Medical malpractice can run the gamut in a hospital or health clinic setting – of which there are many in Florida. If your medical professional committed one of the following acts while you were under their care, you could have legal options:
If you think that you could have a case for medical malpractice, you and your attorney must prove negligence on the part of your health care provider. It can’t just be that you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a procedure.
For example, let’s say you had open-heart surgery and the doctor left a sponge in your chest cavity. The sponge infects the surrounding tissue, which starts necrotizing. You require emergency medical care.
For the medical professional who was found to be negligent, your lawyer must illustrate that his or her conduct fell below the accepted standard of medical care in the industry. To establish that in court, you will usually have to put an expert on the stand who can testify about the standard of care that was violated.
In Florida, you need to serve a medical professional with a notice of intent prior to starting your medical malpractice case. This should include an affidavit from a health care professional saying that it’s a valid medical malpractice claim. This sets off a 90-day settlement period during which the statute of limitations (generally two years from when the injury was discovered) is tolled. If the medical professional does not want to settle, you get another 60 days to file your lawsuit or the remainder of the statute of limitations, whichever is longer.
The exception to this is if the health care provider tried to conceal the malpractice by fraud or deceit. If that’s the case, then the statute of limitations is two years from when the injury was discovered or seven years from when the malpractice happened. This doesn’t apply to minors if the malpractice occurred before his or her eighth birthday.
Florida made a major change to their damage caps laws in summer of 2017. There used to be caps on medical malpractice damages in terms of non-economic damages (AKA, damages that are not discernable by receipts or bills – pain and suffering, companionship, etc.). Florida capped non-economic medical malpractice damages at $500,000 for practicing health care professionals and $750,000 for non-health care professionals.
This was changed in 2017 when the state Supreme Court struck down that provision as unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause. Now there is no limit to non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases.
If you have suffered in a medical malpractice incident and need an attorney, you should speak with one as soon as possible. Consider sitting down with someone in the Enjuris directory – and definitely someone who is licensed within the state of Florida. There are many twists and turns when it comes to state law, and you want to be prepared for them.