Medical errors contribute to the death of residents of Miami, Florida, annually and have been called the leading cause of death in America. A Johns Hopkins study found that more than 250,000 people die annually due to medical errors. Fortunately, not every victim of medical mistakes loses their life.
However, the law provides compensation where a medical error has resulted in harm, injury, or death to the patient. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we understand the toll the effects of medical negligence takes on people. So when seeking compensation, it is best to work with a Miami medical malpractice lawyer. But how does a victim choose an attorney? Read on to find out.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to any error that puts a patient’s life in danger. This could be not taking the appropriate action to treat a patient, failure to diagnose, omitting a course of action, or giving substandard treatment to the patient. Both medical practitioners and medical facilities can receive a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Certain criteria must be met for an error to be considered medical negligence. The first is that the medical professional failed to adhere to a standard of care. This failure must also result in an injury. In most cases, a medical malpractice suit cannot be brought if there was no injury to the patient.
In addition, the negligence must have resulted in considerable damage, including pain, disability, or lost income. Dissatisfaction with a medical professional’s conduct is not grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some common types of medical negligence include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, birth injuries, errors with prescription drugs, incorrect treatment, bedsores, etc.
Who Can Bring a Medical Malpractice Suit?
Not everyone can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. Generally, the victim can file a lawsuit against the at-fault medical professional. In addition, if the person dies, their personal representative will file a wrongful death action with the probate court.
Medical malpractice actions begin when a plaintiff files a lawsuit. The two parties could decide to settle the matter out of court when this happens. However, where the parties disagree, a court will determine the case.
The potential consequences of a medical malpractice lawsuit can be significant. For example, the defendant could lose their license if things go badly. Therefore, expect that the defendant will fight hard. This is one reason why hiring an experienced lawyer is advised.
What Kind of Damages Can a Victim Get for a Medical Malpractice Suit?
Like many other personal injury cases, a victim could be eligible for compensation if someone else’s actions hurt them. The settlement amount reimburses them for their losses.
However, where it is discovered that the defendant had intentionally committed the act for which they are being sued, the victim could also receive punitive damages. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and deter them from repeating their actions.
Compensatory damages are classified into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages typically assess the financial cost of an injury to arrive at a value. For instance, it covers medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, etc. Also, if the victim will require a lifetime of care, economic damages cover it.
Non-economic damages are usually harder to arrive at as they do not cover easily quantified things. Instead, they cover things such as pain and suffering, and in some cases, death. Arriving at a fair figure usually involves the use of certain parameters. While a person may be eligible for damages following a medical practitioner’s negligence, they should evaluate the case to know whether it is worth pursuing. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Miami can help them arrive at a decision.
What To Look Out for When Choosing a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If someone decides to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, they’ll most likely find several lawyers who claim to be the best option. However, without some experience picking attorneys or knowing what a lawyer should do for them, how do they know who the best choice is?
The lawyer a victim chooses could heavily affect the outcome of their case, so we’ve compiled a list of qualities to look out for in no particular order.
Just as we have doctors who are general practitioners, we also have lawyers who are general practitioners. They can often represent clients across a wide variety of cases. However, one needs a medical malpractice lawyer because of how complicated medical negligence laws can be.
Look at their track record and speak to past clients to know if they have the required experience. The longer they’ve been doing this, the better. Although the length of experience may not be a good indicator of their competence.
Closely related to experience is knowledge. Ensure that the lawyer hired thoroughly understands medical malpractice laws as that ensures they can anticipate any curveball the defendant throws at them.
In addition to an experienced lawyer, hire one who practices in the area where the lawsuit will be filed. Some law firms have lawyers that practice in several states but plaintiffs are better off with a lawyer who has enough experience practicing in the area they will be filing their suit.
Many people choose not to pursue a medical malpractice case because of the potential costs. Fortunately, most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee arrangement. This means they won’t get paid unless the victim wins and is compensated. If a victim hires a lawyer who uses this option, they should determine how much compensation they’ll be taking.
The best lawyers do not see their clients as just case numbers. Instead, they do their best to understand the client’s problems and motivations. Most medical malpractice cases are traumatic, and it is essential to hire empathetic lawyers. Therefore, plaintiffs must be observant to see how they are treated by a lawyer and make a decision based on that.
The Right Resources
Medical malpractice cases often last for months, and having the right resources is extremely valuable. Victims of medical negligence must make sure that the lawyer or the law firm they hire has the right financial resources to cover the cost of trying their case. They should also have the proper human resources.
In addition to the qualities listed above, we always recommend that people hire lawyers with good character traits. Attorneys work for their clients and should treat them with a certain degree of respect. So speak to as many lawyers as possible before hiring one.
Don’t just accept everything a lawyer says. Ask tough questions and if they don’t respond appropriately, feel free to speak to another attorney. While there is the possibility of changing lawyers, it is not always an easy process once the case is underway.
Hire Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Miami
Individuals who have been harmed by a medical practitioner’s carelessness or negligence need to get the right medical malpractice lawyers to represent them. This is one of the more important decisions for a medical malpractice case. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our legal team has the required experience to represent victims of medical negligence.
Our Miami medical malpractice lawyers serve clients across Miami and offer a free consultation for new clients. We also speak English and Creole, enabling us to serve a large cross-section of clients. Give us a call at (561) 800-8000 and learn how we can help you.