It is only normal to expect medical providers to act properly. After all, we are putting our lives in their hands. Accidents do happen despite the training and experience. We expect our healthcare providers to abide by the proper duty of care. However, that level of duty can be breached. All across the United States, medical errors have become widespread and impact the lives of individuals who entrusted the health care providers treating them.
A Johns Hopkins Study revealed that medical errors have ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives. When medical malpractice causes an injury, our legal team might be able to file legal action against the hospital, healthcare provider, nurse, or physician who acted negligently. When a healthcare provider’s treatment for your condition falls below the normal standard of care for that condition and you are put in danger of being injured or dying, medical malpractice has occurred.
To sum it up, if a healthcare provider doesn’t act in the same manner that other medical professionals with the same training, they could be liable for any injuries or damages that result. These medical errors could happen when you are suffering injuries from an on the job accident or a car accident, which just adds to the challenges that you are facing as you try to recover. You might even spend time in the hospital. Don’t just let the negligent parties get by with hurting you. Contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Burnetti, P.A. to get the help you need during this challenging time.
If you or a family member has suffered injuries because of the negligence of a physician, nurse, nursing assistant, or some other healthcare provider you might be able to be compensated if you enlist the help of a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer. To see if we can help you, complete the online information form or call our office to schedule a free initial case evaluation.
Hiring a Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyer is Important for Your Tampa Medical Malpractice Claim
Other personal injury claims are not the same as medical malpractice claims. These claims have two areas of expertise, medicine and law intertwined. Medical malpractice cases are very complicated and require an experienced lawyer’s skills and detail who is knowledgeable in handling both of those areas of expertise. You want to choose a lawyer who:
- Understands the medical field
- Can comprehend medical documents
- Knows what experts should be consulted
- Is familiar with how to pursue with questioning
- Can anticipate how the defendant will respond
Why Choose Burnetti, P.A. for Your Medical Malpractice Attorney
Most healthcare professionals have an attorney on hand to represent them and they might have previously encountered malpractice suits. It is imperative that you select a lawyer who has successfully handled Tampa malpractice claims. An attorney who is experienced in such cases can anticipate what tactics the healthcare provider will use to defend themselves or rebut your claims in essential in your case’s outcome.
At Burnetti, P.A., our lawyers have years of experience in handling Florida medical malpractice claims. That experience and dedication will be used for your benefit in the courtroom. We will use the best negotiation tactics and any other available resource our law firm can access. At Burnetti, P.A., we have a team of outside experts who are well-respected in their fields. Our team includes expert witnesses, consulting staff physicians, nurse paralegals, and consulting nurses, all of whom will help us build a link between the negligence of the defendant and the injuries you suffered.
With the help of our team of these professionals, our medical malpractice lawyers have established a strong foundation for helping numerous victims of Florida medical malpractice recover fair settlements for the injuries sustained. We know every case is different, but we know how to successfully approach these cases. We have helped clients recover multi-million dollar settlements for various medical injuries including birth injuries.
What Your Burnetti, P.A., Medical Malpractice Lawyer Will Do for You
If the negligence of a medical provider caused you injury, our lawyers might be able to help you proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit so you can get compensated for your damages. We will prepare your Tampa legal claim by:
- Reviewing your case to see if a claim is feasible
- Collect additional documentation and evidence in support of your claim
- Determine what parties are potentially liable for your injuries
- Help you be familiar with your options and rights throughout the process
- Handle any technicalities and procedures regarding your case
While any evidence regarding your case might lean in your favor, your case’s strength and success might be based on your lawyer’s ability to show there is a causal link. At Burnetti, P.A., our lawyers are familiar with how any evidence should be presented, explained, and packaged. Our law firm team can also question expert witnesses, come up with thoughtful ways to rebut any claims made by the defendant, and take neutral facts and make them become evidence. Our lawyers can also accurately negate any facts that are not favorable for you and your case.
What is Considered Medical Malpractice in Tampa?
