Understanding Medical Malpractice Law in Florida
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider makes a mistake that injures a patient. However, not all mistakes constitute medical malpractice. Only mistakes that rise to the level of negligence meet the definition of medical malpractice. Specifically, if the healthcare provider violates the standard of care in treating a patient, then that constitutes negligence.
What Is the “Standard of Care”?
The prevailing standard of care is that level of care, treatment and skill that similar healthcare providers recognize as appropriate and acceptable. In other words, if most doctors in the state perform a medical procedure in a certain way then that method would meet the prevailing standard of care.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Florida Medical Malpractice Law?
The statute of limitations (the statutory deadline) for filing your medical malpractice claim is two years from when you knew or should have known that an injury occurred because of a negligent medical error. Unless there are extenuating circumstances you cannot file a claim more than four years after the medical malpractice took place.
There are three types of damages that may be awarded in medical malpractice cases: economic, noneconomic and punitive. Economic damages refer to medical expenses, lost wages and other easily quantifiable costs. Noneconomic damages are damages awarded for pain and suffering. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional, overturning a 2003 law that enacted such caps. Punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoing, which are only awarded if the patient can prove that the health care provider intended to cause harm.
Examples of Medical Malpractice Issues
There are many different forms of medical malpractice. Here are two real-life examples:
A woman who lives in Lake County recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against two doctors who allegedly failed to timely diagnose her pancreatic cancer. She claims that both past and future medical treatments could have been avoided had they diagnosed her sooner. She also claims that because of their error, she has a decreased chance of survival and a shorter life expectancy.
A Florida appeals court recently ordered a South Florida doctor to stop performing plastic surgery after one of his patients died during a liposuction and fat transfer procedure. This wasn’t the first time that officials had tried to stop the doctor from performing this procedure, known as a “Brazilian butt lift.” The doctor has also had several medical malpractice lawsuits filed against him, for this and other types of procedures.
If you have been injured because of a misdiagnosis, surgical error, or other medical mistake, then contact an experienced personal injury.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you might be entitled to damages. Contact an Orlando personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will help you determine whether you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Daytona and Bradenton areas.