Were you or a loved one injured by a negligent physician? Let our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers can analyze every detail of your medical malpractice claim and advise you on legal options for moving forward. Our founding partners, Jason and Debi Chalik, can help you locate witnesses, obtain medical records, and gather the necessary evidence to build your case.
Potential Compensation Available in a Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Claim
Compensatory damages compensate a patient who has suffered an injury. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove a doctor’s negligence caused your injuries.
Damages usually address medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Caps on Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages compensate the patient for the pain and suffering that he or she has suffered. There used to be a $500,000 maximum on non-economic damages in these cases and a $1 million cap if the malpractice resulted in death. In June 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled this cap “unconstitutional,” abolishing it within the state.
Since Florida removed its damages cap on medical malpractice claims, claimants can now recover up to $1 million of non-economic damages, depending on the liable party.
There is a $500,000 limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits against defendants who are doctors. The cap rises to $750,000 in lawsuits against defendants who are non-practitioners, such as a corporate health care entity. The cap increases to $1,000,000 if the malpractice caused the plaintiff’s death or vegetative state.
Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys thoroughly understand the limitations the state placed on Florida medical malpractice suits. We can help you seek the maximum possible settlement under Florida law by identifying and pursuing all the responsible parties. For example, if poor medical practices caused your injury, you may be able to sue the doctor and the hospital where your procedure occurred.
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Near Me (954) 476-1000
What Can You Expect to Happen During Your Medical Malpractice Case?
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we understand the laws in this area and can help you navigate the complex legal system. We also offer free, no-obligation consultations to help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with your claim. If we take your case, we will handle all the legal footwork, including:
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
During your medical malpractice case, your attorney will obtain all your medical records and bills relevant to the malpractice claim. Your attorney may also acquire medical records for any other treatment you received that concerns your condition. This process can take months.
Upon receipt of medical records, your attorney will review them to determine whether you have a valid medical malpractice case. If so, they will also evaluate your records to establish the severity of your injuries and help calculate the overall value of your losses. These records will serve as evidence to prove your claim.
Seeking Medical Expert Testimony
If your attorney believes you have a valid malpractice case, they will hire an expert witness. Such a witness is needed for the case to proceed to trial.
In most instances, the medical expert is a doctor who practices in the same specialty as the defendant. The expert must analyze the medical records and find the defendant was negligent, causing your injuries.
A medical expert in the defendant’s field provides critical professional context and outlines standards of care for their area of practice. The goal of obtaining expert testimony is to prove your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s failure to adhere to established professional standards of care.
Completing the Discovery Process
Your malpractice attorney in Fort Lauderdale will then file a Complaint, which begins the lawsuit. Once the attorney files the lawsuit, the parties will engage in the discovery process. During discovery, each party investigates the other side’s legal claims and defenses. This includes a document review for each side’s evidence.
Each party’s legal counsel will send interrogatories, or questions, to each other and take depositions of witnesses in the case, starting with the plaintiff and defendant. Either side will use evidence gathered during the discovery process to support or defend their claims.
Once discovery is complete, attorneys will attempt to negotiate a settlement. Most cases settle out of court to avoid legal fees and costs; however, in some cases, a settlement cannot be reached. In the event the case does not settle, it will go to trial.
Chalik & Chalik Medical Malpractice Lawyer Near Me (954) 476-1000
Medical Malpractice Deadlines and Legal Requirements in Fort Lauderdale
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale, you must do so within two years of the date of the injury, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(b).
If you discover the injury later (i.e., a surgeon left an instrument behind during a surgery in 2015, but you did not discover it until it began causing medical complications in 2017), the clock doesn’t start ticking until you discover the injury.
In either case, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the injury occurs or is discovered. Your lawyer will need time to compile documents, obtain expert testimony, and file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
Statute of Repose
Per the Florida Bar, the state also has a statute of repose, which states that a patient may not file a medical malpractice claim against a health care provider after four years have elapsed since the date on which the malpractice occurred.
The only exception to this rule is when the hospital, doctor, or other medical provider engaged in fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation. In this case, the patient may still be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the four years have elapsed.
Therefore, it is imperative to confirm that you are the victim of negligent conduct on the part of a doctor or other medical practitioner within four years of the malpractice. If you discover your injury outside of this timeline, you may still have a valid claim. Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers can review your case and help you determine which timeline applies to your situation.
According to Florida Statutes § 766.106, you must serve a “Notice of Intent to Sue” to the defendant before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in civil court. The Notice includes a signed affidavit from a medical professional that establishes that:
- The defendant failed to meet the standard of care for their profession.
- The defendant’s failure to adhere to professional standards caused your injury.
By submitting the Notice of Intent to Sue, you set a 90-day settlement process in motion. During this time, the courts pause the statute of limitations, and both parties work to achieve a mutually agreeable settlement.
Our attorneys will aggressively defend your right to fair compensation during settlement negotiations. If we do not reach a fair settlement, we will proceed with the lawsuit after the 90-day settlement period has elapsed.