When a patient suffers injuries because of a medical professional’s negligence, a lawsuit might help recover damages. In Florida, the injured party must prove these four elements to have a successful medical malpractice claim:
Patient-Doctor Relationship: Anyone filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida must be able to prove that there was a patient and physician relationship with the accused medical provider. The patient must have hired the physician and that physician must have agreed to work for the patient who suffered injuries. Any medical malpractice allegations must have happened during employment.
Duty of Care: Doctors must perform any duties consistent with the standards set forth by the medical community. Any medical professionals, including physicians, have a legal requirement to act in the same way another medical provider in the same situation and field in the same situation.
Breach of Duty: If a medical provider is believed to be negligent, the patient duty of care must have been violated. This means the physician must have failed to handle things in the same manner another medical provider would have responded in the same situation when treating the same condition.
Causation: Besides proving negligence, to have a claim that is valid you have to show there was causation. You have to show that the medical provider breached his or her duty and that caused the injuries or damages suffered. This must be proven through medical records and treatments, affidavits from other healthcare providers, and various documents. Patients must prove there was a causal relationship between their injury and the negligence of the healthcare provider.
Damages: You must have suffered either economic or non-economic damage because of the healthcare provider’s negligence and actions. Because of this, medical providers can’t be held liable for any damages unless the patient who was injured suffered different damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering and mental trauma.
Here is a hypothetical scenario regarding medical malpractice. If you go to the nearest emergency room suffering from stomach pains, a medical provider will question you about your symptoms. This doctor will then determine what treatment should be administered. You have now established a doctor – patient relationship. As your doctor, this provider has a duty of care to you – his or her patient. If the doctor says you need to have your appendix removed, he has the duty to perform this surgery in the manner any other surgeon would do the same procedure.
A negligent act or any omission, such as removing the wrong organ like the gallbladder or leaving a surgical sponge inside your body, is a breach of duty of care. If you suffer injuries during or after a surgical procedure, you must have sufficient evidence to show that the breach of duty was the reason for your injuries that are worthy of compensable damages.
Damages Suffered Because of Medical Malpractice
Damages for medical malpractice claims are designed to provide compensation for the patient’s harm resulting from the medical provider’s negligence. Compensatory damages for medical malpractice in Florida is intended to make a victim “whole” again and give them the compensation that they need to take care of any non-economic and economic losses. Economic losses are also called actual damages. Economic damages might include:
Medical Costs – These expenses will result from hospitalizations, physician office visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, assistive devices or mobility tools, and any similar expenses. If you have suffered an injury of a severe nature that will leave permanent results, you might be able to get future medical expenses compensated.
Lost Wages – If you must take time off work to recover from the injuries you suffered because of medical malpractice, you might be awarded compensation for lost wages.
Loss of Future Earning Capacity – If you cannot earn the same wages you earned before your accident, you might be able to get compensated for your lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering – Physical pain suffered by the medical malpractice might be compensated. These damages might include compensation for depression, fear, frustration, and anxiety that causes mental distress. Mental suffering can be the result of medical malpractice injuries.
Loss of Consortium – if you suffered from a medical malpractice injury, you might be able to be compensated for the loss of companionship, loss of sexual relations, loss of affection, loss of marital benefits, and loss of comfort. In the event of permanent or life-altering injuries, loss of consortium compensation might be awarded.
Other Damages – In specific situations, other damages might be payable. This might include compensation for disfigurement, permanent disability, the loss of life enjoyment, loss of companionship, loss of parental support, and other damages.
When medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, or healthcare facilities act with gross negligence, which means that their actions were either malicious or willful in nature, the patients who were hurt might be able to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages weren’t designed to compensate victims for their losses, but to punish the defendant for his or her actions. It is also designed to deter others from acting in a similar manner.
Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
There is a statute of limitations according to laws in certain states. This means there is a limited amount of time in which someone who is hurt can proceed with a medical malpractice claim against the negligent medical provider. If you don’t file your medical malpractice claim within this specified time you might forfeit your chance to file a claim. There are extenuating circumstances, such as misrepresentation, foul play, or fraud on the medical provider’s fault, you might have additional time to proceed with a claim. Because of the statute of limitations, victims must consult with a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer after they have suffered a medical injury.
