For medical malpractice cases, attorneys who represent the plaintiff (the patient who has been injured by medical negligence) usually do so on a "contingency" basis, which means the attorney’s payment comes as a set percentage of what the plaintiff ends up receiving after a settlement or a successful jury trial. If the plaintiff receives no payment or ends up losing at trial, the attorney is not paid. But before you sign a contingency agreement, check to see if you will be on the hook for things like filing fees and other costs.
In most cases of medical negligence, you can only file a lawsuit with your doctor. Since most doctors are independent contractors, the hospital or facility is usually not liable. Sometimes other related health care professionals can be sued if they contributed to causing you harm. These professionals include nurses, lab techs or other medical specialists.
However, bringing a lawsuit is not for everyone. Weigh your options. If your fear of “looking bad” to family or friends outweighs your desire to bring a malpractice suit against your doctor for an injury he caused you or a loved one, bringing a suit may not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if your need or want to bring suit against your doctor outweighs your fear, taking action against your physician may be the right choice for you.
Suing a doctor for negligence requires much more than just filing a lawsuit in a Florida court. One of the prerequisites to filing a lawsuit against the doctor requires that you must first provide him or her with notice, indicating that you intend to file a lawsuit in the near future. A 90-day waiting period follows, during which the doctor may reject the claim outright, offer to settle the case, or ask to submit the case to arbitration.
In the mid 1990s the concept of a ‘gratuitous care’ award was developed by the High Court. Basically, if you can’t look after yourself or your house (or in some cases your children) because of your injuries, then you can claim the cost of a commercial carer or cleaner even though your family is doing the tasks you can’t do. For a while this was a very lucrative area of damages but now there are laws that place both a threshold and a cap on what you can claim. Put simply, you aren’t entitled to any gratuitous care award unless you need at least 6 hours of assistance per week for at least 6 continuous months and the hourly rate of any award is capped at the Average Weekly Earnings hourly rate. You should be careful, however, not to confuse gratuitous care with commercial care, which is a different claim for damages entirely and which is not the subject of thresholds or caps.
With the exception of a small minority of cases, the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations is a hard and fast rule. Consequently, if you fail to file a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice within the allotted time frame, you will be precluded from ever seeking monetary damages in your case. If you suspect that you sustained an injury or illness as a result of doctor negligence, you should contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group as soon as possible.
You must decide how you are going to fund the legal process. Most parties Personal Finance spoke to warned that the legal process is adversarial, long, arduous and emotionally and financially draining. How long it takes depends on the availability of court dates in a creaking, overloaded legal system. At your first appointment, your lawyer will give you a broad indication of the process involved and the likely costs. There are four options:
Although it is not unheard of for a doctor to alter medical records, it is extremely rare. If your doctor does alter your medical records, this fact alone will not irreparably harm your case. There have been major advances in forensic technology over the past years. It is now possible to detect changes in ink, spacing, and handwriting that may have been made by your doctor when he tried to alter your records.
People go to see the doctor when ill or after suffering a serious injury. When you make an appointment to see your doctor, you trust that the doctor will help to improve your condition or injury – not make it worse. Doctors and other healthcare providers hold people’s lives in their hands. Consequently, when providers make serious medical mistakes, they can and should be held responsible for their negligence.
In order to prosecute an action for a tort to recover damages one must prove (1) an injury (in the generic sense, physical, mental or loss of property) (2) the actor who injured you owed you a duty not to injure you and (3) you have damages as a result of the injury. In the medical malpractice area (which is the tort for which you can sue a doctor), you must also prove that the care provided fell below the standard of care in your locality.
3. Finally, hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities (e.g., burn units, specialized cardiac care units) must accept transfer patients from other hospitals if the specialized hospital has the capacity to treat them. This provision of EMTALA stops reverse dumping, where specialized hospitals won’t take indigent patients from other hospitals.
Once the claimant has satisfied the pre-suit investigation and notice requirements, the claimant may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Florida court system. In order to prevail in a medical negligence case against a doctor, the claimant has the burden of proof. This burden may be difficult to meet, given that there is often a presumption that the doctor acted reasonably and properly under the circumstances.
