Medical Malpractice FAQs

  • Q When does my right to bring a medical malpractice claim expire?

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    Florida State Statute 95.11 deals with the statute of limitations for medical malpractice.

    According to the law, an action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident in question occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered or should’ve been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. So, what does all of that mean? Suppose you had leg surgery on January 1, 2000, during which the surgeon negligently left a piece of medical equipment inside your leg.

    According to the law, you could have certainly brought a medical malpractice action up until January 1, 2002. But let’s say you didn’t become aware of the negligence until April 1, 2000, when you felt a pain in your leg and went to the doctor, who told you what had happened. In such a case, you would still be able to bring a medical malpractice claim up until April 1, 2002 (two years from the time that you became aware of the negligence).

    However, let’s say you felt a pain right after surgery and didn’t investigate it; then, in January of 2008, you finally had it checked out and realized what had happened. Because you didn’t perform due diligence by investigating the pain when you started feeling it, you would have lost your chance to bring an action for the January 1, 2000, incident.

  • Q What is medical malpractice?

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    Put simply, medical malpractice is negligence committed by medical professionals acting within the scope of their practice. In order for a medical professional to be liable for medical malpractice, there must have been:

    (1)  a duty owed to a patient by their doctor;

    (2)  a breach of that duty;

    (3)  resulting injury proximately caused by the breach of duty; and

    (4)  harm or damage sustained by the injury.

    It is important to remember that an unanticipated, unsuccessful or unwanted result of a medical treatment does not by itself suggest medical malpractice has taken place.

    The standard for medical malpractice revolves around the “reasonable” test of the law. In other words, in determining whether a doctor has committed malpractice, one must compare the doctor’s actions to how a “reasonably prudent doctor,” with the same specialized training and experience, would have acted. The distinction here is that one doctor’s actions are being compared to another comparable, “reasonable” doctor’s hypothetical actions. Yes, brain surgery is immensely complicated and difficult, but you are not comparing a brain surgeon’s actions to a layman’s; rather, you are considering how a reasonably prudent brain surgeon would have acted in similar circumstances when trying to figure out if malpractice has occurred.

  • Q What are some examples of medical malpractice?

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    While incidents of medical malpractice are wide-ranging and far too common, we have listed some examples of ways in which a doctor may have committed actionable medical malpractice.

    • Failing to diagnose a disease;
    • Making an error in anesthesia;
    • Failing to anticipate birth defects when signs are present;
    • Making a mistake during childbirth;
    • Operating on the wrong arm or leg;
    • Using unsanitary medical tools and devices;
    • Leaving medical equipment inside the body being operated on; and
    • Writing the improper prescription/dosage.

    This list is by no means comprehensive, and if you feel you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact our medical malpractice attorneys immediately to set up a consultation by calling 561.266.9191 .