If you suffered harm while or after receiving care from a medical professional, you might have a claim for medical malpractice. A Vero Beach medical malpractice lawyer is here to help. There are additional factors we will have to prove, but we can talk with you and let you know if you might be eligible for money damages for your losses.
Call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at 855-529-0269 for a free consultation for medical negligence in Vero Beach, Florida. Our partners work directly with our clients. You will not feel like a number with us. We will treat you like family.
Florida Law on Medical Malpractice
We have to show all three of these elements to win a medical malpractice case in our state:
- Someone who meets the statutory definition of “health care provider” did something or failed to do something.
- The health care provider’s actions or inaction did not measure up to the prevailing standard of care for the provider’s profession.
- You suffered harm because of the substandard action or failure to act.
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The Prevailing Standard of Care
Florida law defines the “prevailing standard of care” for a medical malpractice action against a health care provider [Fla.Stat. § 766.102(1) (2018)] as: “[t]hat level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent health care providers.”
In other words, someone whom the court deems to be a reasonably prudent health care provider has to testify that the level of care, skill, or treatment you received was unacceptable or inappropriate when you consider all the facts of your situation and amounted to substandard care. The health care provider’s breach of the professional standard of care must be the thing that caused the harm you suffered.
An adverse outcome does not, by itself, impose liability on the health care provider. A patient can experience a complication or undesired result without any mistake on the part of the doctor or hospital.
Also, Florida law does not hold medical professionals and facilities to a standard of perfection. Human error is not medical malpractice unless it violates the professional standard of care.
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Parties That Meet the Definition of Health Care Provider in These Cases
For purpose of medical malpractice lawsuits, Florida law includes these individuals as health care providers:
- Licensed physicians and physician assistants
- Osteopathic (and osteopathic assistants), chiropractic, and podiatric physicians
- Licensed or registered nurses (registered nurses, nurse midwives, licensed practical nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses)
- Licensed midwives
- Licensed dentists and dental hygienists
- Any other health care professional or practitioner
Florida’s medical malpractice statute lists these entities and facilities as health care providers:
- Licensed birth centers
- Licensed ambulatory surgical centers
- Licensed hospitals
- Certified health maintenance organizations
- Health care professional associations or corporate medical groups
- Free clinics for low-income patients
- Any other health care or medical facility, including government contract and educational entities
Expert Affidavit Requirement
Before we can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, we have to complete a reasonable investigation of the facts. It is critical that you talk with us early enough for us to have time to conduct a proper investigation of the situation.
We must find that there are reasonable grounds to support a good faith belief that the defendants committed negligence when treating or caring for you. One of the ways that we satisfy this statutory requirement is to have an expert review your case and provide a written opinion that there was evidence of medical negligence.
Sometimes the court will allow a brief extension of time for us to complete the investigation, but you should talk with us as soon as possible. It takes time to get your medical records and have an expert review them.
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What You Can Recover in Your Vero Beach Medical Malpractice Case
We need to talk with you and investigate your claim before we can calculate how much you might receive in money damages for your losses.
Florida law allows successful medical malpractice plaintiffs to get compensation for their financial damages, like lost wages, medical bills, the cost of future treatment, long-term care, decreased earning potential, and disability. Plaintiffs who suffer physical harm can also receive compensation for their non-financial losses, like disfigurement, lost enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and a spousal claim for loss of consortium.
Statute of Limitations to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you think that you or a close relative was the victim of medical malpractice in Vero Beach, Florida, you should not delay. Florida does not give you much time to file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. If you miss the deadline, you can be barred from ever filing a case with the court to recover your losses from the negligence.
You usually only have two years from when one of these events happened, whichever happened last:
- The medical negligence occurred
- You discovered or should have discovered the medical negligence
Florida law imposes a statute of repose, which means that the absolute longest time you have to file a lawsuit is four years from the date of the incident, regardless of when you discovered the medical negligence.
If the health care provider prevented you from discovering the injury through fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact, the law will give you a little extra time to file the lawsuit, but even this rule has limitations.
Getting Help for Your Vero Beach, FL Medical Malpractice Claim
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, it is our honor to help people who have suffered harm because of the carelessness of others. Our driving goal is to help you rebuild your life. You do not have to pay us upfront legal fees because our fees will come out of the award at the end of the matter.