Hialeah Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Most of us go to doctor visits from time to time. Typically, we visit physicians more than Hialeah medical malpractice lawyers. Our trips to the doctor’s office could be for an illness or to receive treatment for accident injuries.
Whatever the reason, we expect our doctors to diagnose and treat us properly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, doctors make mistakes that harm us, and these errors can derail the rest of our lives and that of our loved ones.
As a result, Florida law allows us to file a lawsuit for compensation. This is a medical malpractice case, so it’s recommended to consult with an experienced Hialeah medical malpractice lawyer to commence legal action. A lawyer will protect your rights and represent you throughout the process.
Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers if you suspect a physician negligently handled your treatment. We offer complimentary consultations to examine the facts of your case in detail (by appointment only).What Is Medical Malpractice Under Florida Law?
Medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. But what exactly does this mean?
Medical malpractice is any act or omission by a physician during the treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. Not every unsuccessful medical procedure amounts to negligence.
Just because surgery was unsuccessful does not mean the doctor deviated from the accepted practice norms. Sometimes complications associated with a particular treatment or an underlying medical condition might lead to an unfavorable outcome. This happens despite the doctor’s best efforts.
Additionally, the victim must have been the doctor’s patient for a medical malpractice claim to exist. If the doctor only examined you but did not diagnose or recommend treatment, any legal claim for negligence would fail.
Furthermore, the injury suffered by the victim must be caused by the physician’s negligence. This means that the error must have been the proximate cause of the harm you suffered.What Are the Types of Medical Malpractice?
During our years of practice, we have identified different medical malpractice claims and discussed them below.Misdiagnosis
The first thing doctors do is ask a patient about their symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis. This is the case whether or not it is in an emergency room, private clinic, or dental clinic. Diagnosing a patient is essential to providing the right treatment.
If misdiagnosed, the patient may leave the hospital worse than they came or never leave. But as important as the diagnosis is, physicians often misdiagnose their patients. Most times, they argue that it’s because so many medical conditions share similar symptoms.
However, this argument is only valid if the doctor followed the due procedure before diagnosing. If they didn’t, you may have a medical malpractice case and can benefit from the services of Hialeah medical malpractice lawyers. Commonly misdiagnosed illnesses include cancer, heart attack, appendicitis, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary embolism, etc.Delayed Diagnosis
A delayed diagnosis is different from a misdiagnosis. While the former deals with not diagnosing the patient on time, the latter is an error. For you to have a valid delayed misdiagnosis claim, you must prove that another doctor would have arrived at the same conclusion on time.
The law recognizes delayed diagnosis as medical malpractice because it could lead to injury or death of the patient. Some common illnesses associated with a delayed diagnosis are internal injury, cancer, coronary artery disease, etc.Surgical Error
According to the National Library of Science, there are over 200 million surgical procedures globally annually. There are at least 4,000 surgical errors in the United States yearly, and operating on the wrong body part is one of the most common.
Surgical procedures require precise skill and some last for hours. Therefore, it is not uncommon for complications to arise or for surgeons to make mistakes.
However, if the error is significant and a result of negligence, the surgeon can face a medical malpractice action. Surgical errors include cutting an internal organ or blood vessel, uncontrolled blood loss, and leaving a foreign object in the patient’s body.Unnecessary Surgery
Unnecessary surgery is more similar to a misdiagnosis than a surgical error. This usually happens when the treating physician misreads the patient’s symptoms or chooses to perform surgery without carefully considering other treatment options. Typical unnecessary surgery errors involve pacemaker implant, hysterectomy, coronary bypass surgery, and cesarean section.
Note that not every one of the procedures mentioned is unnecessary. These treatments save lives when used for the right patient. However, on the wrong patient, it could limit their quality of life.Anesthesia Error
Anesthesia involves using drugs to numb pain during surgical procedures, and an anesthesiologist administers it. The anesthesiologist also monitors the patient during surgery to ensure they do not wake up midway.
Another function of an anesthesiologist is reviewing the patient’s record to determine the medications they can take and what they are allergic to. If the anesthesiologist fails to do this and administers the wrong drugs, they can face a medical malpractice suit.Pregnancy and Birth Injuries
Pregnancy and birth injuries are wounds to the mother or child during the pregnancy or delivery. These injuries could significantly alter the mother and child’s lives, resulting in illnesses such as maternal diabetes, cerebral palsy, bowel trauma, etc.
Negligence under pregnancy and birth injury errors also manifests as the doctor failing to warn parents that their child will be born with a defect. Furthermore, a physician could be deemed negligent if they failed to warn patients of a failed vasectomy or wrongfully inseminated another person.Prescription and Medication Errors
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives more than 100,000 reports of suspected medication errors yearly. Medication errors manifest as the doctor giving the patient the wrong dosage or prescribing the wrong medication.
It also involves a physician prescribing a drug you are allergic to. Medication errors have harmful consequences such as death, life-threatening situations, hospitalization, and disability.Long-Term Medical Treatment
Not all illnesses are cured immediately; some take years and require long-term treatment. During this time, if the treating physician fails to follow the proper treatment or monitor the patient’s condition, their health could worsen. In such an instance, you can contact Hialeah medical malpractice lawyers to file a medical negligence claim.
Where medical malpractice causes the death of a patient, their legal beneficiaries can commence legal action. However, they will need to file a wrongful death claim.How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice in Hialeah, Florida?
