Gainesville Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In almost every other personal injury action, such as car accident cases, a victim must prove that another party did not uphold their duty of care to the victim and acted negligently. A medical malpractice claim also involves a similar duty of care requirement. However, the duty of care is much higher for medical professionals who must meet one of the highest standards of care imaginable.
Anybody with such a claim will want to be sure they are working with a Gainesville medical malpractice lawyer. At Bagen Law Accident Injury Lawyers, we seek full compensation for our injured clients, including those with injuries due to medical negligence. Our Gainesville personal injury lawyers have obtained six and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for injury victims, and we are ready to help you.
Whether you suffered injuries due to your primary care physician, at U.F. Health Shands Hospital, or any other medical facility, reach out to our office today to discuss your options. Medical malpractice claims and laws are highly technical with many requirements, and our legal team can pursue the compensation you deserve.
The Prevalence of Medical Malpractice
Johns Hopkins patient safety experts determined that over 250,000 deaths a year were due to medical error in the United States, meaning that the cause was the third-leading cause of death. A survey found that 31 percent of Americans reported knowing someone who experienced a medical error. This figure included six percent who suffered an error within the past year, ten percent within the past five years, and 15 percent more than five years ago.
Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
You can find Florida’s medical malpractice laws in the Florida Statutes. Florida Statute § 766.102 concerns an action based on the death or personal injury of any victim in which the death or injury allegedly resulted from the negligence of a healthcare provider. In such a case, the victim must prove that the healthcare provider’s actions were a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for the healthcare provider.
A healthcare provider under Florida Statute § 766.101 is any:
- Hospital or ambulatory surgical center
- Birth center
- Any person licensed to provide healthcare
- A health maintenance organization
- A blood bank
- An industrial clinic
- A plasma center
- A renal dialysis facility
- A professional association partnership, joint venture, corporation, or other association for professional activity involving healthcare providers.
A medical injury will not create any inference or presumption of negligence against a healthcare provider, and a victim maintains the burden of proof that an injury happened due to some breach of prevailing professional standards of care by a healthcare provider.
Medical negligence actions cannot introduce as evidence records, policies, or testimony of an insurer’s reimbursement policies or reimbursement determination regarding the care provided to the victim. However, a foreign body or other paraphernalia doctors use in surgical, examination, or diagnostic procedures can be automatic evidence of negligence by a healthcare provider.
The general elements of a medical malpractice claim are:
- The victim had a provider-patient relationship with the defendant
- The healthcare provider owed the victim a duty of care
- The healthcare provider failed to act within the prevailing professional standard of care
- The victim suffered an injury
- The healthcare provider’s failure is the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s injury
Florida medical malpractice law also requires victims to provide every potential defendant with a notice of claim, meaning each party receives notice of their intent to file a lawsuit. You will usually be required to wait 90 days after the notice before filing so all defendants can have sufficient time to investigate the underlying issue.
Plaintiffs must provide expert witness testimony in all medical malpractice cases in Florida.
An expert must meet the requirements established in the Florida Statutes, which state that an expert must:
- Regularly practice in their respective field.
- Hold a professional degree from a university or college.
- Specialize in the same specialty as the healthcare provider against whom or on whose behalf the expert testifies.
- Have devoted some professional time in the three years before the date of an occurrence that is the basis for an action to the active clinical practice of, or consulting concerning, the same specialty; instruction of students in some accredited health professional school or accredited residency or clinical research program with the same specialty; or a clinical research program affiliated with some accredited health professional school, accredited residency, or another clinical research program in that same specialty.
- Suppose a healthcare provider against whom or on whose behalf an expert testifies is a general practitioner. An expert witness must have devoted professional time during the five years immediately before the date of an occurrence that is the basis for an action to either an active clinical practice or consultation that is a general practitioner, instruction of students in some accredited health professional school or accredited residency program for the general practice of medicine, or some clinical research program affiliated with either an accredited medical school or teaching hospital and in the general practice of medicine.
- Suppose a healthcare provider against whom an expert testifies is a healthcare provider other than a specialist or a general practitioner. In that case, an expert witness must have devoted professional time during the three years immediately before the injury to the active clinical practice of or consulting for the same or similar health profession as the healthcare provider-defendant. They can also participate in the instruction of students in some accredited health professional school or an accredited residency program in the same or similar health profession as the healthcare provider.
Florida Medical Malpractice Compensation
In medical malpractice cases, people can recover two types of damages: Economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the actual, tangible losses a victim suffers, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are types of harm that do not involve inherent financial values, so they are far more subjective.
Common non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of capacity for enjoyment of life
There is generally no limit to the amount of economic damages a person may recover. Still, non-economic damages in Florida medical malpractice cases involve a damage cap. Under Florida Statute § 766.118(2), non-economic damages cannot exceed $500,000 per claimant, and no practitioner can be liable for more than $500,000 in non-economic damages.
If the negligence results in a permanent vegetative state or death, the total non-economic damages recoverable from all practitioners cannot exceed $1 million. In cases not involving death or a permanent vegetative state, a patient who suffers injuries by medical negligence can recover non-economic damages up to $1 million if a trial court determines that it will be an injustice without increased non-economic damages.
