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Florida Medical Malpractice Basics
An Experienced Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You Get Compensation
Medical negligence can lead to severe injury, or even death — in fact, some estimates link up to 10 percent of deaths (annually) in the United States to medical negligence. This is a significant number, and as such, it’s no surprise that medical malpractice claims rank among the most common in the personal injury context.
Unfortunately, many plaintiffs feel anxious about pursuing medical malpractice claims, perhaps due to the fact that the general public takes a softer view of healthcare professionals. Though most healthcare professionals are doing the best they can under the circumstances, many fail their patients by not adhering to the proper standard of care. By suing, injured patients are ensuring that healthcare professionals are forced to stay “sharp” and “cognizant” as to the impact that their failures can have on their patients.
If you’ve been subjected to medical errors that caused you injury, then you may be entitled to damages under Florida medical malpractice laws. Conceptually, medical malpractice can be somewhat difficult to understand — for clarity, let’s take a look at some of the basics.
Understanding Medical Negligence
A healthcare professional can be held liable for medical malpractice (i.e., a claim of medical negligence) if they have violated the duty of care under the circumstances, and contributed to your injuries as a result.
However, our Tampa medical malpractice attorney knows that the duty of care can vary quite a bit. Ultimately, whether the defendant healthcare professional violated the duty of care is a fact-based question and will be evaluated by measuring their conduct against what a similarly situated healthcare professional would have done under the same circumstances.
For example, suppose that you see a generalist physician for a check-up. They are not able to identify your early-stage cancer given the check-up processes (and your symptoms were not such that they could have identified a potential cancerous influence). Of course, a specialized oncologist might have — under the circumstances — been expected to identify the early-stage cancer, but a generalist is not held to the same duty of care.
Medical negligence may include the following failures:
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to assign proper treatment
- Failure to properly administer treatment
- Failure to sanitize equipment
- Failure to replace or identify defective equipment
- Surgical errors
- And more
If you believe that a treating healthcare professional has acted negligently, then it’s worth speaking to an attorney about the possibility that you have a medical malpractice claim.
The Statute of Limitations in Florida Med Mal Cases
In Florida, medical malpractice claims must be brought within two years of the date of the alleged malpractice. Failure to bring your medical malpractice claim by the statutory deadline could result in the automatic dismissal of your case.
It’s worth noting, however, that Florida law does have a “discovery rule.” Simply put, if you have not discovered the defendant’s negligence (i.e., if the defendant engaged in malpractice, but their malpractice is not identifiable until a later date due to medical issues cropping up down the line), then the statute of limitations period will not begin to run until the date that you discover — or reasonably should discover — the malpractice at-issue.
Speak to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today for Legal Assistance
Medical malpractice plaintiffs often face a number of challenges. Medical professionals are well-respected in society and have extensive resources at their disposal. As such, bringing a case against a medical professional can be quite difficult — the court may view the defendant more favorably, and the defendant may have the resources necessary to stick out lengthy litigation.
The key to success is thorough, client-centered advocacy. If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tampa medical malpractice attorney at our firm, call us at (800) 840-0977 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.