Were you injured by a negligent physician in Fort Lauderdale? Let our 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. Jason and Debi Chalik can help locate witnesses, obtain medical records, and gather the necessary evidence to build your case.
Potential Compensation Available in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate a patient who has suffered an injury. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that 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.
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What can you Expect to Happen Over the Course of 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. Some of our other services include:
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
During your medical malpractice case, your attorney will obtain all of your medical records and bills that are relevant to the malpractice claim. Your attorney may also acquire all of your medical records of any 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.
Seeking Medical Expert Testimony
If your attorney believes that you have a valid malpractice case, your attorney will look for and hire an expert witness. Such a witness is needed in order 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.
Completing the Discovery Process
Your malpractice attorney in Fort Lauderdale will then file a complaint, after which the parties will engage in the discovery process. This is where each party conducts an investigation into the other side’s legal claims and defenses.
They send interrogatories, or questions, to each other and take depositions of witnesses in the case, starting with the plaintiff and defendant. In the event the case does not settle, it will go to trial.
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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 the Florida Bar.
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.
Statute of Repose
Florida 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 where 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 that one discovers that one is the victim of negligent conduct on the part of a doctor within four years of the malpractice. Our medical malpractice lawyers can determine your specific timeline.
A plaintiff must fulfill special filing requirements to bring this type of claim in Fort Lauderdale. A plaintiff must serve a “Notice of Intent to Sue” to the defendant before they can file in the civil courts.
This notice must include an affidavit signed by a medical professional. The notice sets a complicated settlement process in motion that will last 90 days. During this time, the courts pause the statute of limitations.
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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
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we know that medical malpractice is a type of personal injury accident in Fort Lauderdale. If you have reason to suspect a healthcare professional’s negligence or intent to harm involved in your recent injury or a loved one’s death, consider hiring a lawyer from our firm.
You could hold a Negligent Medical Facility Accountable
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 may have a case.
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, a plaintiff must prove the four elements of a negligence case.
Duty of Care
First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. So, the hospital, doctor, or other health care provider must have owed a duty of care to the patient.
Breach of Duty
Then, the patient must prove that the hospital or doctor breached that duty by failing to conform to the standard of care that is acceptable in the medical profession.
The patient then has to prove that a breach of duty caused an injury. The breach of duty must have been a direct or proximate cause of the injury.
As a proximate, or legal, cause, the injury must have been foreseeable to the defendant. 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.
Furthermore, the patient must prove that he or she suffered damages. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages.
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.
How do You know if You Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Case?
If you have suffered harm or injury because of poor treatment from a 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, the victim must show that 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 of 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 includes 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 professional 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 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 Medical Malpractice Attorneys can Review Your Case Today for Free
As patients, we assume our physicians, nurses, and surgeons take our care extremely seriously and aim to limit the number of mistakes made in hospitals and emergency rooms. Sometimes these 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, call our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice team today for a free consultation.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (954) 476-1000