There are certain things in our society, in life, that are known or accepted truths. For example, there is no way to convince you out of knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow, that apples fall from trees, and professors work on college campuses. These truths, concepts, and phenomena are so predictable that they become part of our intuition. Do you need food? Go to the grocery store. Are you injured and seeking immediate medical attention? Call 911. Do you have a minor injury, cold, flu, etc.? Go to your doctor.
But what happens when one of these accepted phenomena deviates from the norm? Seeking help from a healthcare professional and walking out with a new or worsened injury is a distressing experience.
Before the 1960s, medical malpractice cases within the U.S were rare. Since then, however, claims have increased drastically. These significant increases are expected given the simultaneous growth in science and technology, motivated by subsequent increases in diseases, accidents, etc. Fortunately, there are specialized medical malpractice attorneys in Florida that have dedicated themselves to helping those who have suffered at the hands of a medical professional.
What is a Medical Malpractice?
Simply stated, medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by his/her doctor or a medical professional. There are different types of medical malpractices which include but are not limited to: (1) failure to diagnose, (2) improper treatment, and (3) neglecting to inform the patient of the risks of a procedure, thus, not receiving proper consent from the patient. Although laws regarding medical malpractices vary between jurisdictions, the satisfaction of these four principle elements are legally required to file a medical malpractice claim:
- Legal responsibility. When a person seeks help from a medical professional and is accepted as a patient, a legal relationship is established between the two in which a medical professional has assumed responsibility for his or her patient’s well-being. This bind acts as an agreement between doctor and patient.
- Beach of the established relationship. Once this doctor-patient relationship is legally established through seeking treatment, the healthcare professional has a legal responsibility to fulfill his/her duty to the patient, and adequately provide the care offered. Failure to provide this care, typically caused by negligence in diagnosis or treatment, is considered a breach of the legally established relationship. Demonstrating this breach is imperative for the filing of a medical malpractice claim.
- Casual Relationship. Once the breach of the relationship is confirmed, one must provide evidence that clearly defines the casual relationship between the doctor’s negligence and the patient’s injury or complaint. Providing evidence for this casual relationship may be difficult for more subtle damages. For instance, if a surgeon performs surgery on the wrong arm, there is a direct link between the surgeon’s negligence and the patient’s injury. Thus, more subtle cases will require sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the patient’s current injuries have been caused by the medical practitioner.
- Capacity for Compensation. Although a wide array of events can motivate a person to file a medical malpractice claim, filling this claim requires there to be an obvious way in which these damages can be compensated for. With the help of the medical malpractice attorneys Tampa, identifying the various forms of compensation will save you time and optimize your earnings to ensure that you feel justice has been served.
Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida
Satisfying these four primary factors of a medical malpractice claim sounds simple enough; nonetheless, medical malpractice cases can be quite complicated and significant to take on as the victim. Medical malpractice attorneys Orlando intend to reduce the victims’ worry by alleviating the task load and maximizing compensation.
Florida malpractice law requires all involved parties to be notified of the potential claim 90 days before filing a lawsuit. The liable parties are expected to investigate the reported issue during this time. Often, persons involved may propose a settlement within these 90 days. Suppose you have been harmed in a Miami hospital emergency room because of a medical error. In that case, it is advised that you contact the Miami medical malpractice lawyer immediately to inform the liable parties to follow the Florida malpractice law properly.
Another reason you need a Florida medical malpractice attorney is to ensure that your medical malpractice case is valid and strong enough to win if taken to a jury trial. To validate your case, a Florida medical malpractice lawyer will put you in contact with a medical expert in compliance with the expert criteria detailed by Florida medical malpractice law. A medical expert will also greatly benefit if the case is taken to trial, requiring expert witnesses who know your case well enough to inform the jury adequately. Winning the case or receiving an adequate settlement may heavily depend on having a Florida medical malpractice or personal injury attorney and health care expert.
Finally, a medical malpractice attorney in Florida will ensure that justice is served and you are compensated for the sustained damage. By Florida law, the victim of a medical malpractice claim is outright entitled to receive compensation for any economic impairment caused by the negligence of a medical professional.
Before considering the following information, it should be noted that Florida is one of the few states that has a “more likely than not” standard of causation. This implies that if a lawsuit is to be presented in a jury trial, it is the lawyer’s duty to demonstrate that the patient’s injuries have probably been caused by the physician’s negligence. This “more likely than not”, or higher probability standard of causation, gives the plaintiff a favorable position. Unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of causation, “more likely than not” only requires there to be over a 51% chance that the patient’s injuries have been caused by a physician’s negligence. If this likely hood is supported by evidence gathered by your medical malpractice lawyer, the jury will vote for the compensation of the patient’s damages.
As stated in Florida Statutes §766.118, economic damages include any financial impairment that has resulted from the medical malpractice that has caused the patient’s injuries. Thus, past, present, and future losses (e.g., medical bills, insurance, etc.) are eligible for legal compensation, including 80% of income loss and earning capacity. These conditions apply to the Wrongful Death Act as well.
However, economic impairment is not the only reparable and/or compensated damage: according to the Florida medical malpractice law, the victim is also entitled to compensation for non-economic damages. These additional forms of compensation include physical or psychological distress such as inconvenience, impairment, reduction in overall quality of life, physical impairment or disfigurement, etc. Contacting a law firm for those needing to recover damages from a wrongful death due to a practitioner’s negligence, is of benefit considering that the compensatory cap for the lawsuit is raised.