Under the Florida Medical Malpractice Act, you have to prove that the doctor failed to provide adequate care or meet the prevailing standard of care. This entails establishing the following:
- The doctor owed you a duty of care
- The care provided by the physician fell below the prevailing standard of care
- The breached duty caused the injuries
- The breached duty is the proximate cause of the damage suffered
The standard argument we see in medical malpractice cases is what amounts to the prevailing standard of care. Generally, it refers to the level of care or skill that another doctor in the same circumstances would apply. Therefore, we need to prove that you would not have suffered injuries if your physician behaved in the way and manner that another doctor would have in the same given circumstances.
However, as we’ve found out, it can be challenging to establish that treatment administered by a doctor fell below the prevailing standard of care. This is why we always advise victims not to take on medical malpractice cases alone. Working alongside a Hialeah medical malpractice lawyer is crucial for your best chance at a successful outcome.What Evidence Do I Need to Prove Medical Malpractice?
As in every personal injury case we handle at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, injury victims need more than their oral testimony to win a medical malpractice case. You must provide documentary evidence to support your version of the event. Remember that a malpractice conviction can derail a doctor’s career, so the courts need foolproof evidence to rule in your favor.
Evidence that is crucial to a medical malpractice case includes:Letter of Complaint
Making an oral report is insufficient as the doctor or hospital management can easily deny receiving one. When you hire our Hialeah medical malpractice lawyers, we can help you write a letter of complaint. This correspondence is a crucial piece of evidence when filing a claim.
The letter of complaint details what you went through and how it affected your life. It also states the compensation you demand and that you will likely file a lawsuit if the case is not settled within a reasonable time.Medical Records
Copies of the victim’s medical records are also crucial. It contains your state before arriving at the hospital, the diagnosis given by the treating physician, the treatment plan, and the effectiveness or lack of it. We can help you request copies of the medical record, or you can do so yourself.
If you choose to do it yourself, forward a written request to the last known address of your doctor using a certified email. If there is no response within a reasonable time, file a complaint with the Consumer Service Unit of the Florida Board of Medicine.Witness Statements
There are people who knew us before a medical error derailed our lives and who have been with us as we deal with the consequences. These people are witnesses; you need their recorded statements to prove your claim. Also, staff at the hospital who detected the error could serve as witnesses.Expert Witness
An expert witness is as vital as your medical record because you need to show that the erring doctor acted outside the prevailing standard of care. An expert can explain to the jury what the treating physician did wrong and how their action deviated from the standard in the medical field.
Before commencing a medical malpractice claim, we will consult a medical expert to ensure that there was an error. Sometimes, we get two to three opinions to rule out any doubts.Financial Evidence
Finally, we will present financial evidence showing how the mistake affected the victim’s finances. Suppose a surgical error leaves you disabled and unable to work. Then we can show how much you earned before the surgery and how much you could have earned if you were still working.
We will also establish how much you spent on the medical treatment and what you’ve spent since the procedure to care for your health. Financial evidence is crucial when seeking fair economic damages compensation.What Compensation Can I Receive for a Medical Malpractice Case in Hialeah, Florida?
We know that financial compensation will not give you back the life you had before a medical error sent it off course, but it can reduce your suffering. If you need future medical care or medical equipment, a settlement can help you.
Generally, Florida law recognizes two types of compensation, namely compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages.Economic Damages
Economic damages are monetary losses incurred due to a medical error. It is easier to calculate because the losses have a fixed dollar value. It typically covers:
- Past, current, and future cost of medical treatment
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost business opportunities resulting from injuries
- Cost of medical equipment
- Cost of prescription medicine, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Cost of improvement to a home, if needed
When the victim dies, their legal beneficiaries can potentially recover for funeral and burial expenses.Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are not quantifiable because they have no fixed value. This is because they cover intangible losses resulting from emotional and psychological harm. Examples of this compensation are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish/emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability or disfigurement
Punitive damages are not compensatory, as courts award them to punish the defendant. However, a plaintiff must request them and prove that the defendant (doctor) was willfully or grossly negligent. Additionally, punitive damages serve as a deterrent to prevent similar conduct in the future.When Should I File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The direct answer is immediately after you discover your doctor made a mistake. Unfortunately, many people wait until it is too late to take action. As we’ve seen, this is primarily because they are unaware of the provisions of the Statute of Limitations.
However, being unaware of the law does not mean you will receive another chance to seek redress in court. So, when should you file a medical malpractice claim?
Under Florida law, you must take legal action within two years from discovering the injury or four years from when the malpractice happened. Once the four years elapse, you cannot file a claim against the physician.
Thankfully, there is an exception. You can file a claim after four years if the doctor fraudulently concealed the negligence, that is, deceived you intentionally.
In such a case, you must file your lawsuit two years after discovering the fraudulent concealment. Also, the Statute of Limitations does not apply to a minor if the injury occurred on or before their 8th birthday.Do I Need to Hire Hialeah Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
Medical malpractice cases are complex, so it is best to hire an attorney before filing a lawsuit. The following are the benefits of seeking legal representation:
- Legal Knowledge and Experience: The issues raised in medical malpractice claims differ from other personal injury cases. Therefore, you should hire an attorney with an excellent grasp of the law and court procedures. Our lawyers will explain the steps you need to take, negotiate a settlement, and file a lawsuit if needed.
- Medical Knowledge: The years we’ve spent representing medical malpractice victims has helped us understand the medical profession. As a result, we know which laws may have been broken and how to identify a doctor who did not uphold the prevailing standard of care.
Our medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, apart from certain filing fees, you do not have to worry about paying unless you win your case.Book a Free Consultation With Experienced Hialeah Medical Malpractice Lawyers
At Frankly Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we know a medical error can complicate your life. Therefore, we will aggressively pursue your claim to help you seek compensation while giving you compassionate representation. Contact us at (561) 800-8000 to schedule a free case review (by appointment only).