| MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
The practice of medicine is a highly specialized field requiring years of higher education and training to produce professionals with the skill to maintain our health in the face of catastrophic injuries or life-threatening illnesses. The average individual has no medical skills beyond a basic rudimentary knowledge of simple First Aid. Accordingly, we must rely completely upon doctors, nurses and hospitals to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions. Consequently, as licensed professionals, doctors, nurses and other health care providers are held to a certain standard of care, and when they fail to treat a patient with the required level of skill and care, they can, and should be held legally liable for the harm they may have caused. This is the essence of medical malpractice law, and Stephen Willis is devoted and experienced in obtaining injured patients the full amount of compensation they deserve after being negligently harmed by a medical provider.
PROVING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REQUIRES MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE AND LEGAL SKILL
At its most basic level, proving a case of medical malpractice requires the injured patient to prove two concepts: 1) that the health care provider failed to treat the patient with the same level of care and skill that another reasonably prudent doctor, nurse, hospital or medical provider would have provided in the same circumstance(s); and 2) that this negligence or failure caused harm to the patient. Proving these two concepts involves both complex medical and legal issues. We are required, as a matter of Florida law, to obtain a medical expert to review the medical records in each case, and provide us with a medical opinion confirming that under the circumstances presented, negligent medical care actually occurred.
Stephen Willis represents patients who are injured by any kind of medical malpractice, including:
- Medication Errors – The wrong medicine or the wrong dosage is prescribed, filled or administered.
- Anesthesia Errors – Too much or too little anesthesia caused a patient to experience pain or emotional trauma; or a failure to appropriately monitor the patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia resulted in permanent brain damage or death.
- Surgical Errors – Surgery is performed at the wrong site of the body, or on the wrong patient; foreign or temporary surgical objects are left inside the patient; or an artery, vein or vital organ is negligently perforated or “nicked” during surgery.
- Birth Injuries – Excessive force during delivery results in factures or nerve injury, or lack of oxygen to the fetus causing permanent brain damage.
- Diagnostic Errors – Cancer or other serious conditions are missed or misdiagnosed, or the correct diagnosis is unreasonably delayed, causing significant additional injury.
- Emergency Room Errors – Treatment of an emergency condition is unreasonably delayed, lab tests are misinterpreted, or ER doctors fail to consult with specialists when appropriate and necessary.
CONSENTING TO A PROCEDURE DOES NOT EXCUSE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Doctors are required to obtain the informed consent of each patient before operating or undertaking a medical procedure or course of treatment. Informed consent means informing the patient of the risks and benefits of the recommended treatment; the availability of alternative options; and the consequences of not treating the condition. Doctors and hospitals may be liable for treating a patient without first obtaining informed consent, or for performing procedures or administering treatment that is beyond the scope of the informed consent that was given.
Many doctors and hospitals require patients to sign a document acknowledging that they have been informed of the risks of the procedure. It is important to understand that signing this document is not a waiver of liability. Informed consent does not relieve a doctor or hospital of liability for negligence. In any case where you believe you may have been harmed by medical negligence, you should contact us for a free initial consultation.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
A claim for medical negligence or medical malpractice may occur based upon the negligent rendering of medical care or treatment, or based upon the failure to render appropriate medical care or treatment.
Doctors – Under Florida medical malpractice law, doctors are held to the prevailing professional standard of care and must practice with the level of care, skill and treatment that would be recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar providers in similar circumstances. Doctors may be held liable for surgical errors, birth injuries and other harm caused by their negligence or incompetence.
Hospitals – Hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees, including nurses, and other staff members.
Nurses – Nurses and other licensed health care workers, such as radiology technicians and lab technicians, are licensed professionals who may be held liable for harm resulting from their failure to perform to the standards of their profession. Medication errors and diagnostic errors are common forms of medical malpractice claims against nurses and lab technicians.
WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
Most often, people who are injured by the medical negligence of others receive a settlement offer from the insurance company without having to go court. Why do you need a lawyer if there isn’t going to be a trial? The fact of the matter is that insurance company settlements with persons unrepresented by an attorney are settled for values far less than the settlement which may be obtained by an experienced medical malpractice or litigation attorney, regardless of whether the case goes to trial or not.
The insurance company adjusters and lawyers for the insurance companies handle these claims every single day, and they are vastly more experienced than you are in understanding the value of your injury claim. Stephen Willis will carefully analyze your case and seek the full amount of compensation for all of your legal damages.
Even without going to trial, the filing of a lawsuit may be necessary to achieve the best settlement of your case. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to convince the insurance company that you are prepared to litigate the matter by a jury trial if necessary, to obtain a fair settlement.
In proceeding with a medical malpractice case in Florida, you must adhere to specific statutory requirements, or you may lose your right to file a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries. Florida law requires a claimant to provide a statutory “pre-suit notice” to the medical provider that you may wish to sue; you must obtain and submit an affidavit from a medical professional in writing which identifies, that in his or her opinion, the medical provider you intend to sue was negligent in the medical care or treatment provided. Most importantly, the statute of limitations in Florida for the initiation of a lawsuit for medical negligence is only two (2) years. Accordingly, it is imperative that the medical records are promptly obtained; that a medical professional/expert is promptly retained to review the records and provide a sufficient medical opinion as to the medical negligence; that the “pre-suit” notice is properly and timely filed; and that a lawsuit be timely filed to protect your ability to sue, if necessary, under Florida law.
If you believe that you or a family member has been harmed by the negligence of a doctor, hospital or other medical provider, we provide a FREE CONSULTATION TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE. If we agree to represent you in your medical negligence case, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis.
There is no fee unless our we obtain compensation for your injuries.
For an initial Medical Malpractice consultation, call our office for an appointment.
Stephen Clinton Willis
Attorney at Law