What to Know Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

woman in hospital bed

Health care providers make mistakes far more often than most people realize. Unfortunately, unlike other professionals, when doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others in the medical field breach their duty of care, they have the potential to leave immense damage in their wake.

If you suffered serious complications that you think were the consequence of malpractice, you may be planning on taking action. While filing a claim cannot restore your health or erase what happened, it could at least yield the funds needed to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Before you proceed, however, there are a few things you should know. Read on to learn what they are:

1. A Breach Must Have Occurred

Like most personal injury actions, those involving medical malpractice are typically founded on negligence. That means the liable party breached their duty of care.

Health care providers have an obligation to abide by the most widely accepted standards of care when diagnosing and treating patients in clinical settings. Breaches generally occur in the form of deviating from these standards.

Put another way, you’re not going to have a compelling case just because you suffered complications. In order to be eligible for compensation, you must be able to demonstrate how the opposing party was, in fact, negligent.

2. You Must Have Suffered Actual Damages

Sometimes, health care providers will realize they made a mistake right away and they’ll correct it promptly, thereby preventing serious complications from arising. When this happens, patients generally don’t have grounds for legal action. If, on the other hand, a provider fails to address an issue they created and the patient suffers as a result, incurring damages in the process, it likely warrants legal action.

It should come as no surprise that every successful malpractice claim includes sufficient evidence of damages. Florida tort law recognizes the following damages in personal injury actions:

  • Loss of enjoyment in life,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages,
  • Lost earning capacity,
  • Replacement services, and
  • Objectively verifiable losses.

3. Some of the Most Valuable Evidence Is Probably Time-Sensitive

It’s wise to call an attorney as soon as you have reason to believe you were the victim of malpractice. Enlisting help right away will give your legal team the chance to gather evidence that may not be available indefinitely.

Eyewitness testimony becomes notoriously unreliable as time goes on, for example, so if other members of the medical team witnessed the malpractice, your lawyer will want to obtain their statements as soon as possible.

It’s also an unfortunate reality that some facilities are not above altering or destroying medical records that implicate members of their team. As such, your attorney will want to start compiling critical documents before the practice even realizes one of their own might have made a mistake.

Speak with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney

At Emerson Straw, we’re not afraid to take on even the largest health care providers and insurers. If you were the victim of malpractice and you want to seek financial justice, our resourceful team will do everything in our power to help. Call (727) 821-1500 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida.