If a licensed health care professional has betrayed your trust by providing substandard care that left you feeling worse after you were released from a local hospital, the experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Shaked Law Firm fight for your rights, health, and future.
Am I entitled to compensation?
After receiving substandard care or having been misdiagnosed by a physician, a patient may have the right to compensation obtained on their behalf by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. In order to compensate the victim to the full extent the law allows, it's imperative that a victim's chosen medical malpractice lawyer has seen the inside of a courtroom hundreds of times alongside their clients.
However, before a victim can be compensated for their pain and suffering, there are certain requirements that must be met to satisfy the laws of what constitutes a medical malpractice claim. As previously stated, medical malpractice is among the most serious claims a patient can make against a doctor, and they must be substantial to the letter of the law before a judge can award just compensation.
Read on for a better understanding of what's considered medical malpractice in the state of Florida.
Healthcare patients in Florida are entitled to safe, reasonable, and timely medical care
When it comes to healthcare, patients in the state of Florida have rights. These rights are clearly defined in The Patient Bill of Rights furnished by HIPAA.
The Patient Bill of Rights under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) there are eight sections dictating patient rights that are explained as follows:
- Information for patients
- Choice of plans and providers: patients have the right to choose their doctors, hospitals, and medical facilities
- Access to emergency services: patients have the right to be treated in an ER setting regardless of insurance policy, stabilized and transferred to a facility that accepts their insurance
- Taking part in treatment decisions: if the patient is of sound mind and is not under the care of a legally appointed caregiver such as a loved one with power of attorney, they reserve the right to refuse or accept treatment based on their personal beliefs and values regardless of the outcome
- Respect and non-discrimination: race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion
- Confidentiality of your health information: physician-patient confidentiality
- Complaints and appeals: patients reserve the right to file a complaint with HIPAA if they feel they did not receive the standard of care required by law
- Consumer responsibilities
What's considered medical malpractice in the state of Florida?
1. Failure to diagnose: this is self explanatory, but there are patients who still don’t know that NOT being diagnosed can be just as injurious as a wrong diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, the patient can’t receive the proper treatment needed to restore their health and return their quality of life. This can lead to worsening of symptoms, progression of illness, and in extreme cases the patient can even lose their life from lack of treatment. It must be proven in a court of law that a more competent physician could’ve discovered, diagnosed, and treated the illness in a way that could have saved the patient’s health (or their life).
2. Failure to provide treatment: failure to provide treatment could mean several things: if a competent physician could be proven to have provided the same treatment the negligent doctor provided, but in a way that was considered more reasonable (dosing, length of treatment, no delays in treatment), then the physician may be liable. Failure to provide treatment can also be a factor if a more reasonable physician would’ve provided a treatment that could’ve restored the health of the patient, or at least prevented them from deteriorating and the negligent doctor did not pursue such an option. Both of these factors could be grounds for medical malpractice.
a physician is required by law (and because they took an oath to “do no harm”, to warn the patient of any known risk factors, big or small, that come with the treatment they are providing them. These risk factors can range from simple and treatable side effects such as headache or dizziness, to more severe side effects such as infections, swelling, blood clots, and death. We hear these side effects disclosed in drug and medical procedure commercials regularly, but it’s the physician’s duty to explain to the patient everything that could potentially occur over the course of their treatment. Failure to do so (if the doctor knew they were withholding the information) could result in a medical malpractice claim being filed against the doctor.
What’s required for a medical malpractice claim in Florida?
To file a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider in the state of Florida, the following criteria must be satisfied to the letter of the law:
- A physician-patient must have existed: if a patient has been seeing the provider on a regular basis, and they have been treated for the diagnosed condition for a period of time, the doctor-patient relationship is thusly established therein. There are some cases that do not satisfy this requirement. One example would be a situation where a patient was treated indirectly by a physician; this would imply the patient does not have a direct doctor-patient relationship with the third-party physician, and therefore this requirement is not met.
- Negligence on the doctor’s part: for a successful medical malpractice claim a victim and their medical malpractice lawyer must be able to show that a healthcare provider caused irreparable harm or acted injuriously in such a way that they suffered permanent consequences directly due to the actions of the doctor. We trust our physicians to meet the standard of care and to uphold the Hippocratic Oath they took upon graduating medical school. When they fail to do so, it’s the patients who suffer at their negligent hands. If there is any discrepancy as to whether the doctor in question acted in a negligent manner, a medical expert will be called in either during trial or deposition, to determine whether this requirement is satisfied.
- Did the physician cause injury? This one is a little more complicated than the previously stated criteria that need be satisfied in order file a medical malpractice claim in Florida. We normally go to the doctor when we’re sick or already suffering from some kind of injury. That's why it's necessary to prove that the physician treating the initial symptoms was the cause of the injury or illness worsening post-treatment, and that it was not the original, underlying condition that caused the patient to suffer further while being under the doctor's care.
- The injury caused irreparable harm or damage to the patient: Negligence in and of itself does not satisfy the requirements for filing a strong medical malpractice claim. The victim who has become injured by the physician must prove that because of the doctor’s actions (or lack of action if treatment was not provided in a timely manner, or at all, thusly causing further health complications or worse–wrongful death) they suffered specific, permanent injury.
How do I retain the right medical malpractice lawyer?
Stay away from firms with younger lawyers at the forefront. A lawyer with a track record for passing their clients off to other lawyers after the initial consultation is a red flag to find another firm as quickly as possible as well. The best medical malpractice lawyers are senior attorneys with years of hands-on experience dedicated to their clients from the initial consultation, throughout the recovery process on the medical side, all the way down the road to trial if necessary.
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