Medical malpractice is the legal term for an injury caused by a hospital or doctor failing to use due care in their treatment of a patient. Medical malpractice can occur in many forms, from an incorrect diagnosis or omission in care to a more obvious mistake made during a surgery or treatment.
Medical mistakes are frighteningly common. In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration estimated that approximately 7,000 patients die per year in hospitals as a result of medical negligence.
If your injury was the result of negligence or an omission by a health care professional, you may be legally entitled to compensation from the person or facility responsible.
A St. Petersburg medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in exercising your right to recover for your injuries. Call today to discuss your case with an injury attorney in St. Petersburg.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
Medical malpractice claims often involve a great deal of negotiating and communicating with the sophisticated insurance companies who represent health care providers in these types of claims.
If you do not have a firm understanding of the many laws affecting your right to recover, you may be convinced to accept a settlement offer far lower than the amount you are legally entitled to recover as a result of your injury.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in St. Petersburg will ensure you are fully informed of all relevant laws relating to your claim, will negotiate on your behalf in settlement discussions, and can assist you in presenting the strongest possible case against your health care provider.
Important Medical Malpractice Laws
Medical malpractice is a highly regulated area in Florida law and the requirements for seeking compensation for a medical malpractice claim can be extremely complicated.
If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Some of important laws affecting medical malpractice claims in Florida are outlined below:
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations limits the period of time you have in which to bring a claim for legal relief. The calculation of this time period for medical malpractice claims is more complicated than for other personal injury claims, but it is typically measured as starting at the time of the medical malpractice.
In Florida, the statute of limitations relating to medical malpractice claims can be found in Title VIII, Chapter 95, Florida Statutes.
The Florida statute of limitations provides that lawsuits relating to claims for medical malpractice must be brought within four years of the date the malpractice occurred. However, injuries resulting from medical malpractice are not always immediately apparent, complicating the calculation of the deadline to bring your claim.
Because of the nature of these types of injuries, it is not uncommon for months or years to pass before a victim of medical malpractice discovers the true cause of their injury or condition.
In addition to the four-year window within which you must bring your claim, the law requires that any lawsuit for a medical malpractice claim must be brought within two years of discovering the medical malpractice.
To determine when the statute of limitations began to run for your claim, you must be able to prove to a judge when you became aware that you were injured as a result of your health care professional’s action or inaction.
Determining when the cause of an injury became apparent can be very complicated and labor intensive, and requires the assistance of an attorney with experience in these types of cases. A St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney will assist you in collecting all of the evidence necessary to bring your claim and ensure it is filed within the required deadlines.
Pre-suit filing requirements
The laws governing the filing of medical malpractice actions in Florida can be found in Title XLV, Section 766.118, Florida Statutes. Medical malpractice claims are extremely complicated personal injury actions, as there are many specific pre-suit requirements you must comply with before a court of law will be able to hear your claim.
Failing to meet all of the pre-filing requirements within the appropriate deadlines can result in you losing the opportunity to bring your claim, precluding your ability to recover for your injuries.
One important requirement for filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida is that you must file a notice of intent to sue upon your health care provider a certain amount of time before filing your lawsuit in court. There are specific legal requirements with which you must comply when filing this notice, as well as in ensuring the provider has received valid service of process.
Serving the health care provider with notice of your intent to sue begins a window of time in which a settlement may be negotiated, and you will need to wait until this window closes before you can bring your claim in court.
The assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney is invaluable in negotiating potential settlement offers, as most health care providers are represented by highly sophisticated insurance firms that will seek to take advantage of inexperienced plaintiffs.
Different Types of Medical Malpractice
Aside from in hospitals, however, medical negligence can occur in nursing homes and in pharmacies. Nursing home residents may not receive proper care. They may be given the wrong medicine or be forced to use broken medical equipment. Patients picking up medicine may even be given incorrectly labeled drugs.
There are few times in a person’s life when he or she is as vulnerable as when he or she undergoes a surgical procedure. While complete anesthesia may be necessary for the patient’s own safety during the course of the procedure, the faith and trust that it requires is occasionally betrayed by surgical errors. Negligent performance of a surgical procedure can severely affect a patient’s welfare and in some cases may even be deadly.
Surgical errors can occur in an alarmingly large number of ways. Examples of possible surgical mistakes include:
- Mishandling of surgical instruments
- Improper dosing or administration of anesthesia
- Foreign objects left inside the body
- Improper suturing
- Wrong site surgery
- Wrong patient surgery
Because surgical procedures involve the manipulation of organs, vessels, and tissues, even an apparently minor lapse in the performance of an operation can have far-reaching effects. An attentive surgical team can take action quickly to rectify some mistakes before they cause a patient any harm. But it is more typically the case that the negative consequences will linger long after the incident.
Plastic Surgery Mistakes
Many people turn to plastic surgery out of vanity or because there is something that makes them so uncomfortable about their body or face that it interferes with their ability to be happy. Unfortunately, errors can occur during any plastic surgery procedure a person undergoes.
While a number of errors can be eliminated through screening, many others occur during a procedure when the patient has no chance of approving what the doctor proposes. Some examples of errors include improperly performed procedures, surgical errors, and poor post-operative care.
The mistakes that occur during facial procedures are the most noticeable. In addition, they are the most difficult to repair. Because of a surgical error, a patient may look wooden or unnatural.
In addition, partial or full paralysis is possible due to nerve damage or tightened skin tissue. Gross disproportion, asymmetry, and dangerous implant leaks are all possible. Excessive scarring or hardening of body tissues is also within the realm of possibility.
In addition, the problems that stem from plastic surgery errors are not just physical. Many people suffer from emotional and or psychological trauma as a result of the mess ups. The injured party frequently feels guilty or like they’re being punished for vanity.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Whether your injury just occurred or you just discovered that your condition is the result of your healthcare providers’ actions, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in St. Petersburg as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss out on the opportunity to recover for your injuries.
Our attorneys are well-versed in the many requirements involved in bringing a medical malpractice claim in the State of Florida, and will assist you in presenting your case and navigating the legal system to give you the best possible chance of obtaining the relief you deserve. Contact one of our attorneys to discuss how you can begin the process of filing your claim today.