We collectively expect doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide us with 100% perfect care and attention. They have a duty to care for us when we are injured. However, not every medical professional does things properly, and it’s possible to be injured when you least expect it.
If you or a loved one have been injured because of the inattention or negligence of a medical professional, read on. We’ll explore when you need a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida and why.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is any situation when a hospital, doctor, or healthcare provider causes an injury to a patient through a negligent act or omission. “Negligence” in a legal sense means that a caregiver or medical provider:
- Had a standard or duty of care to a patient
- Violated that standard of care
- Caused an injury by violating the standard of care
For example, a nurse might ignore the note a doctor left regarding patient medication. Then, the nurse gives the patient the wrong medication, leading to injuries.
Alternatively, a surgeon might show up to a surgery under the influence of alcohol and then make a mistake during the surgical procedure. The error caused significant physical damage to the patient. In these cases and more, victims of medical malpractice injuries could have grounds for successful lawsuits.
What Is a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice lawyer is a specialized legal professional with experience and knowledge relating to medical malpractice cases. If you want to sue a medical provider for injuries you sustained under their care, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you file the lawsuit and much more.
Many medical malpractice lawyers have several specialties. For example, they might be general personal injury attorneys and handle medical malpractice cases for some clients. Be sure to research the case areas for each Tampa injury lawyer in your local area to hire the right legal professional.
When Is a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Helpful?
A Florida medical malpractice lawyer can be highly beneficial in various circumstances.
You Want to File a Lawsuit
First and foremost, if you want to file a lawsuit against a healthcare provider or medical professional, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you do that. They’ll know what paperwork you should file, when you need to file the paperwork to avoid the statute of limitations, and so on.
You Don’t Know if You Should File a Lawsuit
You may have been injured while in the medical care of a healthcare provider but don’t know whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer in Tampa can explore your legal options and determine whether you have grounds for a successful lawsuit.
You Need to Defend Against Malpractice Claims
A medical negligence lawyer may also be helpful if you are a practicing doctor or medical healthcare provider and a patient claims that you injured them inadvertently or intentionally.
If the claim is false, a medical malpractice attorney can defend you successfully in court and prevent you from having to pay significant damages. Most medical malpractice attorneys that defend doctors are paid for by the doctor’s malpractice insurance carrier, assuming they had the foresight to carry medical malpractice insurance.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice in Florida?
In addition to those services, a medical malpractice lawyer in Tampa can help you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations is the time limit for your option to press a claim against a medical provider. If it expires, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit, no matter what evidence you have.
In Florida, the medical malpractice statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the harm done (e.g., the date you received the injury). There are a few exceptions, however:
- You have up to four years from the initial occurrence of the medical malpractice incident if the malpractice action or injury wasn’t immediately discoverable—for example, you didn’t know you were injured until a year or two year after the fact)
- If fraud or concealment is discovered, a patient has another two years from the time of discovering the fraud or concealment to file a medical malpractice claim
Despite these exceptions, no malpractice lawsuit can be filed if the malpractice incident occurred more than seven years prior.
The Benefits of Hiring Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Tampa
When you hire experienced medical malpractice lawyers, you’ll see several significant benefits from their services right away. These benefits include:
- Your lawyers will provide you with sound legal counsel by answering any questions you might have and help you determine the best course of legal action going forward. For example, in some situations, arbitration might be a better choice compared to a full-on lawsuit (so you have a better chance of getting a settlement)
- Your lawyers can gather evidence for you while you recover from your injuries. This is very beneficial if your injuries are severe. In addition, lawyers know what to look for and what evidence will be effective in court
- Skilled lawyers can represent you in court and ensure that your evidence is presented compellingly to result in a favorable judgment
- Lawyers provide you with peace of mind. With the right attorneys helping you from day one, you’ll know that you are doing everything you can to recover maximum compensation and cover your medical bills and additional fees.
- Lawyers can also help you by making certain that you follow the Florida Statute Chapter 766 that governs medical malpractices cases. There are unique and nuanced rules that must be followed or your claim could be forever barred.
Recent Changes to Florida Malpractice Lawsuit Laws
It’s also a wise idea to have knowledgeable malpractice attorneys working for you because of recent changes to the malpractice lawsuit process in Florida.
In short, before you can file a medical malpractice claim, you have to have a medical expert file a written opinion corroborating your claim of malpractice. Florida laws limit who can serve as a sufficient medical expert. An expert witness must:
- Have worked or consulted in the same or similar health profession as the provider being sued OR taught the same or similar profession to students in an accredited health professional school or residency program OR been part of a clinical research program in the same or similar field
- Have completed one of the above requirements in the three years before the alleged malpractice
It is now harder to successfully sue a healthcare provider for malpractice, as you’ll need to find a sufficient medical expert to corroborate your claim (something that was already tough enough). Knowledgeable attorneys can help you find such an expert and ensure that they write an effective statement for your goals.
Read more in our blog: The Personal Injury Laws Changes in Florida 2023
Get in Touch with Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
The right medical malpractice lawyers can ensure you file your lawsuit on time and with the right evidence. With their assistance, you could recover damages to pay for past and future medical bills, income lost from time away from work, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Hunter Law is well-equipped and ready to provide you with Tampa medical malpractice legal services when you get in touch today.