Kinds of Medical Malpractice
Errors with Anesthesia
If not used properly, anesthesia can lead to the death or injury of a patient. The medical professional who was negligent can be held liable for the damages that were caused. There are many examples of negligence by a healthcare professional, such as an anesthesiologist. Here are a few of those:
- Using the wrong drug
- Administering medicines that have negative interactions
- Administering a drug that the patient is allergic to
- Failure to properly monitor patient’s vital signs
- Failing to properly respond to vital sign changes
- Administering anesthesia too late
- Failure to intubate as needed
- Failing to properly use the machines
- Using equipment that is faulty or needing repairs
- Turning off the pulse oximeter alarm
- Not giving the patient proper instructions following a procedure
Regional, general, and local anesthesia are the three different kinds in use. Each kind of anesthesia is used for different situations and each offers different complications. Anesthesia awareness, in which the patient is awake during surgery and feel or see the surgery, is one of the more serious complications. Those who suffer from anesthesia errors might be eligible to receive compensation for any emotional or physical injuries that were suffered.
Emergency Room Mistakes
If you have an emergency, you will go for immediate care at the local emergency room. Despite the ER being rushed and hectic, medical professionals are still expected to uphold a higher standard of care to ensure their patients are treated properly. Negligence by medical providers, such as nurses, doctors, and other ER staff can cause life-altering injuries. When you have suffered from emergency room mistakes, you might be able to file a lawsuit to be compensated for the injuries that you suffered. Common emergency room mistakes might include:
- Serious surgical mistakes
- Failure to diagnose heart problems that might result in a heart attack
- Medication mistakes
- Failing to properly diagnose and treat post-operative infections
- Failure to offer post-treatment monitoring
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis for appendicitis, aneurysms, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, etc.
- Misreading tests, charts, x-rays, MRIs
Hospital Malpractice in Tampa
There are certain circumstances that allow a hospital that treated a patient to be named in a negligence lawsuit following a medical malpractice incident. Hospitals have the responsibility for properly evaluating the qualifications of employees, such as previous experience, any certifications obtained, and the educational background. If a hospital employs a medical professional who is not sufficiently qualified or who is incompetent, the hospital could be held liable for any injuries suffered because of the incompetence of an employee. If a hospital doesn’t adequately conduct a background check and determine if a worker has the right certifications and proper educational background then that worker causes injuries to someone, the hospital could be deemed liable for damages.
Tampa hospital staff might engage in conduct that is comparable to medical malpractice, which makes the hospital liable. Examples of this conduct might include:
- Inaccurately diagnosing a condition
- Patient neglect or failing to properly treat the patient
- If current medical care is insufficient, failing to send the patient on to a specialist
- Not giving a patient the care that was needed if he or she is not stable
- Failing to order diagnostic testing to determine which treatment options are best
- Administering the wrong drug or administering the wrong amount of the medication
- Erroneous use of anesthesia
- Misuse of medical equipment
- Performing surgery that is not consented to or that is not going to be beneficial
- Failure to adhere to hospital procedures which cause injuries, such as infection
Vicarious Liability for Hospitals
There are instances when hospitals can be vicariously liable for injuries resulting from the negligence of their workers, such as nurses or technicians. Employers do have a responsibility for duty of care when it involves the supervision and direction of their employees. This kind of liability covers the employee negligence in addition to systemic problems within the facility which might include unclean instruments causing infections or unreasonably lengthy ER wait times.
Independent contractors, however, are a different matter and hospitals usually cannot be held liable for their actions. As an example, most doctors aren’t hospital employees but are contracted by the hospital while they operate their own private medical practices. Hospitals can only be held liable for the actions of independent contractors if those workers don’t have the right experience and training, don’t have the right qualifications, or acted with the routine business of the facility. If a lawyer can prove the independent contractor was represented as a hospital employee, and the patient depended on that belief and then suffered injuries because of that representation, the patient might be able to file a lawsuit against the hospital.
