When you are injured or diagnosed with an illness, you trust that your doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider will not cause you to experience a preventable injury. Unfortunately, far too many patients suffer from life-changing injuries due to mistakes made by healthcare practitioners.
The Boynton Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo can hold the healthcare providers responsible for your injuries liable. We understand the financial, emotional, and other life-changing impacts medical malpractice can have, and we’ll fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice
The injured patient must prove that they were owed a duty of care by the defendant and that it was breached. They must prove that the doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider was negligent which resulted in direct harm to the patient.
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the standard of care was breached, they were harmed by the medical professional, and are entitled to damages, or compensation.
If your doctor made a minor error but you were not harmed, you do not have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Types of Medical Malpractice
The most common types of medical malpractice include:
- Surgical errors — The most well-known type of malpractice, many of these instances are shocking. Surgical errors include any mistake made during a surgical procedure that could qualify as malpractice, like leaving an instrument inside of a patient, operating on the wrong side of the body, removing the wrong body parts, etc.
- Anesthesia errors — Administering the wrong dosage of anesthesia can result in permanent brain damage or other severe repercussions.
- Failure to diagnose — When a doctor fails to properly diagnose a patient’s condition, the effects multiply as time passes. By the time the patient receives a correct diagnosis, it may prove too late to provide adequate treatment. This can lead to permanent health complications and even death.
- Misdiagnosis — An inaccurate diagnosis poses a similar threat to the failure to diagnose. The patient may end up receiving treatments that can harm them and are also vulnerable to time delays due to the progression of their actual issue.
However, a misdiagnosis only qualifies as medical malpractice if the physician performs at a sub-standard level of competency compared to other doctors of the same training level. The negligent physician effectively missed signs and symptoms that more capable doctors would recognize.
- Medication errors — When the doctor orders the wrong prescription medication, or the pharmacist fills the order incorrectly, serious and even fatal side effects may occur.
- Birth injuries — One of the most tragic consequences of medical malpractice involves babies permanently harmed by a doctor’s failure to test the fetus for certain birth defects. Avoidable birth defects also occur when mistakes are made during delivery.
Keep in mind that a medical malpractice case has a causal basis. For instance, a patient may have a case if their doctor misdiagnosed their condition. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as the patient ignoring their symptoms for a long time before seeking medical attention, the misdiagnosis may not be considered a causal factor if the condition was too far gone for treatment by the time the patient sought medical help.
Florida’s Negligence Statute of Limitations
Medical malpractice is a form of negligence, which is when someone acts with carelessness toward somebody else. The law demands that the medical practitioner use the care that a competent medical professional would use treating the same condition. If that does not happen, it is a breach of the law.
The medical malpractice lawyer in Boynton Beach will explore how and why the medical mistake caused the injury, and if the injury was foreseeable. The lawyer will also pursue compensation for the victim’s additional medical care and other damages, be they for expenses incurred or for compensating emotional, physical, and mental consequences.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is generally two years from the date the alleged medical malpractice took place or from the date of its discovery. Because valuable evidence may vanish and the memories of witnesses may fade, it is essential to hire legal counsel as soon as possible.
Before filing a medical malpractice claim, your attorney must obtain an affidavit from a medical professional stating that your injury or illness involved a medical error. The attorney then notifies the healthcare provider that they are filing litigation in the matter. Defendants must respond to the notice within 90 days.
Medical malpractice cases are less likely to be settled than other types of personal injury cases. If a settlement has not been negotiated once the 90-day period ends, the plaintiff and their lawyer have the right to file the medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Damages
Potential damages in a medical malpractice case include economic and non-economic damages. Proving the former is relatively straightforward, as there are numbers available. The latter is more subjective, and that affects damage awards.
Economic malpractice damages include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
There is no cap in Florida for economic damages.
Non-economic malpractice damages include:
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Under Florida law, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000 under most circumstances. If the malpractice involved the patient’s death, resulting in a wrongful death lawsuit, or remaining in a permanent vegetative state, the cap increases to $1 million.
Calculating Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Calculating the damages in medical malpractice cases depends on various factors, and each case is unique.
Major factors include:
- Injury severity (primary determinant)
- How the injury impacts daily life
- Future prognosis
- Pre-existing conditions
One common way to calculate non-economic damages is by taking the economic damages and multiplying them between 2 and 5. A patient whose economic damages are relatively low and may be able to work again will not receive the same non-economic damages as the patient who can no longer support themselves because of their injury.
Contacting a Boynton Beach Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured due to the negligence of medical personnel, you need the services of a Boynton Beach personal injury lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. We serve all of Palm Beach County. We will examine your case, advise you of all your legal options, and discuss with you the best steps going forward.