Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The Levin Firm Can Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case
If a Fort Lauderdale doctor injured you with reckless or incompetent treatment, there’s legal support available to you. You can reach out to The Levin Firm to learn more about your legal rights and to take advantage of a FREE consultation with a qualified Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer.
We help our clients pursue justice after someone else’s negligence or carelessness hurt them, including doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals and facilities.
Medical Malpractice: A Definition
Medical malpractice refers to instances where health care providers do not perform to the standards of their fellow medical professionals. For example, a surgeon who leaves a medical instrument inside of a patient has committed medical malpractice. Doctors who fail to diagnose patients or who make improper diagnoses may also be held liable for medical malpractice (if another doctor would have made the correct diagnosis).
One of the most dangerous aspects of medical malpractice is the fact that it can often go undetected. Some patients don’t realize, or don’t want to admit, that they are victims of medical malpractice. Others may try to talk about the problem but be turned away by family and other forms of support.
Recognizing Medical Malpractice in Fort Lauderdale
There are a handful of signs that may indicate medical malpractice has occurred.
If any of these describe your current situation, or if they sound similar to something that someone you know is experiencing, reach out to us for legal support:
- Unexpected negative results occur after treatment.
- Providers can’t or won’t explain why someone’s physical or medical condition is getting worse.
- A condition worsens because of a treatment.
- A condition worsens because of a lack of treatment.
- A provider takes too long to start treatment.
- A provider takes too long to make a diagnosis.
Medical Malpractice and Informed Consent
Patients are supposed to make informed decisions where they consent (or don’t consent) to specific medical treatment. This is a key element of the law. The precise definition of informed consent changes from state to state, but it generally means that care providers must tell patients about potential risks, benefits, and alternatives to treatment.
Informed consent is most used in surgical settings and before surgical procedures. It requires that patients provide their written consent before a care provider proceeds with a procedure or treatment.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Often, potential victims aren’t sure how to identify medical malpractice. One of the easiest ways to understand how it happens is to know what it’s called and what it looks like. Some of the most common forms of malpractice are described below.
Not everyone realizes it, but an error like a misdiagnosis can be extremely dangerous, even fatal. According to AARP, as many as one in five patients are misdiagnosed when they have an illness or injury.
Some conditions are more commonly associated with misdiagnoses than others. Heart disease and certain infections, for example, are notoriously difficult to diagnose. They present common general symptoms or may look different in each patient.
Even the most “basic” surgical error can be extremely dangerous.
Some potential errors that may occur during surgery include:
- Operating on the wrong body part;
- Operating on the wrong person;
- Performing the wrong operation;
- Leaving instruments or other foreign objects in a patient’s body;
- Lacerating organs nearby; and
- Improper anesthesia administration or monitoring.
No one wants to imagine something going wrong while they’re under the knife, but the truth is that it happens to innocent patients with shocking regularity. Some victims suffer long-term complications, like damaged nerves, after surgical mishaps.
Improper Prescriptions and Prescription Administration
Too many medical providers are quick to prescribe medications that don’t actually help patients. In some cases, patients may develop dependencies on medications; other people are injured by taking the wrong prescription. Many physicians are neglectful when it comes to prescribing medicine.
It’s also possible for medical care providers to administer prescription medications incorrectly. There are many opportunities for errors in the chain from doctors to pharmacists to other providers. If someone improperly administered medicine, the patent can suffer severe consequences.
Obstetric and Gynecological Negligence
Most of our medical knowledge is based on the science and data behind male bodies, not female ones. There’s still a long way to go before we fully understand obstetric and gynecological care and, sadly, many doctors fail to provide adequate care when it comes to these specializations.
Some examples of occurrences during pregnancy and birth that are commonly associated with medical malpractice include:
- Gestational diabetes;
- Exceptionally long labor;
- Placental abnormalities (Previa, abruption, etc.);
- Cesarean section complications (surgical negligence);
- Excessive vaginal bleeding;
- Premature delivery; and
- Birth injuries to the baby.
In some cases, even a late diagnosis is enough to warrant a medical malpractice case. You can ask a qualified lawyer for input on your legal standing after a late medical diagnosis.
Recoverable Damages After Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice
In medical malpractice cases, someone may pursue compensation to account for:
- Medical bills: Previous, present, and projected medical bills may all be eligible for reimbursement through a settlement or lawsuit. This is one reason why, generally speaking, the legal process doesn’t begin in earnest until the victim has (mostly) healed. It makes it easier to project future medical costs. Compensation for medical bills also extends to include the prices of things like specialized health care, surgeries, equipment, and so on.
