Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider such as a doctor or an employee of a hospital causes an injury to an individual by doing something wrong or failing to do something when it is appropriate to do so. However, a bad outcome as a result of a medical procedure does not necessary mean that malpractice has occurred. In order to have a claim for medical malpractice you must first show 1) that the provider failed in a duty of care owed to the individual injured and 2) that failure was the proximate cause of the injury. The duty of care for medical professionals is based upon what other professionals in the same field and geographical area do for their patients.
   Who may make a claim?
The individual injured may have a claim and the individual's spouse and children may have a claim for loss of consortium. Further, parents may file on behalf of their minor children for the child's injuries and for their own loss of consortium. Only an attorney can determine who may have a claim and what type of claim is available.

   What happens if I believe I have a claim?
Before a lawsuit can be made against a medical professional, an investigation must be conducted. This is required by statute. The investigation period takes 90 days (unless it is extended by agreement of all parties) wherein both the injured individual and the medical professional investigate the validity of the claim. If at the end of those 90 days no agreement has been reached, then the individual may move forward with a formal lawsuit.

   How long do I have to make a claim?
Florida has a two year statute of limitations in which to bring a claim for medical malpractice. If you do not bring a claim within the two year statute of limitations, you may be forever barred from moving forward on that claim. Therefore, it is imperative that if you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice that you contact an attorney immediately to protect your rights. Even if you believe your claim is barred, contact an attorney as there are exceptions that may apply to your claim.

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