Medical malpractice is a legal term when a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider administers care that is below the generally accepted proper standard of care that causes injury to the patient. This can also include instances in which a health care provider failed to act or did not act in the same manner that another medical professional with the same training would have.
A doctor, physician, or other practitioners licensed to practice medicine in Boca Raton has to use the degree of skill, care, and diligence that reasonably prudent practitioners would use in similar circumstances.
If you have been injured by the medical negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider, you need a legal team you can depend on. The experienced Boca Raton medical malpractice lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo have a winning track record and can help you obtain the justice you deserve.
Medical Malpractice Attorney in Boca Raton Advocates For You
If it is proven that a medical provider’s lack of skill, gross omissions, or negligence caused harm to a patient under their care, this will give rise to a medical malpractice claim.
Florida law provides recourse when a medical professional violates their legal duties and leaves you injured. However, these negligence claims are not without challenges, as plaintiffs have the burden of proof. The state also has procedural requirements, underscoring the need for an experienced Boca Raton medical malpractice attorney.
If you suspect medical negligence on the part of a provider or hospital, it’s crucial to choose a law firm that can protect your best interests. The Boca Raton personal injury lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo can help ensure you know what to expect during the claims process and fight for the strongest settlement possible based on the facts and evidence of your case. En Español.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice takes many forms. Whenever a patient walks into a hospital, doctor’s office, or other healthcare facilities, they take a small risk. Procedures can go wrong including infections or incomplete recovery. However, you cannot sue for malpractice just because your condition worsened while under medical treatment.
Medical malpractice claims are usually, but not always, filed for these types of negligence:
- Errors administering anesthesia – Dosing anesthesia errors can result in coma, stroke, brain damage, heart attack, asphyxia, throat damage, and even death. Errors also include delayed delivery and a failure to adequately monitor patients while anesthetized. Negligence can also lead to anesthesia awareness, a distressing event where patients under general anesthesia can feel pain and recall their surroundings but cannot communicate.
- Emergency room errors – Mistakes in the ER can be life-threatening. Triage errors, where critically ill patients are made to wait, are often fatal. Other instances include failing to order or interpret diagnostic tests, medication errors, misdiagnosis, and prematurely discharging patients without adequate information.
- Hospital negligence – Patients might be eligible for legal action if they develop an infection because of improper sterilization of tools while in a hospital setting. Other types of hospital negligence include improper delay in treatment, incorrect surgery, failure to monitor, and mistakes with charts and records.
- Errors with diagnosis – A delayed diagnosis of cancer or heart disease is common. Doctors may be liable for any injuries and medical expenses resulting from a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose.
- Surgical mistakes – These errors can happen in hospitals, ambulatory centers, and outpatient clinics. They often cite overworked or undertrained surgeons or residents whose negligent actions lead to so-called “never events.” This includes operating on the wrong patient, the wrong body part, or leaving a piece of medical equipment in the body after the operation.
- Improper follow-up care – After a procedure or surgery, a healthcare provider must provide patients with a thorough discharge plan that entails medication needs, diet restrictions, follow-up appointments, and additional means to monitor the patient’s recovery. If a patient isn’t told how to monitor for signs of infection and develops sepsis, the doctor may be liable.
- Errors involving medical devices – Complications or failures with medical devices can result in grave injury or death. For example, nerve damage, burns, and organ perforations may be attributed to defective or poorly designed medical devices or the medical professional’s negligence. In the case of a faulty design, the suit would be brought against the medical device manufacturer.
Medical malpractice does not have to happen in a doctor’s office or a hospital. Other types include dental malpractice, chiropractic malpractice, OB-GYN malpractice, orthopedic malpractice, and psychiatric malpractice. While these claims can provide victims with compensation for their hospital bills and losses, the process is daunting without the guidance of a qualified Boca Raton attorney.
Proving A Medical Malpractice Claim
When patients have been injured due to improper or negligent care, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor, hospital, or medical facility. To file a medical malpractice case in Boca Raton or anywhere in Palm Beach County, the patient must be able to demonstrate the following four elements:
- For malpractice to occur, a doctor/patient relationship must have been established before the injury. The relationship does not need to have a long history; the patient could have only known the doctor for a few minutes in the emergency room. But the patient must have seen the doctor, hired them to administer care, and the doctor must have agreed to help the patient.