This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Each case is different and past record is no assurance that the lawyers will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case. Snyder & Snyder is a law firm with lawyers licensed to practice law in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The attorneys at Snyder & Snyder can also be specially admitted in those states where they are not licensed to practice. The lawyers at Snyder & Snyder are medical malpractice trial lawyers, who concentrate their practice in the following fields: Maryland Birth Injury, Maryland Cerebral Palsy, Maryland Brain Injury, Maryland Spinal Cord Injury, D.C. Birth Injury, D.C. Cerebral Palsy, D.C. Brain Injury, D.C. Spinal Cord Injury. *Some verdicts may have been adjusted after trial.
I was an RN and suffered serious and permanent harm from my cancer surgery. There were many errors, including my waking up during surgery, life-threatening infection, internal sutures that did not dissolve, renal failure, a collapsed lung after hospital discharge, abscesses and wound dehiscence. Years later, I am homebound and unable to work. I would be making $80-100,000/year now or more but am stuck barely above poverty on Social Security Disability. Since I and the various insurances have spent over $2 million for my care, and I do not have enough money to obtain all the care and medications I need, I am very unhappy. I have a potential new abscess now. It is a living horror, and the cancer may return. I am always in pain. No attorney would take my case. Even the failure to diagnose the cancer for years, with facts right there for every doctor I went to with my symptoms, isn't actionable. I am however, alive.
"The opinion upholding the judgment recognizes that although not every fiduciary relationship will give rise to a claim for damages, where the specific professional responsibility of an attending physician is to convey accurate information, then failure to do so can give rise to liability if the physician's breach results in unusual and extreme emotional distress on the part of the plaintiff," Raynes said in an email, according to AMN.
Many medical malpractice cases involve significant harm to the patient, the need for a long-term course of (very expensive) health care, and even the prospect of lifelong disability. Add that to the fact that you’re going to need to hire a qualified medical expert witness (an expensive but necessary step), and it’s easy to see how losing the case could be devastating.
In 2015, a Michigan doctor pleaded guilty to purposefully misdiagnosing patients with cancer and treating patients with strong cancer drugs they did not need. He also pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud, receiving kickbacks, and money laundering. The doctor is currently serving a 45-year prison sentence. A misdiagnosis that leads a healthy person to believe he or she is sick is a nightmare. This extreme example does showcase patient vulnerability and the trust they put in attending physicians.
So, the best thing you can do if you think you have a good case against a hospital is to be a good client. Before you meet with a lawyer, make sure you know as much of the story as possible. How was your life before the medical negligence occurred? How was it after? Do you have any medical records from the hospital where you were harmed? You may not be asked for them at the initial meeting, but keep in mind that the lawyer may need your medical records to determine if there is medical negligence and if so, if suing the hospital would likely result in a trial verdict or settlement.
Thank you for your comment, Ziggy. It might interest you that the Court's exact language was: "We do not regard the sending of truthful information pertaining to the criminal conviction of an admittedly rough-and-tumble labor official to his fellow union members, the placing of such a person under the kind of surveillance indicated in this record, or the sending of truthful information about his extramarital affair to his wife to meet the test [of outrageousness]."
For example, insurance companies will most likely consider injuries treated by a doctor or specialist to be more serious than injuries treated by a chiropractor. Insurance companies will also do their own reasoning to negate some of the most concrete concepts, like the length of treatment. If they think you didn’t need to your doctor for that last appointment, they will not include that time in the pain and suffering calculation.
There are two general types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering has to do with a medical malpractice victim’s actual physical injuries, i.e., his/her bodily injuries. It also includes conditions like scarring, disfigurement, and permanency of the malpractice victim’s injuries.
“I was very fortunate to have Richard Jaffe of Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, represent me in my case. Throughout the entire process, Rich was professional, always explaining every detail of my case. He was available whether it was through a phone call, text or email. Not only was Rich an extreme professional but he also kept it personal, not making me feel like a case number. I would highly recommend Richard Jaffe, his firm and all of his staff to anyone seeking diligent and professional results.”
All medical doctors owe their patients a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. This means that they must act as a “reasonable doctor,” who works in the same geographical area as the defendant doctor, would act under the same or similar circumstances. Doctors who are specialists are usually held to a nationalized standard of care when it comes to medical negligence cases.