The short answer is no, you cannot sue a doctor for pain and suffering. You can sue for medical malpractice, however, and be awarded damages for pain and suffering.
If you believe that you have a claim against a medical professional for malpractice in Florida, you must keep in mind that Florida law imposes limitations, mainly time limits, and also requires some complicated prerequisites for filing a lawsuit.
We understand how overwhelming this type of situation can be. It is important for you to understand the facts and details of medical malpractice. Continue reading to learn more.
Overview of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice includes any legal action against a medical professional or doctor for medical error or negligence. Typical malpractice claims are:
- Misdiagnosis of the patient
- Failure to diagnose an illness or injury
- Poor performance of a surgery or treatment
- Performing the incorrect procedure on a patient
- Unsterile operating room or surgical equipment
- Ignoring or neglecting a patient
- Releasing a patient too soon from a medical care facility
- Injuries to a mother or infant during birth
Accidents do happen, but a medical error should be investigated to ensure that practitioners are conducting themselves according to the standards of a medical professional. Death, grievous bodily harm, disfigurement, scarring, and pain have all been the result of malpractice.
Mistakes, unfortunately, can even be made by good doctors. If you have a valid claim to medical practice, you may be able to receive compensation for damages, including pain and suffering.
Prerequisites for Filing a Malpractice Lawsuit
There are prerequisites that you must follow before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Failing to accomplish these prior to filing could result in your claim being dismissed, delayed, or missing the deadline to file.
According to the Florida Bar, there is a limit to the amount of time you have to file a claim. Generally, you have two years from the date the malpractice was discovered. Both prerequisites put a “toll,” or stop, to the time clock for 90 days each.
In Florida, you must give the doctor notice that you intend to file a lawsuit and an investigation by all necessary parties, including:
- The claimant (you)
- The doctor
- The doctor’s insurer
After the notice has been given, the doctor has 90 days to respond with their intention to settle, reject, or submit the claim to arbitration.
During the investigation process, also 90 days, you can hire a medical professional to provide proof of medical error or the doctor’s negligence. After careful review of medical records, the medical professional, typically an expert in the same field, will be a witness and provide an expressed opinion concerning the defendant’s negligence.
Accountability in a Malpractice Claim
Any person who administers medical care can be held liable in a malpractice claim. This includes:
There are some cases where a non-practitioner, someone who does not have a license to conduct medical procedures, has been found responsible for medical malpractice. The penalty in these situations is severe, and you may be entitled to further compensation.
Medical Malpractice is a Leading Cause of Death
In 2016, an estimated 250,000 deaths were the result of medical error. That ranks medical malpractice as the third largest killer in America and outnumbers what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls the third leading cause of death—respiratory disease.
Common Damages You Can Collect During a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
After investigation, if you do have a legitimate claim for medical error, you could be to sue for compensation for your damages. The common damages are:
- Medical Care: Hospital stays, ambulance transportation, treatments, surgeries, medication, follow-up care, medical scans such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans
- Lost Wages: Any lost income from missing work including future wages, missed opportunities for advancement if not able to return to work
- Pain and Suffering: Physical pain from your injuries and mental anguish suffered from loss of enjoyment of life
- Therapy: Physical therapy for rehabilitation of injuries or psychological therapy for PTSD
- Punitive Damages: Not common, but if the medical professional’s conduct was intentional, malicious, or reckless
- Wrongful Death: If you lost a loved one due to malpractice
Economic damages are actual money lost because of the incident. These types of damages, such as medical bills, are able to be calculated. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are awarded by a jury that will evaluate the extent of your injury or loss.
If you or a family member have been a victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation to recover your losses. Call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (855) 529-0269 today for a free, no-risk consultation regarding your case.