NEGLIGENCE IN FLORIDA
Negligence, in the law, means a failure to act with the amount of care that an ordinary person with an ordinary amount of common sense would have used in the same circumstances. This definition is usually applied to what people do, but it can also apply to what someone does not do when they should have acted.
In Florida, most of the cases we see related to negligence come in two ways: medical malpractice and wrongful death. At Pazos Law Group, we can help you decide if you have a case and, if you do, help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
In the United States in 2017, malpractice insurance claims paid more than $3.8 billion dollars to patients who found themselves a victim of medical malpractice. Those numbers alone ought to show you just how common this is.
Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is when a doctor or medical professional does not provide the professional standard of care that is expected of their profession and causes injury or death as a result. In any medical malpractice case, your attorney will have to prove that the injury resulted from that lack of care.
Medical negligence is actually more common than you think. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical error should actually be recognized as the third leading cause of death in the United States, right behind cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, medical error is hard to track–something that researchers say should be something that the Centers of Disease Control should be actively tracking and reporting each year.
TYPES OF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
- Anesthesia Errors (awareness during surgery, wrong dose or incorrect drugs, failure to monitor a patient, etc)
- Emergency Room Errors (misreading test results, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medication errors, etc.)
- Hospital Malpractice (inaccurate diagnosis, patient neglect, wrong drug being administered, failure to follow hospital protocol, etc.)
- Medical Device Errors (misuse by doctors, faulty manufacturing or design, inadequate warnings to patients, etc.)
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis (failure to listen to patient, recognize symptoms, examine medical history, or order correct tests and interpret them correctly, etc.)
- Post-Operative Negligence (failure to monitor patients for symptoms of post-operative infections, failure to notice symptoms of complications like bleeding or injury, etc.)
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
According to Florida law, doctors and healthcare professionals have a responsibility, called a duty, to act in a way that is both reasonable and appropriate given the circumstances. So, a doctor friend’s answer to your question about a condition at a dinner out, for example, is not expected to be the same as their behavior if you came to their office and underwent tests for that same issue. In that formal medical setting, his or her duty is to help you medically resolve the issue. Failing to do that would be a violation of that duty under the law.
Did Your Doctor Fail to Care for You?
Because a medical professional has that duty of care, if they do not meet their responsibility to treat you, that is considered a breach of duty. One of the ways that the court decides whether or not your doctor has breached his or her duty is by comparing that behavior to what any other reasonable doctor would act the same way and offer the same level of care.
HOW CAN I BE COMPENSATED FOR MY INJURIES?
One of the challenging parts of a medical malpractice case is proving that what the doctor did was a breach of duty and was a result of negligence. To do that, you absolutely need a talented, experienced medical malpractice attorney. Florida law puts the burden of proof on the person bringing the claim against the doctor, to show that the not only did the medical professional fail to follow his or her duty but also that the injury was not an expected result of the medical care.
You must also prove causation, which means that not only do you have to prove that the doctor or medical professional failed to perform based on the duty of care expected of their profession, but you also have to prove that that failure caused the injury or damage. One example might be a failure of a doctor to diagnose a person’s cancer. If a doctor misdiagnoses a problem and leads a patient to believe that he or she does not have cancer, so no treatment is ever pursued, any damages or death as a result of that misdiagnosis would be the cause.
Wrongful death cases can be the result of a case of medical negligence, or can be the result of another type of incident. In general, a wrongful death case is brought by the survivors of a person who died because of the negligence of someone else. That negligence can happen in a number of ways, including:
- car accidents
- birth injury
- truck accidents
- medical malpractice
- workplace accidents
It doesn’t really matter whether recklessness or deliberate behavior caused the death. Either way, the attorney in a wrongful death case has to prove that a person had a responsibility to act in a certain way, failed to act that way, and that that failure caused the death and damage that resulted.
In Florida, the statute of limitations (or the time window in which you can file a lawsuit about a medical malpractice or wrongful death injury) is two years. After that, you won’t have the same ability to get damages for your paint, suffering, and loss.
CALL US ABOUT YOUR CASE TODAY
When you’ve suffered injuries or the death of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, the stress of a lawsuit can seem nearly impossible to handle. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to walk you through the process, answer your questions honestly, and help you decide what your best options are.
At Pazos Law Group, our team of personal injury attorneys can do just that. We believe that you should be treated like an individual, rather than a case number, and that our job is to help you move forward in the most positive way possible. Pazos Law Group is proud to make a difference in people’s lives. Let us see what we can do for you and your situation.
To schedule a confidential consultation, call (954) 719-5557 or fill out our online form below.