People go to the doctor in an effort to get well or if they’re facing a medical emergency. However, what if the actions of a medical provider cause you more problems than they solve? In that case, you may be entitled to sue them for medical malpractice.
In Florida, there are specific laws that dictate when someone can sue for medical malpractice and what must be proven in order for the case to be successful. If you think you have a medical malpractice case, read on to understand how you can get compensation for the mistakes made by others.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
There are a variety of ways a healthcare professional can commit medical malpractice. It’s important to understand that even if a mistake was made by a medical professional, it may not constitute medical malpractice under the law.
The legal standard set forth in Florida for medical malpractice is met when you establish that you were owed what is called “duty of care”. You must show that it was breached, resulting in your injury.
Medical Malpractice Elements
The key to bringing a successful medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida is to prove the different elements of the case. You and your attorney must show that:
You Were Owed a Duty of Care
Anyone in the medical profession owes their patients a duty of care. In order to show this element, you have to provide evidence that you were their patient. That’s all that is needed to establish that they owed you a duty of care.
They Breached the Duty of Care
The next step in a successful medical malpractice case involves showing that the duty of care that has been established was breached. There are various ways duty of care is breached, such as:
- Failing to diagnose a medical condition
- Making an error when prescribing medication
- Not diagnosing you correctly
- Delays in surgery that are unreasonable to treat your condition
Harm Was Done When Duty of Care Was Breached
The final element that must be shown in court: harm was done to you by the medical professional’s breach of their duty of care.
In order to bring a medical malpractice case, you must be able to show that actual harm occurred. Usually, this is a physical issue such as nerve damage, loss of the use of a limb, or something equally as harmful.
What Evidence Do You Need?
You need a lot of evidence to be successful in a medical malpractice case, as it’s needed to prove the elements discussed above. The type of evidence you and your attorney will need includes things such as:
- Any correspondence you had with your healthcare provider
- Any correspondence you had with your insurance company
- Any medical invoices or bills related to the matter
- Testimony from other medical experts
- Documentation of your medical care
- Prescriptions you were given
- Any tests you had done, such as scans or x-rays
- Photos of your condition
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are many cases that have been successful in pursuing damages related to medical malpractice. The types of cases that are successful meet all the elements and include things such as:
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Injuries that occurred while admitted to the hospital
- Delayed or missed diagnosis
You must be able to show in your case that any injuries you received were due to the breach of the medical professional. This is known as the proximate cause.
Evidence must link negligence on behalf of the person who treated you and your injuries. This basically shows that, if the mistake or mishandling had not occurred, you would not be injured.
If you are considering bringing a medical malpractice claim, you should act as quickly as possible. The law only allows a certain amount of time to pass before you lose the ability to sue.
In the state of Florida, you have two years from the date of the injury, or the date you reasonably found that you were injured, to file a suit.
If you were injured due to medical malpractice, don’t be intimidated. These cases may be complicated, but they are not unwinnable. You can prevail if you were harmed through the actions of a trusted medical provider.
Remember, you were owed a duty to receive care, and if that duty was breached, you are owed compensation for that as well. Understand your rights and take action.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.