Medical Malpractice FAQs
If You Have Questions About Medical Negligence, You Need to Speak with Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The aftermath of medical negligence can be devastating. When malpractice occurs, it is important to know that you have legal rights and may be able to hold the doctor, hospital and/or medical practice accountable. Still, it is difficult to know where to turn or how to get help. If you've been hurt or your loved one has been killed by a doctor who was supposed to help you, contact Alley, Clark & Greiwe today.
We can assist you with the following types of Florida medical malpractice claims:
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Child birth injuries or trauma
- Delay or failure to timely diagnose cancer and other diseases
- Wrong drug or dosage dispensed by a pharmacy
- Emergency room mistakes
- Psychiatric/mental health malpractice or negligence
- Hospital malpractice
Our experienced Tampa medical malpractice lawyers can provide you with help and support as you pursue a claim against those who hurt you so you can get the compensation you need and deserve. You are encouraged to give us a call for personalized advice on how you can pursue your claim. You can also review the following information to get answers to some of the most common questions about malpractice that injured victims and their families face.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a caregiver fails to live up to his or her professional standard of care. Medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists and other medical specialists have an obligation to provide services with a reasonable degree of professionalism. If they fail to fulfill their obligations, either through acts, like botching procedures or omissions, such as not properly diagnosing you or ordering a test you need, they can be held liable to the victims they harm through their substandard care.
Facts About Medical Malpractice
• 440,000 patients die every year from preventable medical errors according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety
• 1 in 3 patients admitted to the hospital will experience a medical error according to a 2011 study in the Health Affairs
• Researchers at Harvard University found that 97% medical malpractice cases were meritorious, concluding, "Portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown." New England Journal of Medicine, 2006
• A 2013 study in BMJ Open They found the most common malpractice claim involved missed diagnoses (i.e. cancer, heart attacks, appendectomy, ectopic pregnancy and bone fractures) and accounted for 26%-63% of total claims. This was followed by drug errors which were seen in 6%-20% of claims.
• A 2015 study published in Anesthesiology found nearly 50% of surgeries at a top U.S. hospital included at least one medication error or drug-related incident that harmed a patient. The medications most frequently associated with errors were propofol, a commonly used sedative in the operating room; fentanyl, a powerful pain medication; and phenylephrine, a medication given to increase blood pressure in patients with very low blood pressure.
• A 2002 NEJM study found that 1 in 3 preventable medical errors were disclosed to patients.
• In 2010, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 1 in 7 Medicare inpatients experience an adverse event during their hospital stay. Many of these incidents are incorrect medication dosing or hospital-acquired infection; a rare few are wrong-site surgeries or drug overdoses. And an estimated 44 percent of these are preventable.
How Can I Determine If I Was the Victim of Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Medical malpractice has a specific legal definition. Medical malpractice requires:
- The medical professional to have an obligation to you: If the doctor provides you with treatment, they have this obligation.
- The provider to fail to fulfill his professional responsibilities: To determine if a caregiver failed to live up to the professional standard of care that is required, his conduct in caring for you is compared with what a reasonable caregiver with a similar background would have done. For example, the care a cardiologist provides is compared with what a reasonably competent cardiologist with a similar background would have done in the same situation.
- The failure to be the direct cause of your harm. The actions the caregiver took must have resulted in something going wrong for you. In other words, your condition must have worsened or you must have endured more pain or had a reduced chance of a cure.
- Proof that you were damaged: To prevail in a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that you suffered physical or financial damage as a result of the doctor's failures.
Our medical malpractice lawyers in Tampa can help you determine if you were victimized by a healthcare practitioner’s negligent actions. If you were, contact us for help with gathering the necessary evidence and finding experts to help you prove your entitlement to compensation.
How Can I Prove That My Medical Provider Acted Negligently?
To prove your medical provider acted negligently, you need to show the care you received fell short of what a reasonably competent caregiver would have provided. In some cases, it's pretty clear that the care you received was substandard. If a doctor operates on the wrong body part, for example, it's pretty clear he was negligent. However, there are many other cases where it is not so clear-cut.
Our medical malpractice attorneys will assist you in getting the evidence you need to prove negligence in cases where it's not obvious a caregiver failed you. We can subpoena medical records and interview witnesses, such as nurses who may have observed the care you received. Most importantly, we can help you find expert witnesses – other medical professionals who can affirm that the care you received wasn't up to par.
At Alley, Clark & Greiwe, we have extensive experience helping victims make a solid claim so they can get the compensation for malpractice they need and deserve.
What If I Didn’t Suffer Any Physical Injuries?
If you did not suffer any physical injuries, you may still be entitled to make a claim for malpractice if you were financially or emotionally damaged, depending on the circumstances. If you think a medical professional has harmed you, it is always a good idea to schedule a free consultation with our Tampa medical malpractice lawyers to find out if it is possible that you can recover compensation for the losses you did endure.
Do I Still Have a Valid Claim If I Filed a Consent Form?
Consenting to a procedure does not mean that you give up your rights. You consent only to assume risks that were clearly explained to you, and even then, you only consent to assume those risks if the doctor provides you with accurate information and gets fully informed consent. A consent form doesn't give a doctor license to botch a procedure or otherwise make mistakes.
