A Tampa medical malpractice attorney knows the oath every doctor must take. First, do no harm. But what happens if this duty is breached? Medical malpractice may have occurred.
Patients who are harmed by doctors that disregard this oath are left to cope with any physical, mental and emotional wounds suffered while also having to deal with mounting medical bills. These patients have a right to sue to recover damages for harm. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Tampa, FL will help you determine whether you have a claim.
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician fails to properly treat a medical condition and causes a new or aggravated injury to the patient. Compensatory damages may be awarded for economic damages such as medical bills or loss of earning capacity due to disability. Noneconomic damages may be awarded for the emotional and psychological pain and suffering. Punitive damages may also be awarded if causation is proven.
When the injured party brings a claim, the insurer has a duty of good faith under state statutory law to act in the best interest of the insured, not its own self-interest in settling a claim. If the insurer fails to do this, then the insured may also have a claim for bad faith.
Dale Swope, our firm’s founding partner, co-authored “Bad Faith Claims” in the Florida Medical Malpractice Handbook, 2nd Edition, Florida Bar CLE Manual (2009) with attorneys Shea Moxon and Celene Humphries.
When you hear, medical malpractice Tampa, you may think it would never happen to you or a loved one however, if you suspect that you, or a loved one, have been injured due to medical negligence, or that your insurer has unreasonably delayed settling your claim, our experienced tort attorneys can help you determine if you have a medical malpractice or insurance bad faith claim. Please contact us today.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
“Medical mistakes kill enough people each week to fill four jumbo jets,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital and developer of surgical check lists adopted by the World Health Organization. Checklists may help doctors and medical providers from committing medical malpractice and avoiding a medial malpractice lawsuit.
Diagnostic errors including delayed, incorrect and missed diagnoses, account for more lawsuits than any other medical error, the Journal of Family Practice’s September 2010 issue reported.
Over a decade ago, a landmark report published by the Institute of Medicine, entitled “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” suggested that as many as 98,000 people die each year in the U.S. as a result of medical errors – making this type of accident the eighth leading cause of death. Among hospitalized Medicare patients from 2007-2009, a HealthGrades, Inc. report found 79,670 potentially preventable deaths. A medical malpractice attorney is often left explaining to families how such medical negligence could occur when their loved one is no longer with them.
Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Cases
In 2014 the McCall decision, Estate of McCall v. United States, 134 So. 3d 894 (Fla. 2014) held that the wrongful death noneconomic damages caps in the medical malpractice statute was unconstitutional. Recently the Florida Supreme Court in North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan, No. SC15-1858 (Fla. Jun 8, 2017) extended McCall and effectively abolished all the caps in the medical malpractice statute. So there are no more caps in Florida for medical malpractice claimants any longer.
While most people would agree that people that are harmed by the negligence of their doctor deserve to be compensated, the cost of that compensation has become the subject of controversy. The best Tampa medical malpractice attorneys have one goal to fight on behalf of the patient or family member left behind and allow the doctor or insurance company to pay the cost of such compensation.
There is a widespread misconception propagated by lobbyists who have sought to place caps on damages that lawsuits are driving up the cost of health care and driving physicians out of practice. But researchers at Harvard University announced the results of a study in May of 2006 which found that most negligence claims involving medical error and serious injury were meritorious. 80 percent involved injuries that caused significant or disability or death. Most claims where there was no error were not paid. If there was a payment, they were significantly lower on average. Non-payment of claims where there was error appeared to be the bigger problem. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office calculates that medical malpractice insurance premiums account for less than 2 percent of health care spending.
How to Bring a Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
It’s important that the injured party files a medical malpractice claim before the time period of the statute of limitations
expires to avoid losing the opportunity to recover damages. For this reason you should contact a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer now. Under Florida Statute § 95.11, this is usually two years from the time the incident giving rise to the action “is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence . . .” The action should usually be commenced no later than four years from the date of the incident, except in cases where it can be shown that intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of any injury or in an action brought before a child’s eighth birthday.
Before a medical malpractice lawsuit can even be filed with the court, the plaintiff has to send a pre-suit notice to the doctor that he or she plans to bring a claim, which must be accompanied by an affidavit from an expert. The pre-suit stage is difficult because if the plaintiff’s expert cannot testify as to how the doctor breached the standard of care and why, the case will be dead in the water. However, if an expert is found and the pre-suit notice is served, both sides have 90 days of pre-suit discovery, which is a process by which a party requests information to discover more about the other party’s cases. By the end of this period, many cases are settled or dropped. If no settlement is reached, then the plaintiff needs to decide whether to file a case with the court. If the case is filed, it is up to a jury to determine if the doctor breached the standard of care and how much the injured party should be compensated.
If you would like to speak with a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer about filing a medical malpractice claim, please contact us.
American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. (n.d.). What is malpractice? American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from https://www.abpla.org/what-is-malpractice.
Estate of Mccall v. United States, 134 So. 3d 894 (Fla. 2014)
Florida State Legislature . (2021). Title VIII Chapter 95 Limitations of Actions; Adverse Possession. Statutes & constitution :view statutes : Online sunshine. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099%2F0095%2FSections%2F0095.11.html.
Harvard University. (2006, May 10). Study casts doubt on claims that the medical malpractice system is plagued by frivolous lawsuits. Harvard School of Public Health. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2006-releases/press05102006.html.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, Kohn, L. T., Corrigan, J. M., & Donaldson, M. S. (Eds.). (2000). To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. National Academies Press (US). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25077248/
North Broward Hospital District, etc., et al., v. Susan Katilan, Justia US Law (Supreme Court of Florida June 8, 2017). Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/florida/supreme-court/2017/sc15-1858.html.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, September 14). Hippocratic oath. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath.