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How Do You Know Whether You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2016 | Personal Injury Law |

There seems to be an unfounded perception that medical malpractice claims are merely frivolous lawsuits, filed by litigation-happy plaintiffs just looking for a quick buck. This attitude could not be further from the truth. In fact, Johns Hopkins medical school recently discovered that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, following only cancer and heart disease. It estimated that more than 250,000 deaths in medical facilities alone result from medical malpractice each year. One estimate found that claims are filed in just two percent of cases where a patient was harmed by a physician’s negligence, and that 15 percent of all hospitalizations cause preventable harms to patients. The injuries sustained are not frivolous either. Take, for example, the famous Florida case of Willie King, who was awarded $1.15 million after a doctor amputated the wrong leg. Another famous Florida case involved former Mr. Mexico and runner-up in Mr. Universe Alexander Baez, who was given breast implants instead of pec implants by an unlicensed physician, who had operated on and disfigured dozens of other patients. These kinds of surgeries are rare, you might think, and more common procedures carry fewer risks. Again, not so. In 2007, Clay Chandler was rendered brain damaged and unable to care for himself after a routine gastric bypass surgery, and was eventually awarded $178 million in damages against the hospital. In 2009, Susie Dunphy, a physician herself, died after an emergency appendectomy, one of the most common procedures in the book.

Often loved ones lose their lives in such cases, and hospital administrators refuse to engage the matter at all, instead brushing their actions under the rug and hoping that this family will be one of the 98 percent that chooses not file a lawsuit. If you have suffered harm at the hands of a doctor, do not let your case go ignored. How do you know whether your case warrants filing a medical malpractice claim?

Medical Malpractice Claim Requirements

The first element that must be present for malpractice case is that a doctor must have been negligent by making a mistake or failing to deliver the recognized standard of care in treating a patient. The standard of care required for physicians is defined as what a reasonably prudent physician would have done under the same circumstances.

The second thing that must happen for a medical malpractice claim to be feasible is a substantial injury. A bad outcome may not be enough to substantiate a claim; the injury must be outside of the normal scope of risks associated with such a procedure. For example, there is always a risk of infection when an operation takes place, so typically a simple infection is not malpractice. If a physician fails to take steps to mitigate and treat the infection, however, injuries resulting from such failure may be compensable.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

Each state has a statute of limitations, or a deadline, for filing a claim after the injury occurred. In Florida, the general rule states that a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the negligence, or within two years of having symptoms which could possibly have been caused by medical negligence, with an outside limit of four years. An exceptions to this timeline is allowed in cases of fraud by the medical provider, which gives the patient an outside limit of seven years.

Have You Been Injured as a Result of a Medical Procedure?

If you have sustained injuries after a medical procedure because of a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Experienced Ocala medical malpractice lawyer, John Piccin, at Piccin & Glynn has handled medical malpractice cases for decades, and we can help you too. Call John at 352-558-8480 for a free consultation to discuss your case today.