West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Florida residents and visitors, seek out medical assistance by going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room when they are sick or injured. Medical professionals are here to assist with health related issues. Most of the time, the medical patient receives proper medical care and feels better after a short time. However, sometimes the medical professional fails to provide a standard of care expected to be provided by the medical community.
When medical professionals fail to provide adequate care or make mistakes that lead to a patient's injury or death, it is time to call a Palm Beach County Medical Malpractice Lawyer to discuss the facts and determine if you have a valid malpractice claim. The Law Office of Roger P. Foley is available when you need help.
- Common Categories of Medical Malpractice in West Palm Beach and Throughout the State of Florida
- How Do You Define Medical Negligence in Palm Beach County and Throughout Florida?
- How Do I Know if I Have a Good Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit?
- What Are Some Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in West Palm Beach and Throughout Florida?
- What Are Some Common Types of Pediatric Medical Malpractice in Palm Beach County, Florida
- What Is Meant by The Recognized Standard Duty of Care In Florida Medical Negligence Cases?
- What Are The Preliminary Steps to Filing A Medical Malpractice Case in West Palm Beach, Florida?
- What Is Pre-Suit Investigation in a Medical Malpractice Case?
- What Happens When Medical Malpractice Causes a Wrongful Death?
- My Adult Son/Daughter Was a Victim of Medical Negligence That Resulted in Their Wrongful Death, Can I as The Parent File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against The Doctor or Medical Facility?
- How Do I Prove a Medical Malpractice Claim in West Palm Beach and Throughout the State of Florida?
- How Do Negotiate the Value of a Medical Malpractice Case in West Palm Beach and Throughout Florida?
- How Are Settlement Payments Made to the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
- If My Florida Medical Malpractice Case Does not Settle Then How Do I File a Lawsuit Against the Medical Provider? Please Explain the Process
- What Are Three Types of Financial Compensation Requested in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?
- How Do I Pay for a West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer if I Don’t Have Money?
- What Is The Statute of Limitations in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases?
Common Categories of Medical Malpractice in West Palm Beach and Throughout The State of Florida:
- Diagnosis related medical malpractice: This happens when a healthcare professional provides an incorrect diagnosis or fails to diagnose a condition entirely.
- Treatment related medical malpractice: This is when a healthcare professional provides sub-par treatment that causes injury or death.
- Procedure related medical malpractice: This is when a healthcare professional performs a procedure incorrectly, causing the patient to be injured.
If you believe that your health has been compromised as the victim of such an act and are looking into hiring legal representation – “Just Call Me” Attorney Roger P Foley. There are no upfront fees. We are paid only if we succeed in collecting money on your case.
How Do You Define Medical Negligence in Palm Beach County and Throughout Florida?
Medical negligence refers to the actions committed by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals that do not meet an accepted standard of care- this means they miss something important or did things wrong while caring for you!
Medical negligence occurs when a physician fails to meet the standard of care, thus breaching their duty towards patients. Yet, medical negligence does not always mean that you have a medical malpractice case.
Medical negligence does not automatically mean that medical malpractice occurred. For Malpractice to occur, the medical action or inaction must have caused the injury. In legal terms, the medical professional must have caused the damages. It may be difficult to determine whether the facts of your case meet the medical malpractice standard. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult with personal injury.
If you have a medical malpractice case, a Palm Beach County medical malpractice lawyer will strive to reach a favorable settlement or verdict.
How Do I Know If I Have a Good Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit?
Medical malpractice attorneys receive many potential cases each year. Of those potential cases, they only choose to pursue a very small percentage of cases. Attorneys must examine several factors to determine if they can be successful in a malpractice case.
- Initial consultation with client. Discussing the matter with client and/or family provides the attorney with some idea of whether or not there is a case. In this step, the lawyer is trying to determine whether the medical provider:
- Failed to adhere to the recognized standard of care,
- Whether the injury was a direct result of the recognized standard of care not being followed,
- Whether this failure caused significant or catastrophic injuries to the patient
If these criteria are met then there is a very good possibility that you have a medical malpractice case. However, most cases end at step one.
- Collecting all medical records. Cases are won with evidence. It’s important to collect blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and the client’s medical charts. Attorneys need to prove allegations with facts so a complete medical record is of utmost importance. It speeds up the process when a client or their family already has the medical chart and corresponding test results.
- Medical expert review is required. If the attorney believes a medical malpractice claim is feasible they seek out and hire a malpractice expert to determine whether the medical professional acted outside the normal standard of care. If the medical expert believes that the medical professional acted outside the normal standard of care, the expert(s) will also determine if that negligence caused further injury to the patient. Their expert opinion is required to be in writing prior to making a medical malpractice claim.
- Estimating the value of the case. The value of the case should be significant. If the value of the case is not significant, the attorney may not pursue the case. Medical malpractice cases are very costly to litigate so the case must have significant value. Unfortunately, significant value often means serious or catastrophic injury and or death.
What Are Some Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in West Palm Beach and Throughout Florida?
