Many lives have been lost or permanently damaged due to medical mistakes in Miami, Florida. However, not every medical error a health care professional makes involves malpractice.
According to the World Medical Association, medical malpractice involves the physician’s failure to conform to the standard of care for the treatment of the patient’s condition, a lack of skill, or negligence in providing care to the patient, which is the direct cause of an injury to the person.
To successfully prove medical malpractice, a plaintiff must establish several elements such as the presence of a doctor-patient relationship, provision of substandard medical care by the physician, injury due to the doctor’s negligence, etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a health care professional’s negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation. An experienced Miami medical malpractice lawyer can help fight on your behalf. In this article, we’ll discuss what medical malpractice is and how to determine if you might have a solid case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional causes harm or injury to their patient through a negligent act or omission. This negligence may result from mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management.
It is, however, important to note that not every error that occurs during medical treatment is tagged as malpractice. The World Medical Association (WMA) states, “An injury occurring in the course of medical treatment which could not be foreseen and was not the result of any lack of skill or knowledge on the part of the treating physician is an untoward result, for which the physician should not bear any liability.”
Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, hospitals, clinics, and pharmaceutical companies are parties that can be sued in a medical malpractice case. In malpractice cases, it is crucial to show that the standards of care set by federal and state laws and healthcare organizations were not met.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can take many forms. Below are some common types of medical malpractice.
This is one of the commonest forms of medical malpractice. It occurs when a healthcare professional incorrectly diagnoses a condition or fails to diagnose a serious condition that could cause harm.
A misdiagnosis becomes medical malpractice when the victim is injured or develops an illness due to the doctor’s failure to interpret their symptoms correctly.
Another standard of care expected from healthcare professionals is the ability to carry out tests and diagnose patients on time. If they fail to order a test or communicate promptly, and the patient is harmed in the process, the health care provider may be liable.
Mistakes during surgery are also a common form of medical malpractice. However, surgery is associated with risks, and a failed surgery isn’t necessarily malpractice.
For a surgical error to be malpractice, the professional performing the procedure must fail to adhere to the appropriate standard of care. In addition, this failure must be the actual and direct cause of the harm or injury.
This malpractice occurs when a health care professional administers a medical service below the accepted standard of care during a childbirth process. This breach of duty results in birth injuries, including brain damage, bone fractures, cerebral palsy, fetal death, etc.
According to the World Health Organization, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States of America alone. Medication errors often have adverse effects on a victim, especially in the case of allergic reactions.
Examples of medication errors include defective, expired, or dangerous medication, incorrect dosage, illegal prescriptions, failure to foresee complications, etc.
Other types of medical malpractices include:
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Poor follow-up or aftercare
- Premature discharge
- Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history
- Failure to warn of known risks
- Anesthesia errors
- Dental errors
The above are some of the common types of medical malpractices. Victims of medical errors in Miami who suspect malpractice should contact a personal injury attorney to review their cases to advise whether they may be entitled to file a claim.
Do I Have a Case?
Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are due to medical error. This makes it the third leading cause of death in the country.
In the United States, victims of medical malpractice must prove these four elements in a medical malpractice claim:
The Existence of a Legal Duty on the Part of the Doctor to Provide Care or Treatment to the Patient
This establishes that there must be a doctor-patient relationship. In this relationship, the doctor owes a duty of reasonable professional care to the patient. However, note that a doctor attending to a person as a nonprofessional, such as outside the hospital or clinic or in some social setting, does not establish this relationship.
Breach of Duty
The second element that must be proven is a breach of duty. That is, the medical professional provided services that fell below the standard of care other trained professionals in the field would provide. To prove breach of duty, the claimant may need the help of an expert witness.
A Relationship Between the Breach of Duty and Injury to the Patient
Another important element to be established in a medical malpractice claim is that the breach of duty directly caused the victim harm or injury.
The Existence of Damages That Occurred From the Injury
After proving the physician’s negligence, the plaintiff must also show that they suffered in some way due to the doctor’s actions that caused them to incur damages.
What Evidence Do I Need for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice cases can be difficult, and victims should consider hiring a medical attorney to assist with the case. Attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to represent victims and help them seek the compensation they deserve.
Medical records are usually the best evidence in these cases. Once you authorize your lawyer to access your medical records, they can begin investigating. Expert opinions and testimonies may also come in handy in a medical malpractice claim.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Miami
The Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida is two years from when the negligent medical care was discovered or should have been discovered. If the victim’s claim is not initiated within the limitations period, it may be permanently barred. There are limited exceptions to the Statute of Limitations, but your case will generally not be heard if filed after the allotted time.
Damages You Can Recover in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Below are some of the damages you can receive in a medical malpractice claim:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Physical therapy bills
- Punitive damages
Have Help From the Best Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Being injured by people who are supposed to help you and your health is complicated. We understand this at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers and sympathize with victims. If you’ve been hurt or injured due to medical error and suspect malpractice, it may be time to contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Miami.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation where you can speak to our lawyers. Scheduling your consultation starts with calling our firm at (561) 800-8000. Contact us today and let us help you seek the compensation you deserve.