When you suffer an injury or fall ill, it’s natural for you to turn to a trusted medical professional for help. You expect them to take care of you, and to do all they can to help you bounce back from it. But this isn’t always the case, unfortunately.
If you’re in a situation where your doctor acted negligently or made a mistake, resulting in an injury or serious complication, you have the legal right file a medical malpractice suit to recover damages for your losses.
When to Sue Medical Malpractice in Florida
In Florida, you have two years within which to sue for medical negligence. In other words, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of you or your family member knowing that the injury happened due to medical negligence.
There’s also a “statute of repose” in Florida, another strict provision in the state’s civil laws. Under this provision, unless there’s misrepresentation, concealment, or fraud, the injured plaintiff cannot sue a healthcare provider more than 4 years after the occurrence of their injury. In essence, if you don’t realize that you were a victim of medical negligence after 4 years have passed, you cannot file a lawsuit or claim.
Florida’s Statutes of Limitations
In Florida, you‘ll need to serve a notice of intent to sue on the healthcare provider before you can sue in court. This notice signals the beginning of a settlement process lasting up to 90 days. If the healthcare provider indicates that they do not wish to settle, you’ll then have the remainder of the 90 days (or 60 day or whichever is longer) to sue.
You can also get an extra 90 days—so long as the statute of limitations period has not expired—if you file for an “investigation period” so you can find a medical expert to investigate the case.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Florida
It’s important to note that just because a doctor made a mistake does not mean they are liable. Be sure to contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney for an assessment on the viability of your case.
In addition, Florida’s legislature has instituted a number of measures that make it much more difficult for individuals to pursue compensation against healthcare providers. A thorough investigation of the facts, as well as detailed analysis of your medical records, will be required to prove the medical malpractice claim. You must also obtain a testimony supporting your claim from a licensed medical practitioner.
And since the “burden of proof” is with you, the plaintiff, you must show that some elements or facts were true. Regardless of what type of procedure, medical condition, or doctor is involved, the plaintiff must prove these basic elements:
Duty of Care
This is the first element you’ll need to prove to the court. On account of the doctor-patient relationship, your doctor is duty-bound to maintain the standards of their profession while treating you. That is to say, your doctor needs to act in the manner any reasonable, prudent doctor would under the same circumstances.
Breach of Duty
Breach of duty can be proven if you doctor veered from what’s expected of an individual in his/her profession. Basically, your doctor violated their duty to give you appropriate, thorough, and professional medical care.
You’ll also need to prove that your doctor’s violation of duty led to your injuries. For example, you’ll need to prove that their medical errors led to wrongful medication, wrongful surgery, or caused you losses.
Lastly, you’ll need to prove that your doctor’s negligence caused your losses. You can demonstrate this by showing proof of such things as your lost wages, medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.
Need Help? A Reliable Orlando Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Ease Your Fears
We must hold healthcare providers to a high duty of care, of course. When a doctor fails to provide a good standard of care, you deserve fair compensation if you get injured. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Dunaway Law Firm, P.A. can help strengthen your case and hold the liable parties to account.
If you believe you’ve got a medical malpractice case, don’t wait to take action. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.