When we seek medical care, we expect that care to improve our physical condition, not worsen it. Unfortunately, this is not always how things go when you visit the doctor or receive treatment at a hospital or clinic. Medical malpractice occurs more frequently than you may realize. Patients suffer painful injuries, struggle to recover without proper care, and even die due to careless doctors.
At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, we understand how difficult it can be to recover from medical malpractice. You struggle to trust your current care providers, to recover from your injuries, and to fight to hold the negligent doctor liable for their actions. We can help you navigate the legal process and get the money you deserve.
How does medical malpractice happen?
Medical malpractice can occur in all medical practice areas and in any medical setting. A doctor, nurse, hospital, nursing home, dentist, or any other medical caregiver can make a mistake resulting in health concerns for the patient. If this mistake does not adhere to normal protocols by a caregiver with similar training, it may be malpractice.
While each situation is unique, there are a few common categories of medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice cases are frequently brought against medical providers who:
- Fail to properly diagnose a medical condition;
- Fail to follow professionally accepted standard procedures;
- Fail to prevent infant injury at birth;
- Prescribe the wrong drugs or fail to consider drug interactions; or
- Leave instruments inside a patient or make other surgical mistakes.
How can I recover compensation for medical malpractice in South Florida?
The legal theory behind medical malpractice cases is the doctrine of negligence. It takes an extraordinary level of education and specialized training to become a doctor and they have a duty to treat patients with a certain level of competence and care. In most jurisdictions, courts expect doctors to demonstrate the same skill and care as any reasonably competent practitioner with the same type of training would under the same circumstances.
If your doctor, nurse, or other care provider fails to uphold this duty and you suffer because of it, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is a specialized legal area and requires an attorney familiar with how the process works under Florida law. The best way to find out if you have a viable claim is to discuss your situation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
It is important to act quickly. Florida law gives you two years from the date you discovered the malpractice, or four years from the date it occurred, to file a claim for compensation. If the victim is younger than eight years old at the time of the injury this time limit typically does not apply.
What role does expert testimony play in a medical malpractice case?
Medical malpractice cases frequently rely on complex expert testimony. Because judges and jurors have little knowledge about medical procedures, they must rely on expert witnesses to tell them:
- What they could expect a competent practitioner in the field to do under the same circumstances; and
- Whether or not the defendant medical care provider performed as a reasonably competent practitioner.
Florida law requires that your attorney serve the doctor or hospital with a special notice before you can file a medical malpractice claim against them. As a part of this notice, another medical professional with a similar background practicing in the same general area must testify in writing that you have a valid claim for medical malpractice.
Once the doctor or hospital receives this notice and the affidavit from the expert witness, they have 90 days to offer a fair settlement. Often, we are able to reach a settlement to cover your financial losses, lost wages, ongoing care needs, and pain and suffering during this time period. If they refuse to negotiate a fair settlement, we can file a medical malpractice suit in a South Florida court to recover the compensation you deserve.
What type of damages can I recover in a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice claim?
There are three types of damages available in many Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice claims: economic, noneconomic, and punitive.
Economic and noneconomic damages are sometimes called compensatory damages, since they pay for the losses related to medical malpractice. Economic damages cover the expenses of medical treatment and provide compensation to make up for lost wages and other losses. Noneconomic damages are monetary awards to cover pain and suffering and other emotional injuries.
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the negligent medical professional or facility. Punitive damages are not available in all cases, but are often awarded when the practitioner acted intentionally or caused extraordinary harm due to their careless or incompetent actions.
There is a Florida law limiting some types of damages in medical malpractice cases. If your suit is against a medical practitioner, such as a doctor or hospital, there is a $500,000 cap on the amount of compensation you can collect for your noneconomic damages. This cap increases to $750,000 if the suit is against an unlicensed non-practitioner.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. The cap increases to $1,000,000 for families who file suit for a loved one who suffered injuries that left them in a vegetative state or resulted in their death. The court may also override this cap in the case of catastrophic injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your current health, and your future care needs, we can help you determine an estimated value for your case and consider which caps may apply to your claim. Then, we can use this knowledge to attempt to negotiate your maximum payout with the medical malpractice insurance company.
Do I need a lawyer to help with my malpractice claim?
An experienced medical malpractice attorney is vital to pursuing a claim after a medical error causes injury. Medical malpractice law frequently entails complex litigation, conflicting expert witness testimony, and tense negotiations with medical malpractice insurance companies.
Because medical malpractice is such a complicated area of law, the only way you can even be sure you have a viable claim is to discuss your situation with a medical malpractice attorney in Fort Lauderdale.
How can I contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries at the hands of an incompetent or careless medical care provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine. We offer a free initial consultation from our Fort Lauderdale offices. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a time to discuss your case and take the first steps toward getting you the compensation you deserve.