It is a rare occurrence for intent to be present in cases of medical malpractice. For the majority of cases, the injury to the victim is caused by medical negligence. However, the lack of intent doesn't change the amount of harm done to the victim – or the medical practitioner's liability for it. Still, despite the seeming black-and-white character of medical malpractice cases, they are actually quite complicated, and costly, and the period a victim must wait to find out if benefits will be provided or denied can be both exhausting and stressful. Contacting an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney may increase your chances for a more favorable outcome. Our law office centered in Brevard County Florida handles medical malpractice issues ranging from those of the simplest variety to those involving brain injuries, paralysis, and even death. We represent a variety of different cases and clients throughout the state of Florida from Miami to Jacksonville. Should our offices not be conveniently located for you, as always, we are happy to provide you with professional transportation, or in the alternative, should you wish, we are also happy to come to your residence.
The legal team at the Law Offices of James B. Coulter is passionate about medical malpractice cases and has decades of combined legal experience. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice in the state of Florida in Brevard County, Orange County, Seminole County, Indian River County, Osceola County, Volusia County, Putnam County, Pasco County, Duval County, Palm Beach County, Polk County, Duval County, or any other county in the state of Florida, please contact The Law Offices of James B. Coulter. We are happy to provide you with a free legal consultation and review of your claim to help you determine the remedies that might be available to you at law. Call (321) 586-9944 or submit our online contact form today and we will promptly get back to you.
Medical malpractice is a legal umbrella for a variety of different medical negligence issues concerning procedural mistakes, surgical errors, failure to fulfill obligations, failure to communicate, failure to diagnose, and inadequate or negligence health management. Many medical issues fall under medical malpractice including:
Addressing medical malpractice is usually a complicated process involving proof of causation and fighting medical malpractice insurance companies. If you or a loved one is the victim of a serious injury or other malady as a result of medical malpractice – you have enough to worry about. Let an experienced, compassionate personal injury attorney get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
Florida's Medical Malpractice Reform Act has remained controversial since its inception. The act as it was intended to do, effectively protects insurance companies and doctors from verdicts decided upon by juries by capping the damages that an injured individual may collect due to the negligence of a doctor and/or healthcare provider. The act, sold to people throughout the country as necessary "Tort Reform", has made it increasingly more difficult for those who have suffered serious injuries from medical malpractice to collect just compensation from the individuals and entities that are to blame.
Florida's Medical Malpractice Reform Act is codified in Florida Statutes 766.188. While the purpose of enacting Florida Statutes 766.188 was allegedly a means to curb the ever-increasing costs of healthcare, a recent study of other states that passed similar "Tort Reform" laws has reveled that such measures have done little or nothing at all to reduce healthcare costs. To the contrary, in those states that were noted in the study, insurance rates have continued to increase and insurance companies have continued to pile up enormous amounts of profits. This being done all while those who have been injured due to medical malpractice have been stripped of their right to just compensation and their right to have a jury determine the amount of damages that they should be afforded.
Part of the stipulations within Florida Statues 766.188 specifically capped the amount of recovery that one is entitled to in certain medical malpractice cases at $500,000.00 with regards to non-economic damages. By doing so, our legislatures limited how much a victim, and/or their survivors, could recover for pain and suffering if they became a victim of medical malpractice. Attorney James Coulter has dealt with these caps in damages in many of his past cases such as when he represented the the surviving parents of a newly born child who died after being overdosed with potassium while still in the neonatal care unit at a local hospital. The hospital's legal team attempted to hide behind the protective caps on damages and argued that the family was only entitled to $500,000.00 for their pain, their suffering, and the loss of their child. Any attorney handling medical malpractice cases needs to be familiar with the Medical Malpractice Reform Act, the laws surrounding it, the ways to fight it, and it's ever changing landscape.