All of this means that you absolutely may still have a claim even if you signed a consent form to undergo treatment. Tampa medical malpractice lawyers can help you to determine if your consent form will affect your claim.
Who Do I Bring the Claim Against?
The caregiver who hurt you is usually the first person who comes to mind when you wish to pursue a claim for compensation for medical malpractice.
Pursuing a claim against the caregiver can be important to make sure the caregiver is held accountable. Doctors and many other medical professionals are required to have malpractice insurance, so there should be money available from this insurance to provide you with at least some compensation for medical negligence.
However, there may be others to pursue a claim against, including the hospital or clinic, and these other potential defendants often have deeper pockets and more insurance or funds available to compensate you.
Can a Hospital or Clinic be Named in a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Hospitals and clinics can frequently be named in malpractice lawsuits. These facilities can be named due to their own negligence, such as if they failed to carefully screen the providers that they hire or did not provide a clean treatment space.
Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers employed by hospitals and clinics are also considered “agents” of those clinics; therefore, any negligence of the caregiver while performing official duties is treated like the negligence of the clinic or agency. A negligent clinic can be held accountable for losses in a civil suit.
My Elderly Loved One Was Transferred to a Nursing Home for Skilled Nursing Care After Surgery and Did Not Receive Proper Treatment. Can I File a Malpractice Claim on Their Behalf?
There are a number of factors that determine whether you can file a malpractice claim on behalf of your elderly loved one, including whether you can prove negligence in your loved one's care caused harm.
Caregivers at skilled nursing facilities can absolutely be held accountable for failing to live up to a standard of care, so you should reach out to the knowledgeable Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Alley, Clark & Greiwe for a personalized case evaluation to determine whether you have grounds and standing to pursue a case for compensation on your loved one's behalf.
What Happens If a Doctor Does Not Carry Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Not having medical malpractice insurance when required could result in the doctor facing professional discipline. However, your primary concern is likely whether you'll still be able to obtain compensation if the doctor harmed you but did not have insurance.
If the doctor has personal assets and you pursue a claim against the care provider, you could still prevail and could collect the judgment by going after the doctor's personal wealth. If the doctor was working for a hospital or clinic, that hospital or clinic can often be held accountable as well, which would mean their insurance policy covers your losses.
What Types of Medical Malpractice Claims Do You Handle?
Alley, Clark & Greiwe handles a wide variety of medical malpractice claims, including cases where victims were injured or killed. We provide representation after injuries to people of all ages and have experience with cases ranging from birth injuries to botched surgeries to injuries caused by negligent caregivers in skilled nursing facilities.
If you have been harmed by a doctor, your best option is to contact our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys for a free case evaluation to find out if we can help you.
What Is My Case Worth?
Every case is different, so there's no one simple answer to how much your case is worth. Factors such as the strength of your case, the nature of your injuries, your actual financial loss and whether you sue in court or settle out of court can all impact the amount of compensation you receive.
Our Tampa medical malpractice law firm has successfully helped many victims recover the maximum in compensation and we have a long track record of recovering millions for injured victims harmed by malpractice. We can provide advice on the specifics of what your case is likely to be worth given the details of your injuries – and you should make certain to talk with our legal team before settling so you don't accept a settlement for less than your case is worth.
What Types of Damages Can I Expect to Receive?
Typically, you should be compensated for actual financial losses caused by medical negligence, such as other medical care you were required to pay for because of a doctor's negligence. If you miss work or must take sick days or vacation days, you should be compensated for lost wages. You can also be compensated for pain and suffering and emotional distress. If your loved one has been killed, on the other hand, you'd be able to receive wrongful death damages.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?
The length of time it takes to resolve a case depends on whether you settle your case outside of court with the caregiver's malpractice insurance, among other factors. We work with you to try to resolve your claim as quickly as possible while getting the compensation you deserve.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Tampa?
Currently, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Tampa is two years from the time of the medical negligence, so you must file your case within this time or it will be time-barred. However, there can be exceptions if you do not discover the malpractice immediately, so you should always talk with a malpractice attorney if you've discovered a doctor has harmed you.
Do I Need to Retain an Attorney If I Want to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
It is important to be represented by a malpractice lawyer if you have been hurt by a medical caregiver. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and advise you on settling so you don't accept an unfair settlement offer. Your lawyer can also help you ensure you file your claim within the required timeline, find the necessary experts to prove a doctor's care fell short, and collect other essential evidence to prove your claim. Making a case is difficult, and you need a Tampa medical malpractice attorney with strong legal knowledge to maximize the chance you'll be fully compensated for injuries caused by a negligent caregiver.
Do I Need to Pay Upfront for Legal Services Provided by Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
You do not need to pay for legal services upfront. Alley, Clark & Greiwe provides representation on a contingency fee basis and we will not charge you legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Contact our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys via email or call 813-222-0977 today to learn more about how the fee structure works and how we can help you make a case and ensure you get the money you need to recover after you've been harmed by medical negligence.