- A duty of care was owed. To prove that negligence occurred, it must be shown that the doctor/defendant did not conform to accepted standards of care. Another healthcare professional would have acted differently in the same or similar circumstances.
- The breached duty of care caused the injury. There are many things that can go wrong with medical care and when it does, it is not always the doctor’s fault. To prove a case, it must be established that the doctor breached their duty of care and that this action or omission caused the patient’s injury.
- Damages ensued due to the injury. Medical professionals sometimes make mistakes, but there are no financial repercussions from the negligence. The patient must show that negligent care or treatment resulted in provable economic or non-economic damages. This means that the patient must have incurred additional medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
How Common is Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of medical malpractice claims, following California and New York. In 2020, malpractice insurance carriers shelled out nearly $700 million to resolve doctor and hospital negligence claims in the Sunshine State. This represents a significant increase over the $356 million paid out in 2018. Recent data indicates that 62 percent of Florida medical malpractice claims were filed against physicians, 16 percent against other medical practitioners, 7 percent against hospitals, and 16 percent for other types of healthcare facilities. Besides wrongful death, the top cause of action in these malpractice claims were debilitating injuries that necessitate lifelong care.
According to Public Citizen, a consumer rights watchdog, thousands of Florida physicians have been disciplined by the State Medical Board for prescription drug errors, substandard care, ethical lapses, and other offenses. However, many have been allowed to continue their practice without serious repercussions.
Wrongful Death Due to Medical Malpractice
When preventable medical mistakes cause the wrongful death of a loved one, the surviving family often considers litigation to attain closure and some measure of justice. In Florida, the surviving family may believe they have a justifiable right to compensation for mental anguish and the loss of companionship and parental guidance. But unfortunately, the state has passed legislation that strictly limits who has the right to monetary compensation in a wrongful death caused by medical negligence.
Florida Wrongful Death Act
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, fiancés, legal partners, siblings, grandchildren, and other relatives do not have the right to recover damages for wrongful death. Florida statute narrowly defines “survivors” in malpractice wrongful death claims.
The law states that if the decedent was over the age of 25 at the time of their death and had no spouse or minor children, no other family members can seek damages by filing a malpractice claim. This means that only the decedent’s spouse and minor children (under the age of 25) can sue for wrongful death compensation.
Eligible survivors can seek money damages for losses such as:
- Mental anguish and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental guidance
- Value of lost services
- Lost economic support if the victim was gainfully employed
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and hospital expenses arising from the negligence
If you are considering filing a malpractice suit against a Florida hospital, our attorneys can determine the validity of a legal claim and the best course of action.
A hospital may be liable for malpractice committed by its employees under various scenarios. If the healthcare provider was performing their job-related duties when the injury occurred, patients could generally sue for hospital negligence. It might be possible for victims to sue a hospital if their injuries were caused by a non-employee doctor who worked as an independent contractor. However, it must be proven that the hospital knew or should have known the physician was incompetent.
Here are some examples of when patients may be able to sue for hospital negligence:
- Inadequate hiring and training practices (e.g., keeping staff with known substance abuse problems)
- Dangerous or negligent actions by hospital technicians and employees
- Mixing up patient records
- Injuries or infections caused by contaminated instruments
- Failure to disinfect dialysis machines and medical equipment
- Failure to collect the patient’s full medical history
- Poor hygiene and sanitation protocols
- Administering the wrong medication or incorrect dose
- Misdiagnosing an ailment
- Failing to order diagnostic tests
- Surgical mistakes
- ER negligence such as incorrect interpretation of lab tests
- Prescribing a medication that the patient is allergic to
From your initial consultation to final claim resolution, our lawyers will advocate for you on a no-win, no-fee basis, so there is no financial risk for seeking justice in a hospital negligence lawsuit.
Failure to Diagnose
Every year, some 100,000 Americans die or are permanently harmed due to a diagnosis that was either delayed or missed completely. A failure to diagnose is the basis of many medical malpractice claims in Florida.
