Lawyers in Miami, FL
Serving Clients Throughout South and Central Florida
Medical malpractice incidents in Florida result in serious and life-threatening injuries to patients much too often. According to statistics from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), there were 3,075 adverse actions that occurred in the state of Florida in 2016, which refers to the number of measures taken against healthcare professionals such as reprimands or sanctions. In total, there were 1,161 medical malpractice payments in 2016, which represents an increase from previous years.
Victims of medical malpractice deserve to be compensated for their losses. Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, lawsuits allow injured patients to file claims for compensation when they suffer injuries caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence. Many different types of healthcare providers can be held accountable in a medical malpractice case, from a primary care physician to a hospital or laboratory to a pharmacist. Our experienced Miami medical malpractice attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP are committed to helping injured patients in Miami. Call (305) 371-2692. We understand how devastating a medical error can be, and we want to assist you in seeking compensation for your losses.
We Handle All Types of Medical
Malpractice Claims in Miami, FL
Medical malpractice has many different sources. When a healthcare provider fails to provide quality care, you have a right to hold your healthcare provider liable for injuries caused by negligence. A Miami medical malpractice attorney can discuss the specifics of your case with you and can help you to determine who you may be able to sue to seek compensation. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we regularly assist clients with a wide variety of medical malpractice claims, including but not limited to:
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs very frequently in our hospitals. Many patients are injured because a doctor or other professional failed to follow the proper standard of care, which ultimately caused significant injuries to the patient. At our firm, we meet every week with people who went to the doctor or hospital hoping to get well, only to emerge more injured or sick than before. Below, we identify some of the more common examples of medical malpractice to help you identify whether you, too, might have fallen victim to professional malpractice.
- Failure to Diagnose or the Wrong Diagnosis: A doctor should listen to your complaints and then order necessary tests to diagnose a condition. Some doctors actually diagnose you with an injury or illness you do not have, or they claim you are fine and send you back home. These types of missed diagnosis cases can delay badly needed treatment, making our clients sick and leaving them in pain. Many missed diagnosis cases also result in death.
- Surgical Errors: A surgeon can make many mistakes in the operating room by operating on the wrong body part, puncturing or damaging healthy organs, damaging arteries, leaving implements inside a patient, and more. Many surgical errors require additional corrective surgery, which costs money and time.
- Anesthesia Errors: Anesthesia must be given in the right amount at the right time. If too much or too little is used, then a patient can suffer very negative consequences. Often, anesthesia errors stem from an inadequate analysis of a patient’s history and lack of attention in the operating room.
- Medication Errors: A doctor might prescribe the wrong medication, which delays a patient’s ability to get well. Some prescriptions could also interact negatively with other drugs or with a patient’s allergies, causing a violent reaction. Other medication errors involve wrong dosages—either too much or too little. A patient’s recovery can be delayed in these situations.
- Birth Injuries: The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is something we would expect to see in Mexico or Peru. Mothers can suffer serious injuries, including death, because of poor follow-up care and an unwillingness to listen to mothers when they complain they do not feel well. Sometimes, they are suffering from dangerously high blood pressure or from internal bleeding. Babies can also suffer injuries during delivery. One of the most serious is oxygen deprivation, which might stem from a delayed C-section or improper monitoring of the baby’s vital signs.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical errors leave thousands of Floridians ill and injured every year. Hundreds of people also die from mistakes that were completely unavoidable had the doctor followed the appropriate standard of care. But how do you know if you have a valid medical malpractice case? The fact that you or a loved one did not recover from an illness is not, by itself, proof that a medical professional was negligent. You should contact a skilled Florida medical malpractice case to determine whether or not you have a case. To bring a successful claim, you will need to establish 4 elements:
- You Had a Doctor-Patient Relationship With the Doctor You’re Suing: This is usually easy to establish. If the doctor agreed to treat you, and you agreed to be treated, then there is a relationship.
- The Doctor Was Negligent: Doctors must follow the appropriate standard of care. Generally, this means a doctor must use the same skill that other doctors in the profession would use, under similar circumstances. This element is usually hotly disputed, with doctors claiming they did nothing wrong.
- The Doctor’s Negligence Caused Your Injury: The injury cannot be entirely pre-existing or caused by something else. Causation is often in dispute, also.
- You Suffered Damages: “Damages” is a legal term. You must have suffered some harm that the law offers a remedy for. Incurring medical bills, being unable to work, and suffering from pain are all legally recognizable damages.
If you cannot establish all 4 elements, then you won’t have a case.
Proving Liability in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case
In Miami, a patient may be able to obtain compensation by proving that a healthcare provider’s negligence or error caused her injuries. It is important to note that not all patient injuries constitute malpractice. To be sure, medical malpractice or medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to live up to the recognized standard of care. Under Florida Statutes Section 766.102, the law states: “The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider shall be that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
In other words, the standard of care is measured in relation to other similar healthcare providers in the Miami area. Generally, a successful medical malpractice plaintiff will need to prove the following in order to recover:
- The Healthcare provider owed the plaintiff a duty of care (which typically exists whenever a provider-patient relationship is established);
- Healthcare providers breached that duty of care (by deviating from the prevailing professional standard of care); and
- The Healthcare provider’s breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
By far, negligence and causation are the most disputed issues, and an expert witness makes a big difference. An expert is usually a former or current doctor who practices in the same specialty as the doctor you are suing. This expert can offer an opinion about whether the defendant followed the acceptable standard of care, and whether this lack of care caused your injuries. At our firm, we have established strong relationships with many expert witnesses. They are particularly credible and have excellent credentials to present to a jury.
Injured Victims Deserve Full Compensation
The purpose of a medical malpractice lawsuit is to compensate an injured patient for the mistakes their doctor or other medical professional committed. The money you receive is called “damages,” and you can receive damages for a variety of economic and non-economic losses. Ideally, any settlement or jury verdict will fully compensate our clients, and we work aggressively to maximize the amount they receive.
According to the NPDB, the highest number of medical malpractice payouts in Florida in 2016 totaled between $250,000 and $499,000 (approximately 65 million), and represented almost 29 percent of all payment amounts in 2016. More than 22 percent, or about 50 million payouts, totaled between $500,000 and $999,000. Payment amounts between $100,000 and $249,000 were also common, representing almost 20 percent of all medical negligence payouts and about 45 million of all payments made. Payouts between $1,000,000 and $1,999,000 represented more than 15 percent of all medical malpractice payments in Florida, for a total of more than 35 million payouts.
Victims of medical malpractice can be eligible to receive compensatory damages, which include both economic and non-economic damages.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to receive damages for the following:
- Medical Expenses: These include all past, current, and future medical expenses, such as ER visits, hospital care, doctor’s visits, medical devices, prescription drugs, and more.
- Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If you could not work because of your injuries, you can receive compensation for lost wages. You can also receive compensation even if you took the sick time or personal days, and even if you are self-employed.
Hold onto certain paperwork which helps prove economic losses, such as medical bills, prescription drug receipts, and pay stubs.
Medical malpractice does more than cost you money. It can dramatically reduce the quality of your life. Many victims also receive compensation for:
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical pain and suffering your injuries have caused you.
- Emotional Distress: Bad injuries also cause severe emotional pain, such as anxiety or depression. You can receive compensation for any therapy or prescription drugs, but you also can receive a sum of money for the emotional distress itself.
- Loss of Consortium: In some cases, the spouse of a medical malpractice victim can receive damages for loss of consortium. This refers to the loss of companionship and sexual intimacy. Loss of consortium damages is most commonly awarded if the victim has suffered life-changing injuries, such as paralysis.
In addition to the above, you might qualify for punitive damages if the medical professional acted with gross negligence or maliciousness. For example, someone who intends to hurt you or who walks into the operating room high on drugs is more culpable. Punitive damages can be awarded to punish the defendant.
Florida, like many other states, used to have a “cap” on non-economic damages or those for which there is not an objective cost (such as pain and suffering or mental anguish). However, in the recent case of North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that such caps, or limits, on non-economic damages, are unconstitutional. As such, medical malpractice plaintiffs are no longer limited in the amount they can recover for both economic and non-economic damages.
In certain cases where the healthcare provider’s conduct was especially egregious, a plaintiff also may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate a victim for losses, but rather to punish the defendant and to deter similar conduct in the future. Florida Statutes Section 768.73 does place a “cap” on punitive damages. You should be sure to discuss recovery possibilities with your Miami medical malpractice lawyer.
You Can Always Afford Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we are committed to assisting you with your medical malpractice claim regardless of your financial status. Our dedicated Miami medical malpractice lawyers understand how devastating an injury resulting from medical negligence can be, and we can take your case on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you will not have to pay anything upfront, and there will be no costs to you unless we win. If we are able to recover for you, then our fee will be a percentage of your settlement or your jury award. To be clear, we only get a fee if we are able to recover for you. We are confident in our ability to craft a strong medical malpractice case, and we are willing to take on financial risks ourselves in order to ensure that you have an experienced advocate on your side.
Contact Our Experienced Team Today. We Can Help!
Were you recently injured as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence? You should not have to bear the financial, physical, or psychological burdens associated with your physician’s mistakes. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we regularly represent medical malpractice victims in Miami, and we can schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation today. Our aggressive Miami medical malpractice attorneys serve clients in Miami, as well as throughout Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. Contact us to learn more.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Understanding Florida Medical Malpractice Law
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, our Miami attorneys have extensive experience helping victims of personal injuries, including cases involving medical malpractice. If you have questions about our experience or your case, contact us online or call (305) 371-2692 for a free consultation. To learn more about medical injury claims in general, read on for answers to frequently asked questions about Florida medical malpractice.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an area of personal injury law that allows an injured patient to file a claim against a healthcare provider for negligence. Medical malpractice claims, also known as medical negligence lawsuits, can arise when a healthcare provider failed to provide a level of care to the patient that another healthcare provider in the same medical field and the geographic area would have considered appropriate. Most situations in which a medical error or medical mistake occurs give rise to medical malpractice lawsuits.
