A Comprehensive Guide to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

A Comprehensive Guide to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical negligence and medical errors cause thousands of injuries and deaths each year. When a patient is harmed because of a medical provider’s negligence, intentional torts, or other wrongful acts, they may have a claim for damages. Medical malpractice lawsuits allow patients to seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and financial losses caused by a healthcare provider.

Our Ocala medical malpractice lawyers discuss medical malpractice lawsuits in this guide. We offer free consultations so that you can receive additional information.

What Do I Have To Prove for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

The patient has the burden of proving their case to recover compensation for a medical malpractice claim. The elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit are:

  • You had a provider-patient relationship that created a professional duty of care for the healthcare professional
  • The person made an error or mistake that a competent, reasonable person similarly trained would not have made (i.e., breach of duty)
  • The failure to meet the medical standard of care caused you harm
  • You incurred damages and injuries because of the healthcare professional’s conduct

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated cases. If you cannot prove that the provider’s negligence or errors caused you harm, you are unlikely to receive money for your claim. You must prove the doctor was negligent AND the negligence resulted in harm to you.

What Is the Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case?

What Do I Have To Prove for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

The medical standard of care is defined in Florida’s medical malpractice laws. The standard of care is the level of treatment, skill, and care for the circumstances that is recognized as appropriate and acceptable by similar healthcare providers who are reasonably prudent.

All medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. The standard of care differs depending on the circumstances. You must have medical experts to establish the standard of care that should have been used in your case and how the medical provider failed to meet that standard of care.

Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims

Doctors, hospitals, nurses, and other healthcare providers may cause harm to a patient by:

  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a medical condition
  • Prescribing the incorrect medication and/or dose of medication
  • Leaving a surgical tool or foreign object inside a patient during surgery
  • Misinterpreting lab results and diagnostic tests
  • Failing to order diagnostic tests and/or refer the patient to a specialist
  • Not obtaining a patient’s complete medical history 
  • Failing to provide adequate follow-up instructions and treatment
  • Operating on the incorrect body part
  • Mistakes and errors during labor and delivery causing birth injuries
  • Failing to explain the risks and alternatives to obtaining informed consent
  • Mistakes made with anesthesia

Whether you have a claim depends on many factors. The best way to know if you should file a medical malpractice lawsuit is to consult an Ocala medical malpractice attorney.

What Damages Are Available for a Medical Malpractice Claim in Florida?

Medical malpractice can result in severe injuries, permanent impairments, and death. The consequences of medical errors and negligence can include the need for additional medical treatments or corrective surgery. You may require long-term personal and/or nursing care.

The damages caused by medical malpractice include monetary losses and expenses (i.e., economic damages) and your pain and suffering (i.e., non-economic damages). Examples of the damages in a medical malpractice case include:

  • The cost of past and future medical care, including surgeries, doctor’s bills, hospitalizations, rehabilitation, and more
  • Physical discomfort and pain
  • Diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
  • The loss of income, including benefits, earning capacity, and lost wages
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including household services and personal care
  • Scarring, disfigurement, disability, and impairment
  • Families may be entitled to wrongful death damages if medical malpractice causes the death of their loved one

At one time, Florida capped the amount you could receive for non-economic damages. Your pain and suffering was worth no more than about $500,00. However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. You can now seek compensation for the full amount of your economic losses and the total value of your non-economic damages.

How Much Is My Medical Malpractice Case Worth?

The value of your damages depends on the facts of your case. The factors that can affect how much your case is worth include:

  • The type of injuries you sustained because of the medical malpractice
  • The severity of permanent impairments or disabilities
  • The amount of your financial losses and damages
  • Whether you can return to work or perform any activity to earn income
  • The strength of the evidence in your case
  • The duration of your recovery period
  • The types of treatments you had to endure because of the malpractice
  • The extent to which the injuries impact your quality of life

Putting a price on pain and suffering damages is often the most challenging element of determining the value of a medical malpractice claim. Your attorney may retain experts to assist in valuing your present and future damages, including financial professionals, vocational experts, medical specialists, economists, and personal care experts.

Deadlines for Filing Claims of Medical Malpractice in Florida

In most cases, the Florida statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years. You must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the date of the malpractice or lose your right to pursue a claim.

There are exceptions for some situations. For example, if you do not discover the malpractice within two years, you could have up to two years from the date you discovered the malpractice to file a lawsuit. However, you have no more than four years from when the malpractice occurred to file a lawsuit.

Talking with an attorney as soon as possible is always a good idea. An attorney can calculate the statute of limitations to determine the deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida.

How Can a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help Me With a Claim?

Medical malpractice claims are complex personal injury cases. A comprehensive investigation must be completed before you file a lawsuit. Expert witnesses must be consulted during the pre-suit process. Unlike other personal injury cases, the parties you sue will be given 90 days’ notice to investigate your claim before you can file a lawsuit.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer understands these requirements. They also have the resources to hire experts and investigate the claim to gather the evidence necessary to prepare a lawsuit. Without the work up front to obtain expert opinions to support your claim, your medical malpractice lawsuit may never move past the pre-suit stage.

Get Help With a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit From Our Ocala Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If your doctor or health care provider caused you harm or injury, we want to help. Contact the Allen Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (352) 351-3258 for a free consultation with an Ocala medical malpractice attorney. We fight to hold negligent medical providers responsible when they cause harm to patients.