The most obvious outcome is an undiagnosed condition getting markedly worse and untreatable. For instance, cancer that steadily spreads requiring more invasive treatment. A failure to timely diagnose may even affect the prognosis or level of recovery once the ailment is correctly identified. According to AARP, up to 80,000 people die annually in U.S. hospitals from diagnostic failures.
Data indicates the following conditions as the most missed diagnoses:
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pulmonary embolism
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Heart attack
- Brain hemorrhage
Medical Negligence Compensation in Florida
A medical malpractice claim in Florida can seek monetary compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Our law firm works diligently to document all losses–including past and future hardships–to maximize the value of your settlement or court award.
Economic damages may include but are not limited to:
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Lost income and wages
- Future medical costs such as physical therapy, surgery, medication, diagnostic tests, etc.
- Loss of earning potential
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the negligence
Victims of medical malpractice can also pursue compensation for less tangible losses, known as non-economic damages. After a debilitating injury, some of the most significant suffering is often hard to quantify. However, a loss of quality of life, emotional anguish, and the inability to perform activities that were once enjoyed are no less significant than lost income and wages. Fortunately, Florida no longer caps the amount of non-economic damages in medical negligence cases, allowing plaintiffs to seek full redress for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Diminished quality of life
Our malpractice lawyers can identify and track these losses through detailed investigations, documents, and depositions from medical experts, plaintiffs, and family.
Factors That Impact Non-Economic Damages
Every medical negligence case is unique. When assigning a monetary value to non-economic damages, the following factors will be considered:
- The plaintiff’s age at the time of the medical malpractice injury
- The severity of the injuries sustained
- How the malpractice has negatively impacted social relationships, family life, school, work, friendships, and the ability to enjoy normal daily activities
- How the injuries have impacted the over-all quality of life
How Kogan & DiSalvo Can Help
Boca Raton residents trust their medical negligence claims to Kogan & DiSalvo for many reasons. Our dedicated attorneys and support staff believe that legal victories are attained through meticulous preparation, hard work, and attention to detail. We are a boutique law firm that takes pride in offering personalized client support through each step of the legal process. We forge genuine relationships with our clients and leverage every resource to obtain the justice and compensation deserved.
Some key advantages of choosing our firm:
- We will evaluate your claim for free, with no obligation to proceed
- We will treat you with dignity, respect, and compassion
- We will answer your questions candidly and develop a sound legal strategy
- We will handle all communications with defendants and their insurers
- We will perform thorough investigations and collect supporting evidence
- We will submit all legal paperwork within statutory deadlines
- We will keep you informed throughout the claims process
- We have access to highly respected experts who can strengthen your case
- We will accurately calculate the value of your economic and non-economic losses
- We will prepare a solid case for trial and negotiate for a fair settlement
- We will not let powerful insurance companies take advantage of you
- We will argue your case before a jury if necessary
Statute of Limitations
Florida imposes a filing deadline, known as the statute of limitations, for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients generally have two years to take legal action. However, this deadline is tolled in situations where a hospital or medical provider actively tried to conceal their mistakes. In this scenario, a claimant would have two years from the date their injuries were discovered.
Failing to comply with the Florida statute of limitations leaves victims without recourse. Moreover, once the deadline expires, any claims for compensation would be dismissed by the courts. While a two-year window of opportunity for legal action seems like a lot of time, it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Delays can impact your path to financial, physical, and emotional recovery.
Will My Malpractice Case Go to Trial?
Most medical malpractice claims in Florida and throughout the country are resolved with settlement negotiations between plaintiffs and the defendant’s insurance company. The U.S. Bureau of Justice reports that jurors decide less than 8 percent of medical negligence lawsuits. If your case is not resolved with settlement negotiations, our board-certified trial attorneys are prepared to champion your rights.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Boca Raton Trusts
If you have been injured and believe it is due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, you need a qualified Boca Raton medical malpractice attorney to protect your interests. We’ve helped many Palm Beach families fight for justice. These claims are highly complex, time-consuming, and require a deep understanding of medical malpractice statutes in Florida. Explore your options for legal recourse without risk. Reach out for a free case evaluation today. There are no fees unless we win or settle your case.