Recently Fox 4 Now reported on disturbing medical malpractice occurrences within our medical community here in Florida. According to the news report, Judy Wood from Lakeland will probably never walk again. She was permanently disabled when a Lakeland doctor allegedly improperly placed a stent in her main artery. A civil trial agreed with Ms. Wood’s claim; however, the doctor who performed the improper surgery was never disciplined for the incident. Read more here.
Based on analysis of prior research, John Hopkins researchers claim that more than 250,000 people die each year from medical errors in the United States. U.S. Legal defines medical malpractice as the failure of a medical professional to follow the accepted standards of practice of his or her profession, resulting in harm to the patient.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Not every situation where a patient is unhappy with his/her medical provider amounts to a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is covered under Chapter 766 of the Florida State Code. There are several elements that must be considered before filing a claim under this statute. These elements include:
- Statutes of Limitations and Award Limits
- Pre-Suit Requirements
- Medical Expert Witness Testimony
- Degrees of Liability
- Comparative Negligence
The state of Florida requires an injured party to initiate a medical malpractice claim within two years from the date of the incident or within two years after an injury caused by the medical negligence could have “reasonably” been discovered. Even with the “reasonably” discovered rule, Florida bars all medical malpractice claims not filed within four years of the original event.
In Florida, an injured party is required to notify the health care provider of the intent to file a medical malpractice lawsuit before the lawsuit can be initiated. This written notice must include an affidavit from a qualified medical professional attesting to the validity of the claim.
Comparative negligence reduces any prospective damage awards to injured parties related to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. For example, if a patient does not follow a medical provider’s advice or instructions that could possibly change the outcome of the patient’s response to medical treatment, a comparative negligence claim could reduce the award to the plaintiff.
Additionally, if more than one defendant contributed to the medical malpractice injuries, in Florida, the liability may be divided among defendants according to their portion of responsibility. Teaching hospitals and state university facilities are exempt from liability.
Reporting Medical Negligence
Medical malpractice instances are reported to the Agency for Health Care Administration. Some states allow consumers access to the information regarding which facilities have reported medical errors, sadly, Florida only reports the number of medical error incidents and not where they occurred. This lack of disclosure can leave a patient feeling frustrated, confused and helpless.
With the complex Florida medical malpractice laws, it is imperative someone who has been injured due to medical negligence speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Every medical malpractice claim/lawsuit is unique and our Fort Myers medical malpractice attorneys will evaluate your case and advise you on the direction of your claim. For over 50 years, Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz has helped clients who have been injured due to the medical negligence of a trusted medical care provider. Call us today at 239-334-1146 for a free consultation. Justice Starts Now.