Can I file a lawsuit for medical malpractice?
Those in the medical profession are mere mortals, and like all of us, they can make mistakes. They don’t do this deliberately, and their intention is not to purposefully injure patients. But they are human beings who make errors, and often those errors are the consequence of factors which they have control over. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes give an inaccurate diagnosis or poorly execute their procedures or treatment, resulting in severe injuries or even death. If this has happened to you, you need to stand up for your rights, address the incident and hold the medical professional accountable so the practice does not continue and harm is not done to others.
Malpractice occurs when a healthcare worker, doctor or surgeon makes a mistake that injures a patient. In order to bring a claim, you will have to prove the doctor was negligent (meaning that his actions fell below the standard of care) and that the negligence caused the injury or death.
Examples of potential medical malpractice claims involve the following:
- Childbirth Injuries
- Failure to Diagnose
- Emergency Room Errors
- Hospital Malpractice
- Medication Errors
- Failure to Diagnose
- Negligent Prenatal Care
- Spinal Cord Injuries/Paralysis
- Surgical Mistakes
- Unnecessary Surgery
- Anesthesia errors
In 2016, Johns Hopkins Hospital published the results of a study on medical negligence and estimated that medical errors result in 250,000 deaths each year. This estimate ranks medical malpractice as the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. However, according to another study by Johns Hopkins in 2013, it was estimated that only 1% of all adverse medical incidents actually result in malpractice claims or lawsuits. There could be a number of reasons for this. Perhaps people do not know that their bad medical result might have been caused by malpractice. Some people may not even know they have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim if there was negligence.
It is important to know that malpractice claims can be very complicated and are very expensive to pursue. There are also a number of hoops to jump through before you can obtain a successful outcome. The first thing to know is there are deadlines (statutes of limitation) to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida law requires that you must file the lawsuit within two years of the malpractice. There is an exception to this limitation, but it is best to move forward under the presumption that you only have 2 years to file.
You must also serve a notice of intent to sue on the health care provider before you can file a lawsuit. This requires you to file an affidavit from a medical professional (referred to as an expert) stating that there was medical malpractice and that you have a valid claim. Once you file this notice, a 90-day timeframe begins where the statute of limitations is tolled. If the health care provider indicates earlier than 90 days that it does not wish to settle, then you generally have 60 days to file a lawsuit. There are some exceptions to this timeframe.
Florida’s medical malpractice statutes are very complicated and it is critical that you hire an experienced malpractice attorney as soon as possible to properly preserve your claim. I have had a number of clients call my office who appeared to have a good claim, but I could not help them because the statute of limitations had already passed.
At Jeff Murphy Law, we understand the medical malpractice laws and the critical deadlines and procedures that apply before you can file a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the negligence of a medical care provider, call us today for a free consultation.