A recent case decided by the Florida Supreme Court brought some issues from the Florida's Medical Malpractice Reform Act to a close when the Supreme Court held that the $500,000.00 cap in this particular case would not apply. As the law continues to change and more and more cases are brought to the Supreme Court challenging the Medical Malpractice Reform Act, it is more important now than ever that those injured parties make sure they choose the correct attorneys to handle their cases. Should you have a potential medical malpractice case, please contact The Law Offices of James B. Coulter to discuss the limitation, the possibilities and to educate yourself about the statute and what you might be entitled to.
The "statute of limitations" is a deadline -- before which an injured party must file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a health care provider. In the state of Florida, there are often special requirements a plaintiff has to fulfill before he or she can sue for medical malpractice. Failure to take the proper steps can result in a delay as to when the suit can be filed. Even worse, failure to take the proper steps can and often times does cause the plaintiff's attorney to miss the statute of limitations deadline. All too often, inexperienced attorneys fail to realize the specific nuances involved with Florida's statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, this inexperience can result in the potential cause of action being lost forever. In addition the problems associated with the limited amount of time afforded to bring a medical malpractice case, it can also be difficult to determine when the clock started running and what the deadline actually is.
Time Limits to File a Lawsuit in Florida for Medical Malpractice Cases
In Florida, you must start the lawsuit within two years of discovering the injury (or when you should have discovered the injury (http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/lawsuit-time-limit-from-discovery.html)) or, at the latest, four years from when the malpractice occurred. In other words, even if you couldn't have discovered the injury within four years, the case will be thrown out if you sue the health care provider more than four years after he or she caused the injury.
The exception to this general rule can come into play when care providers fraudulently conceal malpractice, i.e. intentionally deceiving you so you don't discover the malpractice. In that event, the statute of limitations is two years from when the injury was finally discovered or seven years from when the malpractice occurred.
Additionally, the statute of limitations does not apply to cases involving a minor if the case is started on or before his or her eighth birthday.
The basic laws for Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations can be found at Fla. Stat. Ann. §95.11, if you think that your statute is running, has already run, or is about to run out, do not wait, contact an attorney before there is not enough time to determine the remedies that area available to you.
Florida's Notice of Intent Requirement
In Florida, you are required to serve a notice of intent to sue on the health care provider before you can sue in court.
This notice sets in motion a complicated settlement process that lasts 90 days. During those 90 days, the statute of limitations is tolled. If the health care provider indicates earlier than 90 days that it does not wish to settle, then you have 60 days or the remainder of the statute of limitations to sue, whichever is the longer period of time. You can also get an extra 90 days if you file for an "investigation period" to find a medical expert to investigate your case. However, you cannot extend the statute of limitations with an investigation period if it has already expired.
One of the trickiest issues involved with medical malpractice cases is causation. Causation states that the claimant must prove:
Proving causation is an exhaustive process involving an extensive investigation that usually includes the advice and opinion of an expert healthcare provider. Remember, insurance companies care only about their customers and their own bottom line, so every little detail possibly involving causation is crucial in getting them to pay a fair settlement. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can expertly handle your causation investigation to better your chances for compensation while you focus on healing.
Under Florida Law, physicians can opt not to carry medical malpractice insurance if they can demonstrate financial responsibility to cover malpractice costs as well as meet certain conditions. This is known in the Florida medical community as going bare. One of the requirements of going bare is the physician must post a notice in his or her office stating that he or she does not carry medical malpractice insurance. A failure to post this notice in the practitioner's office or lack of financial ability to cover malpractice claim could result in penalties being imposed on the practitioner. If you are concerned about being a medical malpractice victim of a physician without insurance, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
If you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice in any part of Florida, including Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Kissimmee, Viera, Titusville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, St. Cloud, Jacksonville, South Florida, or the west coast from Destin to Tampa and Sarasota - you have enough to worry about. Call The Law Offices of James B. Coulter at (321) 586-9944 or submit our online contact form for your free consultation today. We have medical malpractice cases throughout the state of Florida and are honored to come to you should travel to our offices be difficult. Allow us the opportunity to provide you a free consultation. We will fight for what is right and what is fair in your medical malpractice case.