Physicians need years of extensive training and supervision with patient care to be licensed in Florida. This fact can lull many patients into a false sense of security when it comes to their medical care. Unfortunately, when a doctor makes a mistake, the results can be devastating or even deadly.
Patients hold doctors to high standards, yet they make mistakes on the job just like any other profession. The National Practitioner Data Bank reports that there are between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths annually linked to medical malpractice in Florida alone.
If you were impacted by a medical error, you could find a dedicated ally in a knowledgeable Florida medical malpractice lawyer. With a skilled personal injury attorney’s help, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for the pain, suffering, and financial costs you experienced. En Español.
Damage Caps are Unconstitutional in Florida
Some states limit the amount of compensation that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case may receive. Previously, Florida Statutes §766.118 placed a $1,000,000 cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.
However, in June 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that these caps unfairly reduce compensation for victims who have the most serious injuries. Therefore, the Court struck down limits on any non-economic damages related to medical malpractice.
Defining Medical Malpractice Under Florida Law
Fla. Stat. §766.102 defines medical malpractice—also known as medical negligence—as a breach of the “prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider.” The professional standard of care is what is “recognized as acceptable and reasonably prudent by similar healthcare providers.”
According to the same statute, plaintiffs and their Florida medical malpractice attorneys hold the burden of proof in any lawsuit against a doctor they accuse of causing them harm. Specifically, they must prove that the medical provider breached the standard of care for their field. If this breach did not cause injury or the injury was minor and did not cause damages, the case would not have legal standing for negligence.
Circumstances Resulting in Medical Malpractice
Examples of circumstances that a medical malpractice attorney in Florida may be able to help with include but are not limited to:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Hospital-acquired infections
- Birth injuries
- Overprescribing or under prescribing medications
- Performing surgery on the wrong limb or wrong site
- Leaving a surgical instrument in a patient
Patients who have doubts about the medical care they received should contact a qualified Florida medical malpractice lawyer to find out if they have a valid claim. They could discover that they are entitled to compensation.
Statutory Time Limits to File Medical Malpractice Claims
Known as the statute of limitations, Fla. Stat. §95.11 gives potential plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases two years to file their lawsuit. This two-year period begins upon discovery of the injury or when the victim reasonably should have discovered it. However, no more than four years can elapse in total from the date of the malpractice before the victim files the case in court, or they may be time-barred from filing.
Consult with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
Patients who fall victim to negligence on the part of a physician may require years of therapies, medications, or even additional surgeries. Simply recovering from these injuries requires a lot of time and energy, which means this process can be physically and mentally draining—not to mention expensive.
If you hire a Florida medical malpractice lawyer to stand up for your rights and protect your legal interests, you could focus on healing instead of legal details. To ensure you file your case within the mandated timeframe, call today for a case consultation.