- Failing to diagnose a medical condition
- Misdiagnosing a medical condition
- Failing to provide proper treatment for a medical condition
- Providing improper or incorrect treatment for a medical condition
- Failing to order the proper tests
- Ordering the wrong tests
- Failing to properly interpret test results (MRI, Ct Scan, Ultrasounds)
- Failing to properly monitor a patient
- Failing to provide follow-up care
- Discharging a patient too early
- Error in prescribing medication
- Making a surgical error
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Blood Transfusion
What Are Some Common Types of Pediatric Medical Malpractice in Palm Beach County, Florida
- Anesthesia error
- Failed to properly diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis (Cancer, Appendicitis, Hydrocephalus)
- Mistakes/complications during surgery
- Prescribing wrong medication or dosage
- Improper treatment
- Negligence during recovery
One of the most common types of medical malpractice claims occurs when doctors misdiagnose or fail to diagnose an injury or illness. That failure often causes the patient a delay in receiving the proper treatment. Without timely and proper treatment, a patient's condition may worsen and no longer be treatable due to the loss of time.
The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. is available to help victims of medical malpractice in Florida. If you or a loved one believe that you were injured due to a medical professional's negligence, please call us for a free case evaluation.
What Is Meant By The Recognized Standard Duty of Care In Florida Medical Negligence Cases?
The recognized standard of care refers to the accepted medical treatment and procedures that are understood by reasonable health professionals as an appropriate course for healing injuries or treating diseases. As a patient, you have every right to expect that medical professionals will provide care consistent with today's standards.
If your lawyer can establish that the standard of care was breached and you, the patient, was harmed as a result, then you may have a case for medical malpractice.
What Are The Preliminary Steps To Filing A Medical Malpractice Case In West Palm Beach, Florida?
Florida law, specifically Florida Statute 766.106 requires a patient or family to give notice "after completion of pre-suit investigation pursuant to s. 766.203(2) and prior to filing a complaint for medical negligence, a claimant shall notify each prospective defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested, of intent to initiate litigation for medical negligence." This serves two main purposes:
- To prevent frivolous lawsuits, and
- Facilitate negotiations in an effort to reach an out of court settlement
The logic behind this requirement is that those that have meritless cases will be persuaded not to file litigation because of the time, effort and financial costs. The requirements for the notice and pre-suit investigation are outlined in Florida Statute 766.106.
What is Pre-Suit Investigation in a Medical Malpractice Case?
Florida Statute 766.203 requires that prior to a patient or the family sending a Notice of Intent of filing a medical negligence lawsuit, a pre-suit investigation must occur. During this investigation, the claimant through his legal counsel, must determine whether there are reasonable ground to believe that:
- the defendant(s) was/were negligent in the care or treatment of the patient,
- the negligence caused the injury,
- The patient or family must obtain a "verified written medical expert opinion from a medical expert" and establishes that concurs with what has been established in the pre-suit investigation
- The Defendant must be put on notice of your intention to bring a lawsuit
- A lawsuit cannot be brought for at least 90 days from the date of Notice.
- After the 90 day period, the plaintiff/claimant can then file a lawsuit.
It is important that you speak with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case. The attorney and his staff will assist you in the pre-suit investigation and drafting the Notice of Intent so that it conforms with the law and is completed in a timely manner. The attorney will help negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or the self insured defendant and his counsel.
What Happens When Medical Malpractice Causes A Wrongful Death?
You don't want to think about the worst case scenario for your family, but if a medical professional's malpractice causes the wrongful death of your loved one then it's time to contact a lawyer. For a wrongful death claim, the family of the deceased, the surviving spouse or children under 25 years of age, will become the personal representative of the estate so that a lawsuit can be filed against their loved one's doctor and/or hospital for damages.
Medical negligence must have caused the wrongful death to be successful in a civil claim for damages. That means you must prove the medical professional or entity caused the death of your family member to receive financial compensation.
My Adult Son/Daughter Was a Victim of Medical Negligence That Resulted In Their Wrongful Death, Can I As The Parent File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against The Doctor or Medical Facility?
No. The toughest part of being a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida is when an adult patient, over 25, dies as a result of medical negligence and does not have a spouse (wife, husband or same sex married partner) and/or minor children under the age of twenty five (25), a lawsuit is barred. Neither parents, siblings can bring a lawsuit because it is barred by Florida law. Parents can only bring a lawsuit if the child is under the age of 25.
This is a constant issue that is debated in the Florida legislature.
How Do I Prove a Medical Malpractice Claim in West Palm Beach and Throughout the State of Florida?
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to retain an attorney that will seek justice on your behalf. Your medical malpractice attorney will need to prove the following four (4) elements to be successful in the case:
- The medical professional had a duty of care to provide reasonable care to the patient
- The duty was breached by not adhering to the reasonable standard of care
- The patient suffered an Injury that was caused by the breach
- Demonstrate actual damages
A medical malpractice attorney will file a claim against the medical treatment provider to fairly compensate you for your injuries. Florida statute 458.320 provides the insurance coverage that doctors in Florida must acquire if they are treating patients. If a fair settlement offer is not reached then your attorney may file a lawsuit on your behalf.
