Attorneys For People Harmed By Medical Negligence
Perhaps no area of law has come under attack as much as medical negligence claims. Americans trust their doctors, and people don’t want to believe that doctors can make mistakes. But medical errors are more common than most people realize, and the results can be catastrophic.
Why Being Double Board-Certified Makes A Difference
Winning a medical malpractice lawsuit requires an in-depth understanding of the claims process involving the Florida Board of Medicine, as well as the civil trial process for providing evidence and determining the full extent of financial damages. Saunders Law Group in Bartow, Florida, is one of the few law firms in the state that has earned double board certification — in civil trial and business litigation. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the legal process as it relates to hospital negligence and medical malpractice.
Call today at 863-578-4755 for a free consultation. Cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning that the total costs are advanced by Saunders Law Group. There is no fee or recovery of costs unless our medical malpractice lawyers prevail.
“Our clients benefit from our double board certification. We come to settlement negotiations thoroughly prepared with the strongest case possible. When cases go to trial, we step into the courtroom with the advantage of solid credentials a jury will trust.” — Attorney Thomas C. Saunders
We have been representing victims of medical malpractice and their families for more than 30 years. We are determined to help you collect the compensation you deserve to cover past and future medical bills, rehabilitation and lost wages.
The Importance Of Timely Guidance
There is a very short statute of limitations for medical negligence cases. Generally, the time limit for filing is two years, unless an extension or some other exception is deemed acceptable by the court. We encourage you to seek an immediate review of your claim so there is sufficient time to examine the matter in fine detail alongside our reviewing nurses, physicians and attorneys.
Our lawyers know the intricacies of medical negligence law. We keep studious pace with the ever-changing legislative requirements for prosecuting these serious matters, and we take a personal interest in the impact each case has on our clients.
More convincing means that a judge or jury needs to be convinced by 51 percent that the plaintiff’s evidence is more persuasive.
Proving medical malpractice requires demonstrating that the health care provider acted negligently. To prove negligence, the claimant must show: duty, breach, causation and damages. These basic elements must also be established in any personal injury case, with one catch: statutory strictures make proving medical malpractice cases more difficult than the standard personal injury case. Chapter 766, Florida Statutes, is the statute that governs medical malpractice matters, and Section 766.102 delineates the circumstances under which you can prove medical negligence.
As with other negligence cases, these elements must be proven by the greater weight of the evidence (meaning evidence that is more convincing compared to the other side’s evidence). “More convincing” means that a judge or jury needs to be convinced by 51 percent that the plaintiff’s evidence is more persuasive.
It is important to remember that Florida has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, which makes it imperative to act quickly to resolve your claim.
Did the defendant’s health care provider owe a duty to the plaintiff patient? This element is usually not difficult to prove as it arises naturally as a result of the physician/patient relationship. How is duty defined? Duty means the duty to act within the “standard of care,” or, the level of skill, care, and treatment which is recognized as reasonable and appropriate by other reasonably prudent physicians in similar practice areas.
Florida Statute Section 766.102 requires that any expert testimony concerning the prevailing professional standard of care be from a health care provider who holds an active and valid license, completely reviews the pertinent medical records, and meets other specific criteria. There are additional strictures for expert testimony from a specialist against or on behalf of a physician who is also a specialist, or from a general practitioner against or on behalf of a physician who is also a general practitioner, and for testimony from a physician who is one other than a specialist or general practitioner. Additionally, the attorney who proffers a person as an expert witness must certify that the witness has never been found guilty of fraud or perjury.
Breach means that the health care provider breached the duty described above that he or she owed to the patient, and deviated from the standard of care set forth above. Proving a breach in the standard of care also, in most cases, requires expert testimony.
It is interesting that the medical negligence statute notes that while the existence of a medical injury does not create any inference or presumption of negligence against a health care provider, “the discovery of the presence of a foreign body, such as a sponge, clamp, forceps, surgical needle, or other paraphernalia commonly used in surgical, examination, or diagnostic procedures, shall be prima facie evidence of negligence on the part of the health care provider.” Florida Statute Section 766.102(3)(b). Therefore, simply having a medical injury does not usually give rise to prima facie evidence of the doctor’s negligence, but exceptions to that guideline, such as leaving a sponge or other foreign object in the plaintiff’s body, exist.
Did the health care professional’s breach of the standard of care cause or contribute to some harm to the patient? Again, in most cases, proof of causation requires expert testimony. A physician who meets the specifications of the medical negligence statute must testify that the plaintiff’s injuries probably would not have occurred if the physician had followed proper medical practices. Additionally, the defendant health care provider should have reasonably foreseen this result or a similar result.
Damages mean that, as a result of all of the doctor’s decisions above, the plaintiff actually suffered some harm. Many times, damages as a result of the doctor’s decisions are easy to ascertain as they are readily apparent. Other times, they can take years to manifest and may be more difficult to prove.