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Types of Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
The legal term “medical malpractice” refers to any situation in which a medical professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in the patient’s injury or death. Medical malpractice can take many shapes and forms, causing various injuries and complications.
From worsened prognoses and dangerous drug interactions to surgeons leaving instruments in the body cavity, many things can go wrong in the medical setting. Medical malpractice cases can involve:
- Delayed or misdiagnosis
- Childbirth injuries
- Medication mistakes
- Emergency room errors
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury accident in Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers are well-versed in Florida personal injury law, especially as it pertains to medical malpractice and professional negligence. If you have reason to suspect a healthcare professional’s negligence or intent to harm caused injury to you or someone you love, consider hiring a lawyer from our firm.
Wrongful Death Cases in Fort Lauderdale
If you lost a loved one due to a medical practitioner’s negligence, we are here to help you seek justice. Our Florida wrongful death attorneys can help you seek compensation to cover economic losses such as funeral, burial, and medical bills. We will also seek to hold the at-fault party accountable for non-economic damages you suffered because of your loss, including pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. Contact our compassionate attorneys today to discuss your legal rights.
You Could Hold a Negligent Medical Facility Accountable
While many medical malpractice cases focus on the individual doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner who was directly responsible for your injuries, you may also have a claim if the facility itself is guilty of negligence. For example, if a life-saving machine broke down due to lack of maintenance or an unsanitary facility contributed to your injury or illness, you can file a claim against the hospital or medical facility that is responsible for that machine.
A Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers will work to hold all the at-fault parties responsible for your injuries. We are not afraid to take on large medical facilities and insurance companies to seek fair compensation on your behalf.
For a free legal consultation with a Chalik & Chalik lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale, call (954) 476-1000
What Must a Plaintiff Prove in Order to File a Successful Medical Malpractice Claim?
In order to file a successful medical malpractice claim, you must prove the four elements of a negligence case.
Duty of Care
First, you must show that the health care practitioner or facility was responsible for your well-being, which means that they had a duty of care to act in your best interest. So, the hospital, doctor, or other health care provider must have owed you a duty of care in a professional doctor/patient relationship. The duty of care is based on established and recognized professional standards for that medical field.
Breach of Duty
You must then prove the hospital or doctor breached that duty by failing to conform to the standard of care that is acceptable in the medical profession. This breach of the duty of care can be caused by negligent actions, willfully malicious actions, or a failure to act in a way that is consistent with established professional standards.
You must establish that the medical practitioner’s breach of duty caused your injury, either directly or proximately.
To prove a proximate, or legal, cause, you must show the injury was reasonably foreseeable. In some jurisdictions, the doctor or hospital will also be held liable if their conduct was a substantial factor in causing the patient’s injury.
Finally, you must prove you suffered damages because of the injuries you suffered due to the health care practitioner violating their duty of care. These damages are called compensatory damages and include both economic and non-economic losses.
Among the economic damages are medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering. The non-economic damages consist of physical and psychological harm that cannot be directly quantified, such as emotional anguish and reduced quality of life.
How do You Know if You Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Case in Fort Lauderdale?
If you have suffered harm or injury because of poor treatment from a Fort Lauderdale medical provider or an error in diagnosis from your physician, then it is likely that you have a medical malpractice case.
Usually, the standard that is used to determine if a doctor was negligent is whether a competent doctor would have rendered the same type of care under similar circumstances.
You have a valid claim if the medical error committed by your doctor represents a breach of that standard of care and thus, rises to the level of medical malpractice. In order to prove medical malpractice, you must show the doctor exhibited negligence with respect to the diagnosis or treatment of your condition.
Forms of Negligence That Can Be Considered Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can include:
- Failing to diagnose an existing medical condition, which can worsen the illness
- Misdiagnosing an existing medical condition, which can complicate the condition and cause new injuries
- Surgical errors, which include operating on the wrong side of the body or leaving surgical tools in the operation site
- Medication errors, which include overmedicating and under medicating a patient or prescribing the wrong medicine
- Failing to consider a patient’s medical history
- Failing to advise the patient on how to take medicine or follow their treatment plan
- Improperly discharging a patient
If you experienced any of these errors, you may have a medical malpractice case against a liable party.
Potentially Liable Medical Professionals
You must have a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor who is being accused of medical malpractice. Common examples of medical professionals you may be able to hold liable for your injuries include:
- Nurse practitioners
- Medical assistants
- Medical facilities
When we investigate your case, we can help identify how negligence played a role in your injuries and who the liable party or parties are.
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
We offer free consultations so that you can understand your legal options and how much your Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice case may be worth.
There is no risk when calling us to discuss your potential case, as our consultations are obligation-free. You may discover you have more options than you thought.
Our Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Review Your Case Today for Free
As patients, we assume our physicians, nurses, and surgeons take our care extremely seriously. We expect medical professionals to limit mistakes in hospitals and emergency rooms. Sometimes medical errors don’t do any damage, but in other circumstances, medical malpractice can severely injure, maim, or even kill patients.
If you have been affected by one of these negligent practices, contact our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice team today for a free consultation.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (954) 476-1000