We trust our doctors, nurses, and other medical care workers with our lives – literally! Whether we are visiting our general practitioner for a yearly checkup, are undergoing a screening procedure at a clinic, or are being operated on by a surgeon, we place a great amount of faith that the medical professionals involved possess the requisite knowledge and skill to do their jobs right the first time around. When medical procedures go wrong, or when signs and symptoms of serious illnesses are missed, it is the patient that pays – sometimes with his or her life.
The law affords medical professionals some degree of deference and protection from lawsuits for medical mistakes: the professional is required to act in a manner similar to the way a reasonably careful and prudent professional in the same field and possessing the same background and education would act under the same circumstances. The assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you meet this burden and obtain compensation for your injuries.
COMMON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INJURIES AND AVAILABLE REMEDIES
Some medical mistakes are obvious: stories of surgeons who leave gauze pads, instruments, or other foreign bodies inside a surgery patient or doctors who amputate the wrong limb from a patient have garnered national media attention. But medical malpractice injuries can take many forms, including:
- Failure to render a correct diagnosis;
- Delay in commencing treatment of a condition or illness;
- Improperly treating a disease;
- Surgical mistakes;
- Prescribing the wrong medicine/Improper administration of medication;
- Improperly conducting or reading imaging and test results;
- Negligently administering anesthesia; and
- Other injuries.
Unlike other personal injury incidents, recovery from a medical mistake is not always possible. Some of the injuries can last a lifetime. Other injuries result in the patient’s death. When you suffer a medical malpractice injury, you may be able to recover:
- Damages designed to compensate you for your actual financial losses. This can include the cost of your treatment and any remedial treatment, lost wages, and lost future earnings. Damages such as these are generally easily quantifiable and thus easy to prove.
- Other forms of damages are designed to compensate you for losses you experience but that are not easily quantifiable. These would include mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium (loss of a person’s company and presence). In the past, these types of damages have resulted in awards in the hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars. Now Florida laws have limited the availability of large awards for these types of damages.
HOW IS A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE DIFFERENT FROM A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT?
In one sense, a medical malpractice case is just a personal injury lawsuit brought against a medical provider. The same four basic facts that need to be proven in a personal injury lawsuit (duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages) must also be proven in a medical malpractice case.
However, there are certain aspects of a medical malpractice case that make it unique and call for an attorney with particular skills and resources. These aspects include:
- Expert testimony is necessary to prove your case. Because you must show that your doctor or healthcare provider acted in a careless manner, your case will need the expert testimony of other doctors or medical workers. These individuals will need to be able to say more than your doctor or medical worker made a mistake; rather, they must establish that your medical professional’s mistake was so significant that no reasonable medical professional in that situation would have made that mistake.
- Your ability to recover certain damages is limited. Like other states, Florida has recently placed limits on the amount of damages that a medical malpractice victim can recover. (These statutes were enacted as part of a medical malpractice “reform” program designed to keep rising healthcare costs in check.). Except for some limited circumstances, these “caps” will limit your compensation award. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can review your situation to see whether one of these exceptions to the general “cap” applies.
- You only have a limited amount of time to file your case. Most every lawsuit has a “statute of limitations” that prohibits a case from being filed if the events giving rise to the lawsuit happened too far in the past. In the case of medical malpractice cases, your lawsuit must generally be brought within two years of the mistake’s occurrence. Your medical malpractice lawyer may be able to extend this “statute of limitations” in certain cases.
KAISER ROMANELLO – COMPASSIONATE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS
The law firm of Kaiser Romanello has the resources and experience necessary to successfully litigate your medical malpractice claim. But your ability to bring a claim for compensation is time-sensitive. As soon as you believe you were injured by a medical mistake, contact our offices to discuss your situation. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.