Fiol Law Group|Posted in Medical Malpractice on January 15, 2020
Trusting your health in the hands of a physician or surgeon is daunting enough without the threat of medical malpractice looming over you. Unfortunately, malpractice is a reality all patients should be aware of before seeking medical care. Medical malpractice causes about 10% of all deaths in the U.S, making it statistically the third leading cause of death in the country. Knowing what common mistakes to look out for could help you stay in better control of your health care. It could also help you realize when you have been the victim of medical malpractice.
What is the Meaning of Medical Malpractice?
In Florida, the legal definition of medical malpractice (Florida Statute 766.102) is the injury or death of a person that results from the negligence of a health care provider. This can mean a doctor, surgeon, any person with a medical license, a hospital, surgical center or many other entities in the health care industry. Negligence in health care is a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care that the specific doctor or center owed to the patient. The prevailing standard is the level of care, skill, and treatment other reasonable and prudent health care practitioners recognize as acceptable.
If a health care center or practitioner makes a mistake someone else would not have made in similar circumstances, and you suffer harm as a result, medical malpractice has occurred. Not just any patient with a poor health outcome will have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida, however. Medical malpractice must involve a breach of duty of care by the health care provider to have grounds for a claim. If you are unsure whether a health care provider’s actions qualify as medical malpractice in your case, ask an attorney.
What are Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice takes many forms in hospitals and health care centers around the country: a lapse in judgment, preventable health complications, system failure, lack of skill and so on. Any medical care that falls below the accepted standards in the industry could qualify as malpractice if it leads to patient injuries, illnesses or deaths. Some types of malpractice, however, are more common than others.
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Improper pre- or postoperative care
- Lack of informed patient consent
- Medication and prescription mistakes
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Poor prenatal care
- Surgical errors
If you believe one of these common mistakes caused your recent injury or a loved one’s death, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim against one or more parties in Florida. Work with a lawyer to help you understand the rules surrounding how to file. Each state has unique medical malpractice statutes.
What are the Laws Regarding Medical Malpractice?
In Florida, the statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of the alleged malpractice to file a civil claim. This deadline extends to four years from the discovery of your injuries if you do not realize you are the victim of malpractice until later. The only exception that will lead to a longer time limit is if the defendant fraudulently concealed the malpractice so you would not discover it. If this is the case, you will have two years from your discovery of the injury or seven years from when the malpractice occurred.
Before you can bring a claim in court, you must serve a Notice of Intent to Sue on the defendant. This starts a settlement process that will last a mandatory 90 days. Winning a case as an injured patient against a practitioner or health care provider in Florida can be difficult. The burden of proof is steep in these cases. You could get further with your claim with help from a medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer can help you navigate the state’s related laws and technicalities for the strongest possible claim to damages. Contact a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer for more information about your specific case.