Medical malpractice occurs when treatment by a healthcare provider falls below the accepted standard of care in the medical community and leads to the injury or death of a patient. If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, Tallahassee personal injury attorney Amber Hall, Attorney at Law, PLLC may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor, nurse, hospital or healthcare provider who was negligent in causing the injury. Professionals in the healthcare industry are expected to uphold high standards and conform to certain duties of care.
Moreover, medical malpractice is professional negligence committed via the act or omission of a health care provider such as a doctor, dentist, nurse, or other health care provider.
Some of the most common medical negligence cases involve:
- Failure to diagnose certain health conditions
- Surgical errors
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Hospital or emergency room negligence
- Objects left in the body after surgery
- Birth injuries
When a patient is injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, the patient must prove the following elements to succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Doctor/Patient Relationship:
Essentially, the patient must hire the doctor and the doctor must have agreed to work for the patient. Generally, a healthcare provider or medical practitioner can only be sued for acts of malpractice committed within the scope of employment.
Doctors and other medical professionals must perform their duties in the same manner that another practitioner in the same field and under the same circumstances would.
Breach of Duty:
In order for medical practitioners to be deemed negligent, they must have violated the duty of care owed to their patients. In other words, a doctor or medical professional must have failed to act how another doctor or medical professional would have acted in a similar situation.
An injured patient must prove that the medical professional’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of their injury. The patient must show a causal relationship between the doctor’s negligence and their injury.
The injury caused by the medical professional’s negligence must have caused either economic or non-economic damages. Generally speaking, the injured patient must have suffered some pain and suffering and/or incurred additional medical bills, lost wages or suffered damage to their future earning capacity.
What is the statute of limitations for Florida medical malpractice cases?
The State of Florida has a two-year statute of limitations in medical negligence cases. Generally, this means that the lawsuit must be brought within two years from the time the patient, family member, or guardian knew or should have known with reasonable diligence that the injury occurred, and where there was a reasonable possibility that medical malpractice caused it.
Florida also has a “statute of repose,” another harsh provision in its civil laws. This means that absent fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation, no person may sue a health care provider more than four years after the actual malpractice incident. The effect of this rule is that even if the injured party does not know or couldn’t be expected to know that some negligent act caused the injury, he or she cannot bring a claim four years after the incident occurs in most circumstances.