Medical malpractice can cause devastating physical injuries, crushing financial debt, emotional trauma, mental anguish, and death. If you are a victim of medical malpractice in South Florida, you may have the right to sue for current and future expenses and other economic and non-economic damages.
A Delray Beach medical malpractice lawyer who has successfully settled or tried many malpractice lawsuits can give you the guidance you need to proceed. Our skilled personal injury attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo offer a free consultation to determine the likelihood that you can prevail in a lawsuit against a healthcare professional.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical professionals owe a duty to their patients to provide care according to the prevailing standards established by the medical community. Healthcare services not delivered under those standards, whether in diagnosing an illness or injury, treating it, or caring for it in follow-up treatments, can give rise to a medical malpractice claim–if the patient suffered harm due to that substandard care. Note that medical malpractice is not necessarily limited to licensed physicians.
Other medical service providers may also be liable for malpractice, including:
- Nurses and nurse practitioners who fail to follow a physician’s orders or who miss an issue that would otherwise be noticed within the professional nursing community.
- Pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies that deliver incorrect or harmful medications, particularly when a pharmacist fails to consider interactions of multiple drugs.
- Medical transporters and caregivers who carelessly allow a patient to fall and sustain injuries.
- Emergency medical technicians who fail to follow protocols for immediate treatment of illnesses or injuries.
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities, for example, that do not address contamination that sickens inpatients.
- X-Ray technicians
- Dentists, Endodontists, and Oral Surgeons
Contact a Delray Beach injury attorney if you are concerned that an illness or injury was not addressed properly by any individual or a healthcare services organization in South Florida.
Medical Specialties Most Likely to Be Targets of Malpractice Lawsuits
By one measure, physicians who focus their practices on obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health services are most likely to be a defendant in a medical malpractice claim, with up to 85% of those specialists being named in a lawsuit.
Other specialties that face a large number of malpractice cases include:
- Surgery (83%)
- Orthopedics (79%)
- Radiology (72%)
- Anesthesiology (58%)
- Internal Medicine (46%)
- Oncology and Cancer Treatment Services (34%)
Medical Malpractice Occurrences
A report in the British Medical Journal revealed that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Further, according to a 2015 Medscape Study, the three most common errors that account for almost three-fourths of all medical malpractice lawsuits are:
- Failure to correctly diagnose an illness.
- The patient suffered an abnormal injury as a consequence of substandard medical services.
- Medical professionals who failed to provide standard services for an injury or illness that was correctly diagnosed.
Other causes of medical malpractice lawsuits include poor or improper documentation and instructions to a patient, medication errors, failures to follow safety protocols, and lack of informed consent or improper procurement of consent to perform medical procedures.
What Does Medical Standard of Care Mean?
Medical professionals in Florida owe their patients a duty of care to provide services according to the same high standards established for their specific areas of practice. The Delray Beach medical malpractice lawyer you retain to file a lawsuit will establish that standard through expert testimony and affidavits from practitioners in the same field as the service provider or medical center that caused your injury.
A medical professional who violates the applicable duty of care will be liable for damages related to injuries that their patient has suffered –to the extent that the injuries were foreseeable and that malpractice was the proximate cause of the injury.
To recover damages, the patient is required to produce documents and information to verify their economic losses and expenses. Their attorney will also use that documentation to demonstrate future anticipated expenses. They will also elicit testimony from the patient and family members to show non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
Medical malpractice cases are highly technical. An attorney will almost certainly use expert witnesses to testify about the medical issues in language jurors can readily comprehend. The defendant may also use expert witnesses to present an alternate explanation. The party that proves their claims by a preponderance of evidence will prevail in the lawsuit.
When the malpractice and the patient’s injuries and losses are apparent, a medical service provider often prefers to settle the case out of court. To recover the largest available settlement award, patients should verify that their lawyer has experience negotiating with insurance carriers, which will inevitably attempt to minimize damages payments.
Do Not Hesitate to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney
According to Florida Civil Practice Rule 1.650, to proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit, an injured patient must:
- Serve a notice of intent to sue on all prospective defendants.
- Adhere to pre-suit discovery rules that allow the parties to gather information about the malpractice claim.
- Follow strict statute of limitation deadlines that coordinate with the timing of the pre-suit notice of intent to sue.
Their lawyer must also obtain an affidavit from a medical professional confirming that the patient’s injuries are connected to medical negligence.
Statute of Limitations
Florida gives injured patients two years from the date of the incident–or when the patient should have discovered the injury–to file a malpractice injury lawsuit. In all cases, your lawyer will need sufficient time to prepare a notice of intent to sue and to retain a medical expert who can provide the required affidavit.
You can give yourself the best opportunity to file the strongest claims when you retain a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you suspect that you have suffered injuries due to medical malpractice.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Kogan & DiSalvo
The Delray Beach medical malpractice attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo do not charge upfront attorney fees to represent injured patients in a medical malpractice case and do not charge if the suit is unsuccessful. We are paid for our legal services only at the end of each case. Our fees are recovered as a part of the damages paid by the negligent medical practitioner and their insurance carriers.
Please contact us today for a no-obligation, confidential, and complimentary discussion of the options available to you. We have offices in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and other locations to serve all of your legal needs. If you cannot meet us in our offices, our lawyers will be happy to meet you at your location at a time that is most convenient for you.