Medical errors are a serious problem in this country, often coming with grave consequences and hefty price tags. Each year in Florida, between 3,000 and 5,000 patients lose their lives due to medical malpractice, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank. At the high end of that estimate, these fatalities supersede those attributable to AIDS, breast cancer, and homicides combined in the state.
Not only is malpractice deadly, but it is also costly. As per the New England Journal of Medicine, the annual cost to society from medical malpractice—including lost income, disability, and health care costs—is estimated to be between $17 and $29 billion.
In the event a doctor makes a mistake while treating you, you may have legal options that an intelligent Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer could help you take advantage of. A capable personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek compensation if you were hurt by or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice.
Defining Medical Malpractice
When a patient is harmed by a doctor’s or another health care provider’s actions or inactions, medical malpractice may have occurred. It is important to note, however, that not all mistakes in the medical realm are considered malpractice.
Generally, two conditions must be present in order for medical malpractice to have taken place. There must be negligence, meaning that the health care provider did not abide by the standard of care for their profession, and the negligence must result in quantifiable harm to the patient.
When a medical malpractice case is tried in court, these factors must be proven in order for the patient to receive a judgment award. A seasoned attorney in Clearwater should be well-equipped to help an individual patient establish the facts of their medical malpractice case.
Deadlines for Filing a Claim
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, time is an important factor. As per Florida Statutes § 95.11, potential malpractice plaintiffs have a time limit of two years from the date the injury was discovered—but not more than four years from the date the medical error occurred—in which to file a civil lawsuit in court.
The only exception to this rule is if the provider attempted to fraudulently conceal the error so that the patient would not discover it. In this case, the plaintiff has two years from the date the injury was discovered or a total of seven years from when the malpractice happened to file their lawsuit.
Hiring a knowledgeable Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer may help ensure that a plaintiff has their medical malpractice case filed within the mandated time frame. If a case is filed outside of that deadline, it would more than likely be thrown out by the court, and the prospective plaintiff would forever lose their right to recover for their damages.
Getting Legal Help from a Clearwater Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you were harmed by a medical professional and believe medical malpractice may have occurred, a compassionate medical malpractice lawyer in Clearwater may be able to seek compensation on your behalf. Your attorney could review the pertinent facts surrounding your situation and injuries to determine if your case may have legal standing.
If so, they could send a strongly worded demand letter to the defendant. If this letter does not result in a satisfactory settlement, they could pursue taking your case to court. Either way, a dedicated Clearwater attorney could be of assistance at every stage of the process, so reach out today to learn more about getting legal help after medical malpractice.