- Lost wages or diminished earning potential: Some people need to miss time from work because of the results of medical malpractice. If you’ve lost wages due to what happened, you may be eligible to recover damages to account for those wages. In other cases, people permanently lose some (or all) of their ability to work and earn money. There is often compensation available for diminished earning potential after medical malpractice.
- Pain and suffering: Nobody deserves to experience the pain and suffering that follow medical malpractice. That’s why there’s often compensation available to survivors who have experienced it.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If you have lost your enjoyment of life because of the results of medical malpractice, you aren’t alone. You deserve to be recognized and compensated for your experience. You can work with a lawyer to pursue damages for loss of enjoyment of life.
- Scarring/disfigurement: Sometimes, people experience scarring or disfigurement because of medical malpractice. There is often additional compensation available to survivors of medical malpractice who have suffered these consequences.
- Disability: Medical malpractice can lead to disability. If you have been disabled by an instance of medical malpractice, you can work to pursue specific damages.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice
Who can be held accountable for Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice?
- Medical doctors
- Hospital workers
- Hospitals and medical facilities
Is Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse the same as medical malpractice?
Usually, no. If a nursing home resident is receiving medical treatment at the time of their injury, then there may be a case for medical malpractice.
When people are hurt or neglected in nursing home facilities, it is a very serious thing. Some lawyers only take nursing home abuse and neglect cases. If you or someone you love was hurt in a nursing home, seek legal support from an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.
What is the statute of limitations for Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice claims?
A statute of limitations sets a limit on how long a victim has to file a claim after their accident. The law lays out the statute of limitations for medical malpractice as follows:
- A claim of medical malpractice is subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
- In some cases where the victim did not discover the injury right away, they can bring a claim up to four years after the incident of medical malpractice.
- There is a seven-year maximum extension for cases including concealment, fraud, or any intentional misrepresentation by prospective health care providers.
Can I sue a Fort Lauderdale hospital for medical malpractice?
It depends on whether the doctor, the hospital, or both committed malpractice. Hospitals rarely employ doctors, who work as independent contractors with their own medical malpractice insurance. So, when care providers in hospitals fail to provide adequate care, those hospitals are generally not responsible. But if the hospital’s employees committed the malpractice, or if the hospital knowingly contracted with a doctor who had a history of malpractice, you might have a case against the hospital as well as the individual.
How can a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer tell if my doctor was already sued for malpractice lawsuits?
We can discover if a doctor has a malpractice suit against them by:
- Checking state court records and medical boards.
- Check for a record of your provider’s license through the Florida medical board.
- Use the Federation of State Medical Boards’ list of contact information to contact the state licensing board directly.
- Check court records to see if anyone sued the care provider.
- Using the web to search for information.
- Less reliable than court records or medical boards.
- Use the right keywords: “patient complaints, medical malpractice suit, your physician’s name.”
If I signed a waiver before I received care, can I still sue for medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale?
Yes. It’s very common for patients to sign waivers and other forms before a medical procedure. Waivers are intended to help keep patients informed and to help legally protect medical care providers.
But here’s the thing: a waiver doesn’t mean that a care provider cannot be held liable if they are negligent. You can ask a lawyer about the specific contents of your waiver, but waivers do not always prevent people from pursuing compensation when they’re hurt.
What if I wouldn’t have agreed to surgery if I had understood the risks associated with it?
If you agreed to surgery without full knowledge of the risks associated, you may have a medical malpractice case. Informed consent dictates that care providers must tell you about critical drawbacks and benefits of procedures and treatments before administering them.
A doctor doesn’t need to tell their patient about every potential risk, though. They just need to emphasize important or serious ones.
If you’re wondering whether you have a case after a surgery that went poorly, ask yourself:
- Would another, more competent doctor have disclosed this risk?
- Would the average patient make a different decision if they understood the risk?
This area of the law can prove tricky. If you have questions about the specific circumstances of your case, contact a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney can answer your questions and help you decide if you have a case.
Should I hire a lawyer for medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale?
Our answer is always yes. It will never hurt to have a legal professional on your side after medical malpractice. Attorneys can help you defend your rights and understand the complexities of the legal system.
If you’ve been hurt by a medical professional, you deserve support and justice. The easiest way to work towards both of these is to partner with a lawyer.
How widespread is medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale?
More than 120,000 Americans die every year due to medical malpractice. What’s worse, just 4.8 percent of physicians are responsible for 50 percent of the medical malpractice claims filed in the U.S. Medical malpractice is dangerous and pervasive and, unfortunately, innocent patients pay the price for healthcare professionals’ mistakes.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale: The Levin Firm
Win With Levin.
At the Levin Firm, we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the legal counsel and support they need. Our team is always prepared to address your questions and offer guidance. If you’d like to take advantage of a consultation, your initial meeting with our medical malpractice lawyers is totally free.