How Do Negotiate The Value of a Medical Malpractice Case in West Palm Beach and Throughout Florida?
Your attorney needs to prove the doctor or medical professional was negligent and that negligence resulted in your injuries. This usually occurs when your attorney files the pre-suit notice required by law. After receipt of said notice, the insurance company will do their own investigation and determine if they are going to deny the negligence claim, admit liability and request arbitration to determine the amount of money to be paid in damages or propose a settlement offer. If a settlement offer is made, there is often a back and forth process between the lawyers.
The amount of damages in a medical negligence negotiation are both economic and non-economic. For example:
- Out of pocket medical costs, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and prescription drugs are part of the settlement negotiation
- Lost wages due to the inability to work that was caused by the negligence of the medical provider. When medical malpractice results in Wrongful Death the spouse or child under 25 can claim lost wages for their family member for the time that they would be expected to work (the rest of their lifetime).
- Diminished earning capacity will be negotiated when the injury or illness is long term and the patient can no longer pursue their chosen profession.
- Pain and Suffering can be negotiated as the plaintiff’s quality of life is reduced either through physical pain or emotional impact that comes with the injury or illness.
Your lawyer will often consult with a wide range of damage experts to determine the proper amount to be given to a victim or their family. Some common damage experts include:
- Economic experts
- Life Care planner
- Vocational Rehabilitation Expert
- Mental Health Experts
How Are Settlement Payments Made to the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
- Lump sum payment is the preferred method,
- Structured payments may be used and are most common with victims that are minor children to ensure payment of their medical bills during their lifetime
If My Florida Medical Malpractice Case Does Not Settle Then How Do I File a Lawsuit Against The Medical Provider? Please Explain the Process
For a medical malpractice case to commence, your attorney must review all the medical information, consult and retain medical experts, and the expert must determine that your medical provider failed to act in the way that reasonable careful medical professional (doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical person) would do under similar circumstances. See Florida Statutes 766.102 Medical negligence; standards of recoveryand 766.104 Medical negligence cases; reasonable investigation required before filing.
If a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, it's time to file a lawsuit. This is a basic outline of the litigation process:
- File a pleading called a complaint wherein medical negligence is alleged
- The Defendant will respond by filing an answer
- The discovery phase begins, and that means
- Both sides will request and exchange information about the case
- Many of these documents will be used during the actual trial
- Medical charts will be reviewed and inspected as will the procedures that were undertaken by the medical professionals
- A list of expert witnesses along with their resumes will be provided by each side
- Depositions of witnesses and experts will be taken so that each side knows what the other will testify about ( depositions are sworn statements that lock in sworn testimony prior to trial)
- Preparation and filing of pretrial motions are made and then argued before the judge
- The court provides a ruling on pre-trial motions
- A jury panel is sworn
- Jury selection begins; it is called Voire dire
- After the jury is selected the case begins and there are:
- Opening arguments from both sides
- Direct and cross examination of all witnesses
- Introduction of evidence
- Closing arguments are made to the jury
- The jury deliberates
- The jury renders a verdict
What Are Three Types of Financial Compensation Requested in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?
- Economic damages which include medical expenses (past and future), lost business opportunities or employment, and any expense that can be verified. In medical malpractice cases economic damages sometimes include "attendant care." Due to the level of injury or sickness someone may be needed to assist with daily tasks like showering, dressing, helping with shopping etc. When this occurs a life planner is often needed to put a plan in effect that will assist the patient in their remaining years.
- Non-economic damages are non tangible and can be more complex in calculating because there is no set amount. These damages include:
- Pain and Suffering- both emotional and physical
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, also known as Lost companionship
- Loss of sexual function
- Emotional Distress
See Florida Statute 766.118 and North Broward Hospital District v. Susan Kalitan, SC15–1858 (June 8, 2017). Caps on non-economic damages violate the Equal Protection Clause.
Both economic and non-economic damages are to compensate the victim for their injuries.
- Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for the acts committed and to deter others from acting in a similar manner. Although a rare form of damages, punitive damages may be awarded in malpractice cases when the conduct is deemed egregious. Egregious conduct is normally considered malicious or wilfully negligent conduct.
Attorney, Roger P. Foley, understands the medical negligence law and what is necessary to bring a successful medical claim. His goal is to help his clients achieve justice.
How Do I Pay for a West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer if I Don't Have Money?
Personal injury and Medical Malpractice cases are paid on a contingency basis. That means that we only get paid if we are successful in your case. All costs are paid by the attorney upfront, and we recoup that money if there is a settlement reached or if we are successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There is never an out of pocket fee for our clients.
What Is The Statute of Limitations in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases?
The statute of limitations is two (2) years from when the person (patient) knew or should have known of the reasonable possibility of medical malpractice. This can be extended up to four years when the injury is not immediately discovered or up to seven (7) years in cases where fraud, concealment, misrepresentation or a minor if the claim is brought prior to the child’s eighth (8) birthday. See Florida statute 95.11(4)(b)
The Law Office of Roger P. Foley represents personal injury victims, including medical malpractice in West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. If you need legal assistance, “Just call me” Attorney Roger P. Foley.