Does Any Patient Who Sustained Injuries Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
It is important to understand that, just because a medical procedure did not result in the desired outcome, the patient does not necessarily have a medical malpractice claim. In some cases, a patient can suffer a serious or even fatal injury when the doctor or surgeon takes all necessary safety precautions and provides the patient with a high quality of care. At the same time, patient injuries do often result from medical negligence.
Medical injuries can happen in the absence of negligence. In medicine, as in law, you are not guaranteed any particular result. To have a claim, you must be able to prove that the injury happened because the health care provider breached the prevailing standard of care. Injured patients are at a disadvantage, in that there is almost no way to know if negligence caused the injury without investigation, often requiring an attorney. If you were injured or lost a loved one and the circumstances seem suspicious, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your situation. As such, if you or someone you love got hurt, you should learn about your options by speaking with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Medical Negligence?
Any health care provider can be guilty of negligence. That includes hospitals, physicians, physician assistants, health maintenance organizations, surgical centers, medical facilities, and medical businesses such as professional associations, partnerships, corporations, joint ventures, and other associations.
How Will A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Help Me?
There are several benefits to pursuing a claim for medical negligence. A lawsuit allows you to recover economic and non-economic damages. That means money for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. Malpractice lawsuits can also help hold doctors, hospitals, and others in the health care industry accountable for their unsafe actions. Finally, many injured patients and families find some comfort in finding out the truth about what went wrong in a medical procedure and why. It is often impossible to discover the truth without legal intervention.
What is Medical Consent?
Consent is the foundation of the state’s medical system. Patients must fully understand the risks of any procedure they are about to undertake before they can consent, and doctors owe them certain duties to share accurate medical information. When information is misleading, wrong, or incomplete, then a patient has not consented to the procedure and might have a medical malpractice claim.
The statute goes on to state that a patient cannot bring a lawsuit for receiving medical treatment without informed consent unless the defendant failed in certain ways:
- The medical professional did not follow the accepted standard of medical practice when obtaining consent
- The medical professional did not provide a general understanding of the procedure
- The medical professional did not provide information on the medically acceptable alternatives
- The medical professional did not share information about the “substantial” risks and hazards recognized by other professionals in the same community
Can I File a Claim If I Signed an Informed Consent Document?
While Florida Medical Consent Law (Fla. Stat. § 766.103) does allow patients to consent to certain medical treatments or procedures that come with risks, patients who sign informed consent documents never consent to injuries caused by medical negligence.
What Type of Medical Professionals Fall Under This Law?
As stated in the statute, the law applies to licensed:
- Physicians, including osteopathic physicians
- Advanced practice registered nurse
- Physician Assistant
If you were treated by someone else, meet with a lawyer to discuss whether you can bring a claim.
What Are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims?
There are many different types of medical errors and grounds for medical malpractice claims, including but not limited to the following:
- Diagnostic errors, which can include misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis;
- Surgical errors, which may include a wrong-site error, wrong-patient operation, or leaving a surgical instrument inside the body of a patient;
- Anesthesia errors, which can include administering the incorrect amount of anesthesia or failing to take into account a pre-existing condition that could impact how a patient responds to anesthesia;
- Medication errors, which might include prescribing the wrong drug or wrong amount of a drug, filling the wrong drug or wrong amount of a drug, or failing to take into account a patient’s existing medications that could result in a harmful medication interaction; and
- Birth injuries, which can include mistakes during the childbirth process that result in birth defects, or failing to diagnose a condition in the mother that results in a birth defect.
I Think The Doctors Made A Mistake. Now What?
First, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Take steps to document the situation. Take photos. Ask for your medical records. Keep a record of medications, procedures, medical equipment, and anything else that seems relevant. Do not sign anything or discuss the situation with anyone until you’ve spoken to your lawyer.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 95.11), the statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims is two years. For most patients, the statute of limitations means that a lawsuit must get filed within two years from the date of the initial harm. In some cases, if it took longer for the plaintiff to realize that she had been injured—such as in a case where a surgeon left a surgical sponge accidentally inside the body—then the plaintiff has two years from the date that the injury occurred or two years from the date that the injury was or reasonably should have been discovered.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File A Claim?
Few, if any, legal issues are as complex as medical malpractice. A medical malpractice complaint must be accompanied by a certificate of counsel acknowledging that the claim is being made after a reasonable investigation supporting a good faith belief that the health care provider was negligent. The risks of filing a claim without experienced legal counsel on your side far outweigh the benefits.
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