If a doctor, hospital, or another healthcare professional or facility made a mistake that harmed you, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims have additional elements that other personal injury claims do not have. A West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your specific situation and help you pursue compensation for your injuries, losses, and other expenses.
The Elements of Medical Malpractice
Florida law requires us to prove all four of these elements of medical malpractice to hold someone liable for your losses:
- The person or facility that harmed you must fall within the statutory definition of health care provider for purposes of medical malpractice.
- The healthcare provider must have either done or failed to do something that contributed to your damages.
- The healthcare provider’s actions or failure to act did not satisfy the prevailing standard of care for the provider’s profession. In other words, you received substandard medical care.
- You experienced harm because of the substandard medical care you received.
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Understanding the Prevailing Standard of Care
Florida Statue 766.102(1)(2018) defines the “prevailing standard of medical care” 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.”
We can satisfy the court’s requirements on this matter by enlisting the aid of a medical professional who will testify that the level of care, skill, or treatment you received was inappropriate or unacceptable when you look at all the facts of your situation. If this breach of the standard of care caused the harm you experienced, you can pursue compensation for your damages on the grounds of medical malpractice.
Who Can Be a Healthcare Provider
Many individuals can be healthcare providers for purposes of medical malpractice, including:
- Licensed physicians
- Licensed physician assistants
- Licensed midwives
- Licensed podiatric physicians, chiropractic physicians, osteopathic physicians, and osteopathic assistants
- Licensed or registered nurses, including nurse midwife, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, and advanced practice registered nurses
- Licensed dentists and dental hygienists
- Any other healthcare practitioner or professional
Many different facilities can be considered healthcare providers, as well. This includes:
- Licensed hospitals
- Licensed ambulatory surgical centers
- Licensed birth centers
- Certified health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
- Free clinics for low-income patients
- Healthcare professional associations or corporate medical groups
- Any other medical or health care facility, including educational and government contract entities
Requirement of Good Faith
The law requires us to complete a reasonable investigation of the facts before we file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Speak with a West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to ensure there is enough time to perform the investigation before the deadline for filing the case.
The Deadline for Medical Malpractice in Florida
In general, you only have two years to file your lawsuit from the date on which the medical negligence occurred or the date on which you discovered or should have discovered that negligence, whichever happens last. If you miss the deadline, you may lose the right to ever go after compensation for your losses.
In addition to these general limits, Florida law also features a statute of repose for medical malpractice cases. This rule sets the absolute deadline for filing a malpractice action to four years after the negligence occurred, no matter when you actually discover or should have discovered the problem. This means that the final deadline could pass before you develop complications.
There are some exceptions to these regulations, such as when a child is the victim of medical malpractice or the healthcare provider committed fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact to prevent you from discovering the injury. A West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer can explain these exceptions to you in further detail when you call to discuss your case.
Damages for a West Palm Beach, FL, Medical Malpractice Case
Every case is different, and the damages you can collect will depend on the facts of your situation. We need to talk with you and investigate your claim before we can calculate a reasonable amount of compensation for your case.
In a successful malpractice lawsuit, you can collect damages for financial losses like:
- The medical bills you incurred because of the mistake
- Lost income, which can include wages, salary, average tips, self-employment, and other income because of the negligence
- Decreased earning capacity
- The cost of future treatment you need because of the error
- Long-term care
Depending on your facts, you might also get compensation for you non-financial losses, like:
- Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress the mistake caused you
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
How to Get Legal Help for Your West Palm Beach, FL Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you or a loved one were the victim of medical malpractice in West Palm Beach, our team may be able to help. At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we want to assist you during this difficult time. Call us today at 561-899-5020 for your free consultation.