Doctors Make Mistakes Too: Medical Malpractice in Florida

When you suffer injuries due to a doctor and/or hospital’s negligence, you are the victim of medical malpractice. Health care professionals have a legal and moral obligation to provide a standard of care. If they breach that duty, they are at risk of a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury and an Orlando personal injury attorney can assist you.

A study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that approximately 98,000 patients may suffer fatal injuries each year from medical errors. Of the 35,000 doctors who have had two or more payouts since 1990, only 7.6 percent of them received disciplinary action. Medical malpractice is a serious national problem.

Florida Medical Malpractice Claims

Closer to home, data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation shows that there were 3,087 medical malpractice claims closed statewide in 2009. Those claims paid out approximately $736.9 million. Florida ranks toward the top among the states with the highest medical malpractice insurance rates for high-risk specialties. Some insurers and doctors in high-risk specialties have left the state due to the escalating insurance rates.

Annually, plaintiffs file over 100 medical malpractice claims in Florida. The lawsuits include claims for:

  • Nursing home abuse
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Brain and birth injuries
  • Hospital malpractice
  • Prescription errors
  • Failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis

The Florida laws on medical malpractice are strict, and failing to abide by them can leave you open to a defamation claim from the doctor. Before filing the claim, you must document proof of the error and its effect and give permission for a “good faith investigation” of the claim. Next, you have to provide a corroborating affidavit from a medical expert who is a currently practicing and licensed health care provider. The corroborating physician must have some expertise in the medical area of the claim.

If approved, you and your Orlando personal injury lawyer can then proceed with the medical malpractice lawsuit. If you win the lawsuit, Florida law caps non-economic damages at $500,000, which can double if the patient is in vegetative state.

Lastly, you have only a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit under Florida’s statute of limitations. Contact an Orlando personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a doctor or hospital’s negligence.