Understanding Florida’s Medical Malpractice Laws
You may trust your doctor to provide you with the best health care possible, but you should be wary. Medical errors are quite common, accounting for at least 250,000 deaths every year. Many more are seriously injured by the negligence and reckless behavior of medical staff.
However, medical malpractice claims are hard to fight and win. They require that specific rules be followed. There needs to be a significant amount of evidence showing that the doctor was negligent. There also needs to be a serious injury or death involved. A minor injury resulting in little harm will likely be thrown out of court. The average payout for a medical malpractice claim, if the victim wins, is roughly $300,000, although some win millions of dollars in extreme cases.
Elements of Medical Malpractice
Not every medical error can be considered malpractice. A valid medical malpractice claim must include the following elements:
- Breach of duty. Every doctor must meet or exceed the standard of care when treating patients. This is determined by an expert witness, or a doctor who is in the same medical field. If your doctor did something they should not have done, or they failed to take a certain action that a doctor in the same situation would have done, then they have breached their duty.
- Proximate causation. The doctor’s breach of duty must have directly caused your injury. This means you must have proof that you would not have been injured had the doctor not made a mistake.
- Damages. The mistake must have led to damages. There has to be a significant, long-term injury involved. Medical malpractice claims are very expensive to initiate, so there needs to be a lot at stake. The mistake must have led to severe physical and/or emotional injuries.
Filing a Claim
Like other personal injury claims, medical malpractice claims have statute of limitations. This means that you must file the claim within the time limit or else it will be deemed invalid. Each state has a different statute of limitations for each type of personal injury. In Florida, you have two years to file a medical malpractice claim. The clock starts ticking on the date of the injury or the date which you determine you were injured.
There are two main types of damages you can seek in a claim: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to quantifiable expenses or losses that can be calculated, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intangible losses. They may include pain and suffering, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Personal Injury Case
Medical malpractice is common and can result in serious injury or even death. Don’t let a nurse or doctor get away with their actions. Hold them responsible for the damages they have caused you.
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to handle alone. Get effective representation from the Tampa medical malpractice lawyers at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. You can claim medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement and other damages. Find out more by scheduling a free consultation. Call our office at (813) 803-6518 or fill out the online form.