Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Florida
Have you suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to healthcare practitioner negligence? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers in Florida can help you recover maximum damages. Searcy Denney is a personal injury firm in Florida with more than 40 years of experience fighting for malpractice victims. If you or a loved one were hurt because of doctor, nurse, hospital, or pharmaceutical error, contact us today to discuss your legal rights and options for recovery with a skilled Florida medical malpractice attorney.
Medical Malpractice Facts and Statistics
In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins published a study which revealed medical malpractice as the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Medical mistakes account for more than 250,000 deaths annually, and countless more patients needlessly suffer injuries, illnesses and complications as a result of emergency room and hospital errors each year. These are alarming numbers, and they help demonstrate the importance of taking legal action when you suspect that negligence is to blame for your medical condition or your loved one’s untimely death.
Why? While medical malpractice lawsuits provide much-needed compensation for victims and their families, they also help in the fight against the enormous human and financial costs of medical mistakes. The more physicians, hospitals, and other practitioners and facilities are held responsible for their mistakes, the more likely they are to exercise greater care when treating patients in the future. Most forms of medical malpractice are fairly simple: misdiagnosing a patient’s condition, administering too much or too little medication, using too much force during birth and delivery. However, the consequences can be devastating, and patients who suffer due to medical malpractice deserve to receive full and fair compensation for their doctors’ mistakes.
Medical Malpractice Claims Our Firm Handles
Many time patients mistakenly believe that negligence or an error made by a doctor, surgeon or hospital, in general, are the only instances where they can recover in a claim. Though those are some of the most common medical malpractice claims, a Florida medical malpractice attorney from our firm can also assist with:
Medication errors in hospitals are another form of medical negligence that occur with alarming frequency. If you or a loved one has suffered due to an inappropriate prescription, negative drug interaction, overdose or underdose, medication mix-up, or other medication-related medical mistake, our lawyers can help you seek just compensation.
Medication-related errors are common in the outpatient setting as well. When pharmacists fail to check patients’ medical histories, fail to consider negative drug interactions, mix up patients’ medications, improperly fill prescriptions, and make other dangerous mistakes, patients who suffer as a result deserve to be fully compensated for their ensuing losses.
Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Negligence
Like hospitals and other medical facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal obligation to provide professional care for their residents. Medication errors, inadequate staffing, employment of unqualified caregivers, improper use of medical devices and restraints, resident abandonment, and various other forms of negligence can have life-threatening consequences, and residents who suffer due to inadequate care deserve a chance at a better life.
Proving Medical Errors in Florida
You know your doctor made a mistake and you know you have suffered injuries. The next step is understanding that your Florida medical malpractice attorney will need to meet the strict legal burdens to recover compensation for the medical negligence.
What Your Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Need to Prove
To prevail on a medical malpractice claim, you must prove each element. Regardless of whether you are suing a doctor, specialist, nurse, hospital, lab or another medical professional or entity, the basic elements are the same:
- Your medical provider owed you a legal duty of care
- An act or omission by the medical provider did not conform to the accepted standard of care
- The deviation from the accepted standard of care constituted a breach of duty to you
- The breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your injuries
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries
Understanding Direct and Proximate Cause
Proving that your doctor made a grave error is not enough, nor is proving you are injured. You must also show that your doctor caused your injuries. Our attorneys clearly and definitively link your doctor’s actions of omissions to the injuries you sustained.
The defense often tries to break this crucial link by claiming your injuries were pre-existing, caused by an intervening event or simply unrelated to the doctor’s mistake. Our lawyers anticipate these tactics and immediately lay the groundwork for disproving the defense’s assertions.
Accepted Standard of Care
Your medical provider is held to an accepted standard of care of a similarly situated professional. For example, your orthopedic surgeon would be expected to act in accordance with the credentials, knowledge and skills generally demanded of orthopedics. However, your family doctor would not be expected to possess the intricate knowledge and skills of an orthopedic specialist, but would be expected to have more general medical knowledge.
We consult with respected specialists about what constitutes an accepted standard of care within the relevant occupation. In consultation with these experts, our attorneys prove the standards within the particular profession and the manner in which your doctor fell short of those standards.
In order to collect compensation, you must prove the losses you suffered or will suffer in the future. Putting a price tag on your pain, suffering, disabilities, disfigurement and loss of the enjoyment of your life may seem impossible. We recognize that no dollar amount can replace what you truly lost.
However, every Florida medical malpractice attorney at our firm is highly skilled in calculating the legal damages you are entitled to for your losses. We consider every factor that could render a higher settlement or verdict.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Accomplished Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
For more information about filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Florida medical malpractice attorney at Searcy Denney. To request an appointment at either our West Palm Beach or Tallahassee office, please call us at 800-780-8607, or send us your contact information and we will be in touch as soon as possible.
What do I need to prove in order to establish a claim for medical malpractice in Florida?
Under Florida law, there are five basic elements to a legal claim for medical malpractice. In order to establish that you are entitled to financial compensation, you must prove:
- Your medical provider owed you a legal duty of care;
- An act or omission by the medical provider did not conform to the accepted standard of care;
- The deviation from the accepted standard of care constituted a breach of duty to you;
- The breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your injuries; and,
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries.
You can learn more about the elements of a Florida medical malpractice claim here: Proving Medical Errors in Florida.
What compensation is available for illnesses, injuries and complications resulting from medical malpractice?
The types of compensation available in medical malpractice cases are the same regardless of the type of error, type of medical provider, and type of illness or injury involved. In many cases, patients’ ongoing medical expenses will represent one of the largest portions (if not the largest portion) of their financial recovery. However, other financial losses – including lost earning capacity and out-of-pocket expenses – are recoverable as well, and victims can also obtain compensation for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and various other forms of non-financial harm.
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may initially seem. Under Florida law, a patient must file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the date that the malpractice, “is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.” However:
“[I]n no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday.”
In other words, in most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date on which the malpractice occurs. However, this can be extended up to four years if the malpractice is not immediately discoverable, and parents can file claims for birth injuries until their child’s eighth birthday. To avoid losing your rights or making mistakes that could jeopardize your claim, we strongly encourage you to consult a medical malpractice attorney in Florida as soon as possible.