This determination can arise when the non-economic harm the victim sustained was particularly severe due to the special circumstances of the case. The trier of fact must determine that the defendant’s negligence caused a catastrophic injury to the patient.
Florida Statute § 766.118(3) establishes that in causes of action for personal injury or wrongful death arising from medical negligence of nonpractitioners, non-economic damages cannot exceed $750,000 per claimant when negligence results in a permanent vegetative state or death, total non-economic damages recoverable from all nonpractitioner defendants cannot exceed a combined total of $1.5 million.
That said, in the case of North Broward Hospital District v. Susan Kalitan, 174 So.3d 403 (2015), the Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida ruled that caps on non-economic damage awards for personal damage injury in medical malpractice cases were unconstitutional. In another case, the Florida Supreme Court determined that caps on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases under Florida Statute § 766.118 violated the equal protection clause of the Florida Constitution.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
Common types of medical malpractice cases generally include, but are not limited to:
- Doctor malpractice
- Hospital malpractice
- Surgery malpractice
- Pediatric malpractice
- Emergency room malpractice
- Paramedic malpractice
- Cardiology malpractice
- Aneurysm malpractice
- Surgeon malpractice
- Gastroenterologist malpractice
- Neurosurgical malpractice
- Radiologist malpractice
- Angioplasty malpractice
- Urologist malpractice
- Endocrinologist malpractice
- Pediatrician malpractice
- Neurologist malpractice
- Arteriography malpractice
- Pharmacist malpractice
- Hospital assistant malpractice
- Rheumatologist malpractice
- Athetosis malpractice
- Cardiologist malpractice
- Gynecologic malpractice
- Nephrologist malpractice
- Pulmonologist malpractice
- Otolaryngologist malpractice
- Physical therapist malpractice
- Placental abruption malpractice
- Podiatrist malpractice
- OB-GYN malpractice
- Nurse malpractice
- Pediatric hydrocephalus
- Altered hospital records
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Anesthesia error
- Aortic aneurysm misdiagnosis
- Biliary duct injury
- Infant cephalohematoma
- Nuedexta drug injury
- X-ray overdose
- Medication error
- Wrongful death
- Medical liability
- Blood clot misdiagnosis
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
- Defective medical device
- Medical Amputation
- Birth injury
- Dystonia disorder
- Medical paralysis
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Nursing home abuse
- Medical spinal cord injury
- OB-GYN misdiagnosis
- Defective hip implant
- Postoperative care
- Delayed C-section
- Prolonged surgery
- HIV drug injury
- Robotic surgery
- Labor and delivery injury
- Shoulder dystocia
- Delayed surgery
- Surgical organ perforation
- Dialysis error
- Truvada drug injury
- Failure to diagnose
- Wernicke’s encephalopathy
- Fetal distress
- Bowel perforation
- IV fluid contamination
- Brachial plexus injury
- Medical burn
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Drug injury
- Medical shoulder injury
- Cardiac catheterization
- Medical radiation injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Hernia surgery
- Cholecystectomy error
- Infant kernicterus
- Laparoscopic surgery error
- Medical nerve damage
- Common bile duct injury
- Improper delivery technique
- Drop foot
- Horner’s syndrome
- Coumadin drug injury
- Hernia mesh
- Medical brain injury
- C.T. scan radiation overdose
- Hospital bedsores
- Defective knee implant
- Failed knee replacements
- Gallbladder surgery
- Infant leptomeningeal cyst
- Fetal acidosis
- Gastric bypass
- Hip replacement surgery
- Medical broken bones
- Hospital sepsis
Always understand that it can take significant time and resources to investigate these claims adequately. Florida Statute § 766.104 stipulates that no one can file an action for personal injury or wrongful death due to medical negligence unless a reasonable investigation determines good faith grounds of negligence in the care or treatment of the victim.
A complaint or initial pleading must contain a certificate of counsel that such a reasonable investigation gave rise to the good faith belief that grounds exist for an action against every named defendant. The plaintiff can show Good faith exists if a victim or their legal counsel has received a written opinion, which is not subject to discovery by an opposing party, of an expert as defined in Florida Statute § 766.102 that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence.
Suppose a court determines that the expert did not make a certificate of counsel in good faith and that the case presents no justifiable issue against a healthcare provider who fully cooperated in providing informal discovery. In that case, the court can award the defense attorney’s fees and taxable costs. The court must also submit the matter to the Florida Bar for disciplinary review of the attorney. This means that attorneys must investigate adequately from beginning to end to ensure that the investigation is conducted correctly under Florida state law.
Call Us Today for Your Free Consultation With Our Gainesville Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Do you think you or your loved one were recent victims of some medical malpractice in Florida? You have to know how complicated these issues can be for people to resolve, but there is still hope of financial recovery for your preventable injuries and losses if you have the right help. Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. can recover all of the damages available in your case.
Our firm knows how frustrating and challenging it can be to be a victim of medical malpractice. We work hard to ensure that negligent medical professionals are held fully accountable for errors that cause discomfort and additional medical expenses for their clients.
You can call (800) 800-2575 or contact us online to receive a free consultation so we can examine your case in greater detail and discuss all of the complications with you in a close and personal manner, allowing us to have a complete understanding of your case.