Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have a responsibility to ensure their patients receive proper care. In fact, they are held to something known as the “acceptable standard of care,” which dictates that medical professionals must not take any action or commit any omission that another qualified provider would not have in the same or similar circumstances.
When healthcare providers fail to uphold this acceptable standard of care, patients can experience disastrous or even deadly consequences because of medical malpractice.
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When you see a doctor, you have the right to expect a certain level of treatment and care. If you were injured or if your loved one died, and you believe a medical professional’s error, negligence, or omission is to blame, contact Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. Since 1994, our Florida medical malpractice attorneys have been fighting tirelessly for the rights of victims and their families. To date, our firm has secured more than $300 million for our clients. We understand complex medical malpractice laws, and we have what it takes to aggressively advocate for you and your recovery.
What Is Medical Malpractice in FL?
In the simplest terms, medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to uphold the acceptable standard of care. This means they either did something another qualified medical provider would not have done or failed to do something another provider would have when treating a patient in the same or similar circumstances.
It should be noted that this does not mean medical providers can be held liable simply because a patient does not get better with treatment. A poor outcome does not necessarily indicate malpractice. Rather, the patient (or their surviving family members) must be able to prove that the healthcare provider was somehow negligent or provided substandard care, leading to the patient’s injuries and/or death.
Some common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Early discharge
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Failure to treat
- Failure to warn
- Hospital and emergency room errors
- Medication errors, including dosage errors
- Pharmaceutical mistakes
- Poor follow-up or aftercare
- Misanalysis or misinterpretation of lab, test, or diagnostic results
- Surgical errors
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose
Sadly, these and other forms of medical negligence can have devastating effects. Without proper treatment, patients’ conditions can worsen, leading to further complications.
Medical malpractice can result in many serious injuries, including:
In the most tragic of cases, patients may even die as a result of poor medical care.
The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. believe you and your loved one deserve justice for these unacceptable acts. Let us discuss your rights during a free consultation.
How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Case in Florida?
Experiencing a poor outcome after a proceedure or treatment is not necessarily enough to qualify as medical malpractice. There are numerous reasons why a medical condition might worsen without your doctor doing anything wrong.
To be considered medical malpractice, your claim must have one of the following characteristics:
- A violation of the standard of care
- An injury caused by negligence
- The injury caused significant damages
The team of Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. can review your case to see if you have a valid claim for medical malpractice. Schedule an appointment today by calling (954) 504-6577. With offices in Naples, Boca Raton, Hollywood, and Coral Springs, we serve clients across Florida.
How Do Medical Malpractice Cases Work in Florida?
Florida has several unique rules when it comes to filing medical malpractice claims and recovering compensation for damages.
Statute of Limitations
First and foremost, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is slightly different than other types of personal injury claims. You are required to begin a medical malpractice lawsuit within two (2) years of the date of injury or the date on which the injury was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered. However, you cannot file a lawsuit if more than four (4) years have passed since the date of injury, even if the injury was not discovered and could not have been discovered within four (4) years. Note that this does not apply in cases involving minors if a case is begun on or before the minor’s eighth (8th) birthday.
Notice of Intent
Another important difference between medical malpractice claims and other personal injury cases in Florida is that you must file a notice of intent in medical malpractice cases. This notice informs the healthcare provider that you intend to file a lawsuit. It must also include an affidavit of merit, which indicates that your medical malpractice claim is valid. Once you have filed the notice of intent, the healthcare provider has 90 days to decide if they want to settle the claim. During this time, the statute of limitations is “tolled,” or put on hold.
If the healthcare provider decides that they do not wish to settle the claim before the full 90 days, you have either 60 days or the remaining time allowed under the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, whichever is longer. You may request an “investigation period,” which allows you (or your attorney) to obtain a medical expert to investigate your case. An investigation period, if granted, will extend the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit by another 90 days.
Does Florida Have a Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages?
Florida used to have several different caps on medical malpractice damages. These caps depended on the circumstances of a case and, to this day, still technically exist in the state’s medical malpractice statute. However, these caps are no longer observed in practice.
Florida’s past caps on medical malpractice damages included:
- $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases involving injury due to practitioner negligence or injury
- $1,000,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases involving death or patients left in vegetative states due to practitioner negligence or error
- $750,000 or $1,500,000 in medical malpractice cases involving injury, vegetative state, or death due to nonpractitioner error or negligence
In 2017, the Florida Supreme Court found these caps to be unconstitutional. As a result, they generally do not apply in most medical malpractice cases in the state.
What Should You Do If You Suspect You or a Loved One Is the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
It can be very difficult to tell when an injury or a loved one’s death was the result of medical negligence. If you suspect that you or someone you care about received substandard care from a healthcare provider, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Florida. Not only do our attorneys know the law, but they also have a proven record of success handling complex medical malpractice cases. Our team has recovered several significant settlements and verdicts, including results over $1 million, in multiple high-profile cases.
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated and challenging types of personal injury cases. We strongly advise you to seek the help of a skilled legal team, one that can walk you through your options and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Although every case is different, and there is no way to guarantee an outcome, it’s important to work with a lawyer who has a history of success in this area of law. Skilled Florida medical malpractice attorneys can draw on past cases and work with a team of experts to ensure the best possible chance of success.
Choosing the Right South Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
As members of the community, our FL medical malpractice lawyers and staff at Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. are dedicated to improving the lives of all Florida residents and ensuring that negligent healthcare providers and other parties are made accountable for the pain, suffering, and harm they cause. We offer compassionate, client-centered service based on trust, integrity, and accessibility. We believe that communication is the cornerstone of a successful client-attorney relationship, which is why we make ourselves readily available to our clients when they need us most.
There are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs when you hire our firm. Instead, our medical malpractice attorneys in Florida only get paid if you do. If we do not secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay us a dime.
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