What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs if a hospital, doctor, nurse or other health care professional provided you with substandard care by failing to properly diagnose your condition or treat it appropriately, resulting in complications, damage or serious injuries.
Malpractice can occur either through an act or an omission. An act is an action taken by the medical professional that results in damage to the patient. An omission, on the other hand, is when the professional does not perform an action that is necessary to properly treat the patient. In either case, the professional is liable for the damages which are caused by his or her negligence.
Four Elements Must Be Proven
You must prove there was:
- Patient/doctor relationship: You must be able to prove that you had a physician-patient relationship with that specific doctor.
- Breach of duty of care: Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to their patients to meet the prevailing standard of care in their industry. To breach this duty of care, the medical professional must act in a manner inconsistent with how a similarly trained medical professional would have acted in the situation.
- Causation of injury: The medical professional’s breach of duty, whether it be an action or a failure to act, must have caused the patient’s injury.
- Damages: It must be shown that the injury resulted in damages to the patient. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity or pain and suffering.
Who Can Sue
The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case is usually the victim of the malpractice. In some cases, another party can be designated to represent the victim, for example, if the victim is a child or has a mental impairment. If the victim has died as a result of malpractice, the executor of the victim’s estate can sue the medical professional for wrongful death.
When You May Sue
There are legal limitations on the amount of time that can pass between the victim suffering injury due to medical malpractice and initiating a lawsuit against the professional responsible for that malpractice.
In Florida, the statute requires a victim to sue within two years of the date on which he or she discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury. There are a few exceptions, so it is best to consult with a lawyer before your case gets near the deadline.
Medical Malpractice Damages
- Medical expenses: The cost of hospital or doctor visits, medication, therapy and more.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity: If the injury forces the victim to miss time at work, damages may include loss of wages or future ability to earn wages.
- Pain and suffering, loss of the ability to enjoy life, loss of consortium and more: Victims may receive compensation for the physical and emotional pain they endure due to their medical malpractice injuries.
- In some cases, such as permanent injuries, spouses may also be compensated for the loss of the victim’s companionship or affection.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice That You May Have Encountered
- Misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis: A medical professional may fail to diagnose an illness or injury accurately, or fail to diagnose the issue in a reasonable time period.
- Surgery errors: A surgeon may cause additional damage while operating, or nursing staff may fail to provide adequate postoperative care.
- Medication errors: A prescribing doctor may incorrectly write the prescription drug choice or dosage, or a nurse may fail to administer a prescribed medication.
- Anesthesiology errors: An anesthesiologist may use anesthesia erroneously or err in monitoring the patient’s vital signs, in the intubation of a patient, or in the use of faulty equipment.
- Failure to warn a patient of known risks: Doctors must warn patients of the known risks of a specific treatment or procedure beforehand, the failure to do so may be malpractice or battery.
- Childbirth issues: A medical professional may misdiagnose issues in prenatal care or fail to make a diagnosis, despite symptoms indicating an illness or complication. The doctor may also make mistakes during the birth itself.
- Other common situations include:
– Errors in the emergency room
– Problems with a medical device
– Improper treatment
– Postoperative negligence
– Hospital errors
Whether you or a loved one were the victims of medical malpractice or negligence at a hospital, doctor’s office or emergency room, our team of lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Why Eastmoore Crauwels & DuBose?
Medical professionals and their insurers are experts, so you need an expert on your side as well.
The Attorneys At Eastmoore Crauwels & DuBose Will:
- Meet with you to discuss your injuries, your treatment and review the information about your case.
- Discuss your legal rights and your options, and help you determine whether to take legal action.
- Collect evidence about your claim to support your case and help find expert witnesses.
- Determine the value of your claim through research and experience, and find out which parties are potentially liable for your injuries – for example, doctors, hospitals or nurses.
- Navigate statutory and procedural rules concerning medical malpractice cases.