When we seek medical care, we expect that care to improve our physical condition, not worsen it. Unfortunately, instances of medical malpractice are common occurrences. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, hospital, nursing home, dentist, or other medical caregiver makes a mistake that results in patient deterioration. Medical malpractice is a reality across all medical practice areas and in every medical setting.
While each situation is unique, there are a few common categories of medical malpractice cases. For example, medical malpractice cases are frequently brought against medical providers who fail to properly diagnose a medical condition, fail to follow professionally accepted standard procedures, and fail to prevent infant injury at birth.
It is difficult to know exactly how many patients experience medical malpractice across the United States, or even in the state of Florida. Some social scientists argue that instances of medical malpractice are actually underreported because patients are either adverse to the litigation process or are not aware that they may be entitled to compensation for their injury.
The legal theory behind medical malpractice cases is based on the doctrine of negligence. In general, doctors have a duty to perform their job with an ordinary level of professional competence. In most jurisdictions, courts expect doctors to demonstrate the same skill and care of a reasonably competent practitioner in the field under the same circumstances.
Medical malpractice cases frequently rely on complex expert testimony. Because judges and jurors have little outside knowledge about medical procedures, they must rely on expert witnesses to tell them 1) what a competent practitioner in the field is expected to do under the same circumstances, and 2) whether or not the defendant medical care provider performed as a reasonably competent practitioner.
A successful plaintiff in a medical malpractice case may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. “Compensatory damages” are meant to compensate the plaintiff for costs incurred due to the malpractice. Compensatory damages frequently include additional medical bills, lost wages, payment for permanent physical disability, and some times emotional damages. “Punitive damages,” on the other hand, are intended to punish the medical care provider defendant, and they are only available when the defendant’s behavior is shockingly incompetent or intentionally damaging.
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.
If you or a loved one was injured by poor medical care, contact the South Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Anidjar & Levine. We offer a free initial consultation from our Fort Lauderdale offices, so call the firm today at (800) 747–FREE.