Patients expect and deserve high-quality care from the nurses, physicians, and specialists they entrust with their health and wellness. Sometimes, patients find themselves worse off than they were before, due to the healthcare provider’s negligence. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you are entitled to compensation.
After a medical mistake, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we assess your case and immediately begin gathering the evidence needed to build a convincing case. En Español.
Medical Errors Caused by Negligence
Medical negligence happens when a healthcare provider fails to provide the accepted standard of care. This standard can be described as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the patient’s injury.
Medical negligence is the failure to uphold that standard of care. When a healthcare provider’s negligence causes serious health complications, that injured patient can bring a claim against the provider and possibly their employer.
Serious medical errors can cause enormous suffering:
- Impairment of oxygen flow to the brain
- Damage to internal organs
- Shortening of life expectancy
Wrongful Death from Medical Negligence
When you bring a loved one to the hospital, you don’t imagine them never coming home. But a study from Johns Hopkins found that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S, leading to more than 250,000 deaths every year. In cases where an individual is killed by a physician’s negligence, the victim’s loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit to compensate them for their emotional trauma related to their loss.
Medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits offer injured patients and their loved ones the chance to pursue financial compensation. They also hold medical professionals accountable under the law, helping to make medical treatments, medications, and procedures safer for everyone.
Most Common Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical negligence takes many forms. Malpractice lawsuits are filed for a wide range of different medical errors. Here are some of the most common.
- Medication errors: including improper medication, wrong dosage, and dangerous drug interactions
- Misdiagnosis/failure to diagnose: overlooking symptoms, missing or delaying a diagnosis, misinterpreting labs and imaging tests that prevent an accurate diagnosis
- Failure to treat: when a correct diagnosis is not followed by proper treatment, causing the condition to worsen
- Surgical mistakes: nerve damage, operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical items in the patient, creating an incision in the wrong location, and too much or too little anesthesia
- Birth injuries: injuries to the mother or baby before, during, or after labor and delivery
Why Do Medical Mistakes Happen?
Even with their extensive education, training, and clinical experience, nurses, physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare are still capable of mistakes.
In fact, medical malpractice is incredibly common. According to a recent article published in the National Library of Medicine, “medical errors and preventable adverse events are a global problem.”
But why are so many patients at risk?
Medical errors happen because of:
- Provider burnout leaving healthcare staff overworked and overtired
- Technical failures with computers, equipment, and medical devices
- Poor communication between patients, providers, and other members of the care team
- Medical testing errors including ordering the wrong tests and misinterpreting the results
- Lack of proper training, procedures, and policies that focus on preventing mistakes
- Patients withholding information about their symptoms, medications, and health history
To determine if your situation meets the threshold for malpractice under Florida law, schedule a free case review with a medical negligence lawyer in West Palm Beach at your earliest convenience.
Types of Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
In a successful malpractice claim, damages are awarded to reflect the physical, emotional, and monetary impact of medical negligence.
Possible damages that can be won in medical malpractice cases include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost income and earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (relationships with loved ones)
It is not just physicians who can be found liable for these damages. Patients are sometimes injured by the negligence of nurses, technicians, and hospital personnel.
It’s also possible to sue the practice, clinic, or hospital system they represent. Under the law, these healthcare facilities are vicariously responsible for any harm their staff commit on the job.
This principle of vicarious liability allows injured parties the ability to recover higher compensation from hospitals and other entities who have more financial resources than a single provider would. To build a case to help maximize such damages, it is imperative that an individual consult with a West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer.
Proving Negligence in a Medical Negligence Cases
It is important to note that adverse patient outcomes do not always mean malpractice. Unfortunately, even with the highest level of patient care, certain health problems cannot be healed or reversed entirely.
Under Florida law, in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the injured party has “the burden of proving by the greater weight of evidence that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider.” That standard of care is the metric used to determine negligence in Florida.
The injured party must produce compelling evidence that the level of care in their case did not meet the standard for the profession. Gathering such evidence is difficult and time-consuming, so the process must begin quickly after the injury happens.
Getting a thorough medical examination is the most important part of that process so that a record can be established of just how much harm was done to the patient. This information can be utilized by a skilled medical malpractice lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Florida’s Statue of Limitations
Florida limits the time victims have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In most cases, the statute of limitations to file a claim is two years from the date injuries were discovered. When harm is not immediately discoverable, that limit extends to four years.
There are a few exceptions to this deadline. If the medical provider engaged in fraud or concealment, the victim has an additional two years to file a claim (unless it has been more than seven years since malpractice occurred.)
Because children’s minds and bodies are still developing, certain health problems may not be apparent until months or years after the initial trauma. For that reason, Florida allows medical malpractice claims for up to two years after discovering injuries until the child is eight years old.
Benefits of a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Patients who have been physically and emotionally harmed by medical malpractice in West Palm Beach have rights under Florida law. We are here to protect those rights and pursue justice under the law.
We handle all the details of your case from investigation to gathering evidence and hiring expert medical witnesses. As a team, we work to build the strongest case possible for compensation. We want you to have peace of mind knowing your case is in good hands—so you can focus on your recovery.
It’s not easy to go up against medical experts and their employers. Physicians and hospitals face lawsuits constantly, so they are likely to already have a team of lawyers on their side. You need an experienced West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney fighting for your interests. We refuse to back down when it comes to protecting our clients. Do not let another day go by without consulting a legal representative.