Have I Been A Victim Of Medical Malpractice?
Accidents and medical errors are sadly more common than most people think, topping the list of causes for accidental death in the United States in 2021 (and in several preceding years). However, not every injury or death that occurs in a medical facility, or at the hands of a medical professional, truly constitutes medical malpractice. To count as malpractice, an injury or death must have been caused by the medical professional breaching the prevailing standard of care – sometimes, injuries and deaths simply happen. An experienced attorney can help you to know the difference.
Not All Injuries/Fatalities Are Malpractice
Florida law defines medical malpractice as an instance in which a medical professional breaches the prevailing (accepted) standard of care, and it causes injury or death to a patient who relied on their expertise. The “prevailing standard of care” is going to differ from place to place, and from discipline to discipline, but it will be the standard observed by “reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers” – the same level of care, skill, and overall treatment shown to the patient.
What this means is that if a doctor observes the prevailing standard of care when treating a patient – that is, they do all of the things that a doctor of similar ability and care would do – they will most likely not be charged with malpractice even if the patient suffers injury or death. If they acted in a prudent and reasonable way, but injury still occurred, the medical professional cannot (at least in theory) be held responsible. An injury or death that happens in spite of all appropriate treatment being rendered is not foreseeable, and thus not actionable on the part of the patient.
Can I File Suit?
If you suspect that you or a loved one have not in fact received the appropriate standard of care from a medical professional, you have the option to seek money damages for the harm you or your loved one suffered. However, in Florida, actually receiving compensation for your damages can be quite difficult (though not impossible), as there are several roadblocks in place that are not generally present in other states. For example, Florida law requires a pre-suit investigation, designed to establish that grounds for suit actually exist, as well as an affidavit from a medical expert witness attesting that genuine injury occurred.
On top of these requirements, Florida has a very strict statute of limitations with regard to medical malpractice claims – they must be filed within 2 years of the date of the alleged medical negligence. While there are exceptions – mostly involving children under the age of 8, or in cases of fraud. The state also has a 4-year statute of repose on medical malpractice claims, which means that 4 years is the absolute maximum amount of time one can wait to file suit on this specific matter.
Contact A Winter Park Medical Malpractice Attorney
If a doctor or other medical professional has caused you injury, or caused the death of a loved one, you have the right to seek monetary damages for what you have been through. A dedicated Winter Park medical malpractice attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help you determine how to bring the most effective suit and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Contact our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.