A Guide to the Types of Medical Malpractice: Understanding When You Have a Case

Medical mistakes can happen in a variety of different ways and under different circumstances. However, not all of them fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. And it’s not just doctors and surgeons who could make a mistake that causes injuries. Hospitals, pharmacists, and even technology can cause irreparable damage, changing your life due to their negligence.

Medical malpractice laws can be difficult for the layperson to fully comprehend. If you suspect you may have been the victim of a medical mistake, you should speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit.

A doctor taking a patient's blood pressure

What Defines Medical Malpractice?

Healthcare professionals are not immune to mistakes and errors in judgment. Even with the highest level of training, they can still fail in properly treating what ails you. Not all medical errors and mistakes can be considered medical malpractice. To be medical malpractice, the following must occur:

  • Failure to provide a standard level of care – Healthcare professionals are required to provide a standard of care, meaning that they follow generally accepted methods for treatment.
  • An injury resulted due to negligence – Due to straying from the accepted standards of care, the patient’s condition worsened or they developed other conditions.
  • The injury has significant negative consequences – The injury has caused a disability, loss of ability to earn an income, or chronic pain.

Merely being unhappy with the result of treatment isn’t medical malpractice. As long as the medical professional followed what other similarly trained experts would have done under the same circumstances, no matter what the outcome, it is not medical malpractice.

Types of Medical Negligence

Medical negligence can happen in a variety of different ways. From the operating room to the corner pharmacy, mistakes can happen. Here are some of the more common cases of medical malpractice:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
  • Prescribing incorrect medication or dosage
  • Failure to order proper tests
  • Inadequate follow-up care
  • Discharging patient too soon
  • Amputation of incorrect extremity or organ
  • Leaving medical devices inside a patient during surgery
  • Failure to provide informed consent

These are just a few of the many situations that constitute medical malpractice. Others can include mistakes by non-medical staff such as paperwork errors, misfiling, or losing patient’s medical documents. These types of human errors can cause doctors to not have all of the information required to diagnose and treat their patients properly.

Another area of healthcare that can create a negligent incident is the many problems that can occur with technology. Many types of imaging equipment require periodic calibrations, and when not performed, tests can provide incorrect or inaccurate results.

How to File a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical malpractice law can be difficult to navigate and without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can quickly become lost in the maze of legalities. Florida’s medical malpractice statute of limitations is only two years from the time of the discovery of the injury, so hiring a legal team is key to receiving compensation. However, before filing a lawsuit, there are a few time-consuming prerequisites.

  1. Your attorney will need to obtain an affidavit from a similarly experienced medical professional attesting that the injury was due to medical negligence.
  2. The individual or entity that is being sued must be notified of your intentions and also be given the affidavit mentioned above.
  3. The defendant will be given 90 days to respond to your claim.

While waiting for the defendant to respond, your legal team will begin to gather the required evidence to prove your claim. It’s the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove that not only negligence did occur, but also that it created an injury or condition that has caused significant harm.

A doctor's stethoscope

Once the defendant responds to the claim, the discovery process begins. Both legal teams will meet to share evidence. This presents an opportunity for a mutually agreed upon settlement to be reached, sparing both parties the time and expense of a trial. Most medical malpractice cases are settled during the discovery process.

However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. Medical malpractice cases can be lengthy, and even if your case is successful, the defendant has the right to appeal.

Florida Medical Malpractice: The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, medical negligence does occur. Misdiagnoses, surgical mishaps, and even technological errors all play a part in unfortunate instances of medical malpractice.

If you feel you’ve been a victim of medical negligence, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. To receive maximum compensation for your damages, you’ll need the expertise of your legal team to prove neglect and proof of your medical and financial hardships.

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