Medical mishaps happen despite us placing our utmost faith and confidence in the healthcare professionals whose job is to cure and not harm. Although the majority of medical procedures and diagnoses are executed with flawless accuracy, the percentage that isn’t can cause lifelong debilitating conditions.
If you feel you may have been the victim of medical negligence, you probably have a ton of questions. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Florida’s medical malpractice crisis. Sunshine State residents can contact a Freidin Brown medical malpractice lawyer in Miami to discuss their case and decide on how to proceed next to recover compensation.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or entity doesn’t follow the generally accepted level of care or practices that result in a medical injury or condition. The Florida Medical Malpractice Act gives patients who’ve been harmed to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries. It should be noted that not all medical errors fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. Being unhappy with medical treatment isn’t always equal to a medical error.
For example, a misdiagnosis of a medical condition that doesn’t harm the patient in a significant way isn’t grounds for a lawsuit. Similarly, a procedure that will likely cause pain during the recovery process doesn’t constitute a breach of care. If a level of pain is expected after a procedure, the patient cannot file a malpractice lawsuit for their suffering.
Are Medical Injuries Common?
According to a John Hopkins University study, there are approximately 250,000 deaths each year in the U.S. due to medical mistakes. Some of the more common medical mishaps include the following:
- Failure to diagnose
- Prescription drug errors
- Defective medical devices
- Surgical mistakes
- Anesthesia errors
- Emergency room negligence
Is It Difficult to Prove Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Before a patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida, their legal team must first determine if a medical mishap occurred. The burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff, the individual who believes they were harmed by a healthcare professional or entity.
To file a successful lawsuit, the plaintiff will need to prove the following:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed
- A healthcare professional or entity was negligent in their duties
- The medical error was a direct result of the patient’s injury
- The patient has suffered damages from the medical error
How Long Do Florida Malpractice Cases Take To Resolve?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. Not all medical malpractice cases are cut and dry and easily settled. Your legal team will need time to gather evidence and receive testimony from expert witnesses. Once they’re ready to present evidence to the defendant or defendants, both legal teams will share information. This is known as the discovery phase.
During the discovery phase, a settlement could be reached without the need for going to trial. Settlements could be reached with the help of a mediator or arbitrator. If an agreeable settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial.
A Florida medical malpractice lawsuit could take anywhere from six months to several years to resolve. If a case does go to trial and the plaintiff is awarded damages, the defendant has the right to appeal the decision. This will prolong the process.
What Types of Damages Can I Seek to Recover in a Florida Malpractice Lawsuit?
Several types of damages can be recovered in a successful malpractice lawsuit. Monetary amounts can be paid for both actual expenses and for inconveniences and long-term pain and suffering. Typical damages can include:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of current and future wages and benefits
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Is It Expensive to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Florida?
Fortunately, most Florida medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis. Many won’t ask for a dime of upfront money to handle your case. They’ll be paid for their efforts by taking an agreed-upon percentage of any damages recovered. Most will take between 30 to 40 percent of any compensation you receive, either from an early settlement or the amount the court decides if the case goes to trial.
Florida Medical Malpractice: Final Thoughts
If you’ve been injured by a medical mishap, speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Only a professional can help you to navigate the complex Florida Medical Malpractice Act. The burden of proof will be upon your legal team. Although most lawsuits are settled out of court, working with a lawyer will help to ensure that you receive every penny you’re entitled to.