If you are hospitalized for any reason and something goes wrong, it is important to understand your rights. Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or other medical professional fails to meet the standard of care for a patient and this negatively impacts their health.
In these instances, you might be left wondering if you have grounds for a lawsuit or if there is anything that can be done on your behalf. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s essential to know what your options are.
The details of your situation will dictate whether you can pursue legal action against an individual healthcare provider or institution—and if so, under what circumstances. The following article will provide some general information regarding medical malpractice and how you can proceed with legal action in that instance.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
This is when a doctor fails to meet appropriate standards of care and causes harm to a patient. If you were harmed by a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. A sample medical malpractice claim might outline the following injuries:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Decreased quality of life
- Emotional distress
A majority of states recognize a statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. The statute of limitations will vary depending on the state where you live and the circumstances of your case.
In Florida, you have two years to take action. Medical malpractice cases often result in large settlements and judgments because the damages that result from a single negligent act can be catastrophic.
The Basics of a Medical Malpractice Case
Your Relationship with the Doctor: In order to proceed with a claim against your doctor, you must have had a doctor-patient relationship with them. You’ll need to prove that your doctor(s) had a duty to you, which is the legal obligation to act in your best interest. If you had a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor is responsible for your care and ensuring that you are treated appropriately.
The Standard of Care: All doctors hold themselves to the applicable standard of care in their field. Thus, when a doctor fails to meet a certain standard and as a result negatively impacts your health, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. The level of care in a case varies depending on the circumstances. For example, a surgeon removing the wrong limb or organ would fail to meet the required standard of care.
Negligence: The central premise of medical malpractice claims is the notion of negligence. In the medical setting, negligence is found when a doctor fails to meet the appropriate standard of care and causes harm to the patient. You’ll need to prove that your doctor(s) failed to meet the standard of care and, as a result, harmed you.
Proving Medical Malpractice
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, your first step should be to report your concerns to the doctor in question and any medical staff involved in your treatment. If you are unsatisfied with their response, and it’s clear that an error has been made, you can pursue legal action. The first thing you will want to do is speak with a lawyer.
Having an experienced attorney by your side will help you to determine if a case is viable and will guide you through the legal process. If a lawyer agrees to take your case, you’ll need to collect relevant documentation of your treatment, diagnosis, and prognosis from your medical team.
There are multiple reasons that a judge or jury may determine that you should not receive damages. They may believe that you were partly at fault for your situation or that you’re unable to prove negligence on the part of your doctor. You may also need to prove that the error negatively impacted your health.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
The damages in a medical malpractice claim depend on the type of injuries you sustained. The following are some sample damages in medical malpractice cases:
Medical Expenses: These represent the costs that you have incurred as a result of the error. For example, an operation to remove the wrong limb or organ will likely lead to significant medical bills.
Lost Wages: You may be unable to work due to your injuries, which results in lost wages.
Emotional Distress: You may experience anxiety, fear, and nightmares as a result of the error.
Pain and Suffering: Your injuries may cause you to experience pain both physically and emotionally.
Decreased Quality of Life: Your injuries may prevent you from engaging in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed.
Options if You Are a Victim of Medical Malpractice in Florida
If you were harmed by a doctor’s negligence in Florida, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Your first step should be to report your concerns to the doctor in question and any medical staff involved in your treatment. If, after addressing your concerns with the doctor, you are unsatisfied with their response and it is clear that an error or mistake has been made, you can pursue legal action.
If you’re ready to do so, your next step is finding an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Florida. The state has specific laws governing these types of cases, so it’s important to work with a lawyer who is familiar with them.
At The Doctor Lawyer Firm, our team of medical malpractice attorneys has extensive experience handling these cases in Florida. We understand the complex legal issues involved and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a doctor’s negligence in Florida, contact The Doctor Lawyer Firm today for a free consultation.
Call The Doctor Lawyer Firm for Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Florida
At The Doctor Lawyer Firm, we understand how important it is for you to choose the right medical malpractice attorney in Florida. With years of experience representing clients in medical negligence cases, we know what it takes to get results. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.