling (954) 568-3636, or by reaching out online.