There are many hospitals who try to avoid this predicament by making their independently contracted medical professionals notify patients they aren’t hospital employees. Some hospitals post signs indicating that these professionals are independent contractors. If patients have not been given reasonable notification of the independent contractor status of physicians and other medical professionals, the hospital might be held liable for any injuries that patients suffer.
Errors Caused by Medical Devices
Medical devices are often used to diagnose or treat diseases and sometimes even prevent them. However, the misuse or failure of these devices can cause a patient to suffer serious injury or even die. Medical devices have three major kinds of defects that can lead to injury and put the manufacturer at risk of being found liable for damages. These three defects include design flaws, defects from the manufacturing process, and inadequate or insufficient warnings. If one of these problems exist, the device’s manufacturer might be sued if injury or death results.
Medical devices might be improperly used by medical professionals. If improper training, insufficient knowledge, negligence or reckless behavior using a device cause injury, the professional who improperly used the medical device can be liable for the damages suffered.
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
Improperly diagnosing an illness can have devastating results on a patient and their loved ones. A delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can cause serious injuries, leaving the patient with debilitating pain and life-altering physical injuries that can even lead to death. Some of the most common conditions that are not properly diagnosed include various kinds of cancer, appendicitis, vascular diseases, ectopic pregnancies, infections, and brain tumors.
In order to be compensated in a lawsuit for being misdiagnosed, the patient who was injured must prove the healthcare professional acted negligently. Some examples of negligence that lead to being misdiagnosed include:
Failure to listen to the patient – When a patient explains to their healthcare provider that they aren’t feeling well, the provider must listen to the patient and investigate the causes of the different symptoms. If a medical provider fails to examine the symptoms and the patient becomes ill, the practitioner can be held liable for misdiagnosing the condition.
Failure to notice the symptoms – Medical providers are trained to diagnose a patient based on their symptoms. If a provider fails to make a diagnosis that is accurate, although the symptoms point to a particular illness, that practitioner might be held liable for medical malpractice.
Failure to check the medical history – Medical providers are responsible for examining the medical history of their patient as well as their family medical history. A provider might be considered negligent if the medical history isn’t examined and the patient becomes ill and it is determined that the medical condition would have been easily identified if the medical history had been more thoroughly examined.
Improper testing order – If the provider orders any tests incorrectly based on the symptoms their patient exhibits, they might be negligent if that patient suffers additional injuries. Providers can also be held liable if they don’t order standard tests following the observation of some specific symptoms in their patients.
Failing to properly interpret tests – After tests have been ordered for patients, the provider is responsible for properly reading the results. If a physician interprets the patient’s test in a reckless or careless manner that physician might be held liable for negligence and for any unnecessary illness or injury that results because of this negligent act.
The care that immediately follows a patient undergoing surgery or treatment is called postoperative care. Medical providers have the responsibility to monitor their patients to ensure complications that might arise following treatment or surgery are promptly addressed. This care is designed to prevent infections. They should also monitor vital signs, provide the patient with detailed instructions for postoperative care, and prescribe the right medications with the proper dosage to help with the recovery and healing. If a provider fails to provide adequate monitoring for a patient, or if that provider fails to recognize any symptoms of complications, the patient could be seriously injured or even die. This might result in the patient having the right to proceed with a medical malpractice claim.
Some conditions, illnesses, or infections that result because of negligence after surgery or treatment include:
- Unnoticed organ perforation
- Urinary tract infections
- Internal bleeding
- Viral infections
- Staph infections
- Respiratory infections
- Blood clots
Other kinds of medical malpractice might include:
- OBGYN malpractice
- Orthopedic malpractice
- Dental malpractice
- Medication errors
- Psychiatric malpractice
- Surgical errors
- Cosmetic surgery malpractice
- Chiropractic malpractice
If you believe you have suffered because of medical malpractice in Tampa, Florida, contact Burnetti, P.A., for a free case consultation.