Medical Malpractice FAQs
At Flaxman Law Group, we regularly get questions from clients who have suffered a misdiagnosis or harm in a medical setting. We’ve compiled this FAQ to help readers get the facts, but if you would like to discuss your potential claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
- What Is Medical Malpractice?
- What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
- Do I Have a Claim?
- Who Is Liable in My Medical Malpractice Claim?
- What Are the Challenges With Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?
- How Much is My Claim Worth?
- How Does a Medical Malpractice Claim Work?
- What Should I Do If I Think I May Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice occurs when medical professionals deviate from the standard of care established in their area of practice and cause injury to a patient. Not all negative medical outcomes are medical malpractice. Malpractice must involve a health care provider or health facility that is negligent and provides substandard care.
Medical malpractice claims are civil legal actions patients can file if they have been injured by the negligence of a medical provider. These claims allow injured patients to seek financial recovery for their losses, which can include medical care, lost wages, and other damages.
Medical malpractice claims can happen after any situation in which adequate medical care was not provided, but many claims stem from:
- Failure to treat
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Birth injury
- Prescription drug errors
- Premature release from medical care or the hospital
- Wrong site surgery
- Surgical errors
- Errors in the emergency department, including errors pertaining to triage, treatment, care, and diagnosis
- Items left in a patient after surgery
Medical malpractice can take many forms. A doctor may use excessive force during a birth, causing injury to a baby. A physician may fail to get medical records for a patient or check dosages of medication or fail to order required tests. If a physician or medical professional fails to take action that another doctor in the same situation would see as necessary, the situation may involve medical malpractice.
You may have a claim if you can prove that a doctor, medical facility, or healthcare provider did not offer a reasonable standard of care which is expected of that care provider. You must also prove that the doctor or hospital had a duty of care and injuries resulted from their negligence.
There may be multiple liable parties in a medical malpractice claim. Such a claim may be filed against:
- A primary care doctor
- A surgeon
- A specialist
- An emergency department and emergency room staff
- A nurse or number of nurses
- A pharmacy or pharmacist
- A doula or other birthing professional
- A hospital or medical facility
- A laboratory or facility offering testing, imaging, or interpretation of test results
A diagnosis can pass through multiple providers, labs, technicians, and other professionals, so you may want to work with a medical malpractice injury attorney to help determine who was responsible for your injury.
Often, it is difficult for a patient to determine whether a bad outcome was an honest mistake or a deviation from expected standards of care. Doctors and medical facilities often do not provide detailed records and information to a patient which would help prove negligence took place, and medical providers are protected by powerful attorneys and insurance companies.
Just determining whether malpractice took place and then facing such defendants in a claim may be daunting. For this reason, working with a medical malpractice injuries attorney can be useful. An experienced attorney understands how insurance companies and hospital legal teams work. An attorney representing you can subpoena hospital records and can work with medical experts to determine whether a provider failed to meet basic standards of care.
The worth of your claim will depend on a few factors, including the severity of your injury, your financial losses, and your expected future medical losses related to your injury. If you have a claim, you may be able to seek compensation for:
- Lost income
- Current and future expected medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs and support costs
- Incidental costs
- Pain and suffering
The more serious your injury and the longer the duration of the injury, the more you can expect to seek. For example, if a serious birth injury has caused severe, permanent injury for a child, the family can seek compensation for a lifetime of care for the child. If you’re not sure how much your claim may be worth, speak with a medical malpractice claims attorney who is experienced in properly evaluating claims.
A claim usually begins with a visit to a personal injury lawyer with experience in medical malpractice claims. If you and your attorney agree to move forward with the claim, your attorney will file the claim after determining the liable parties. Filing the claim lets all defendants know about the claim and gives them a chance to respond.
During the discovery process, all parties will gather and share information and evidence relevant to the case. Your attorney will handle all negotiations and will review any offers the defendants make. If you cannot reach a settlement, you and your attorney also have the option of taking your case to court, where a trial will determine financial recovery. After a decision is made, parties may also take advantage of the appeals process. Ultimately, however, whether through a settlement or a trial, a decision will be made about the compensation, if any, you are entitled to.
If you have had a bad medical outcome, have been injured while getting care, or are facing a delayed or missed diagnosis, gather as much documentation as you can. Keep copies of your medical records, write down as much as you can remember from medical appointments, and keep receipts of any expenses related to your injury (such as additional medical care you needed). Documentation may help prove negligence.
You will also want to contact a medical malpractice claims attorney as soon as possible after the injury. If a breach of ethics or standards of care has taken place, a hospital, clinic, or medical professional may take steps to limit liability. You will want your attorney involved as soon as possible to secure as much evidence as possible to prove your claim.
If you are looking for an experienced medical malpractice claims attorney in Miami, Homestead, Hollywood, or anywhere in South Florida area, contact Flaxman Law Group. Our legal team has more than 60 years of combined experience and has recovered over $100 million on behalf of our clients so far. Our goal is to be there and treat you with respect and compassion as we seek fair financial recovery for injuries. You can always contact us for a free consultation. Even if you’re not sure you have a claim, a free, no obligation consultation with our team carries no risk and helps you understand potential options.