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 David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. right away. To schedule a free consultation of your case, 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:
The Issue of Negligence
Basically, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. It is a concept in personal injury claims that is used to figure out who should pay for damages that were caused. However, it is a complex legal idea that should be analyzed by your attorney when determining who is at fault and who should pay for your injuries.
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.
What is ‘Negligence’ in Florida?
According to Florida Law, a person may be negligent if they failed to use reasonable care. Reasonable care is that which a reasonably careful person would use in similar circumstances. If a person does something that a reasonably careful person would not do, they may be negligent. Also, if a person fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do, they may be negligent.
Can I Sue Someone for Negligence?
Yes, but in order to obtain compensation in a negligence claim, you must prove certain elements. The elements of a cause of action for negligence are:
- There was a legal duty to use due care. This means that the person at fault had a legal responsibility to act in a certain way.
- There was a breach of that duty. This means that a person must have violated the law or failed to act responsibly.
- There breach of duty caused injuries. You must show that the illegal actions of the person at fault directly caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries. You must have actual losses, or monetary expenses, that resulted as a result of the injuries caused by the at-fault person.
Malpractice Can Occur During a Variety of Procedures
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.
How Long Do You have to Bring a Medical Malpractice Suit in Florida?
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.
What Damages Can You Recover if You Were a Victim of Medical Malpractice in Ft. Lauderdale?
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.
How Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Work in Ft. Lauderdale?
Florida Courts Can Order Non-binding Arbitration
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.
You May Need Expert Witnesses
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 Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Take?
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 medical malpractice case can take weeks, months, or years to resolve.
If Someone You Know Was Injured or Died as a Result of Medical Malpractice in Ft. Lauderdale, Our Attorneys May Be Able to Help
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 David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. is available for a free consultation by reaching out online.
David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. – Fort Lauderdale Office
8 SE 8th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
P: (954) 459-3755