At Zervos & Calta, PLLC, our law firm represents victims of medical malpractice by bringing claims against professionals in the health care industry including hospitals, nursing homes, dentists, and doctors, where mistakes or negligence have potentially caused an injury, worsening of an illness, or the death of a family member. Medical mistakes disable or kill tens of thousands Americans each year and many more cases often go unreported. Most of these mistakes are preventable.
Medical malpractice is generally considered to occur when a certain standard of care has not been met by a health care provider, so that the patient suffers injury or death.
What does “Standard of Care mean”?
“Standard of care” is not a medical term, but rather a legal term generally used by attorneys in medical malpractice suits, not by doctors. It refers to the standards or customary care that the average doctor would provide under the same circumstances. In Florida, an expert is needed to state what the standard of care is and whether it has been breached.
Most malpractice claims involve the health care provider – doctor, dentist, nurse, staff member – and the facility where they work. However, any health care provider can be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit if they breach the normal standard of care and a patient under their care is injured as a result. Most common types of health care providers named in malpractice suits include:
Any patient who has been injured by medical malpractice has the right to file a claim. Parents may file a claim for their child if the patient is a minor, and in the case of a death due to medical malpractice, the patient’s children or spouse have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim against the provider.
At Zervos & Calta, PLLC, we can help determine if you have grounds for a valid medical malpractice claim or if a different type of claim should be filed against a non-medical professional. For example, if you were implanted with a defective medical device that caused problems, or you were prescribed an incorrect prescription drug or dosage that caused injury or worsening of an illness, a product liability lawsuit would be better suited than a medical malpractice claim.
When considering whether there is merit to a malpractice claim, the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Zervos & Calta, PLLC evaluate whether the person involved suffered serious and permanent injury as a direct result of inappropriate or substandard care provided by health care providers or a medical facility. A few examples of inappropriate or substandard care include:
If you think that you or your loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, our malpractice attorneys are available to talk with you about the case at no charge.
Just because someone doesn’t get the results they are looking for, even if those results are bad, doesn’t mean that malpractice has occurred. It has to be proven that a doctor, medical facility, or nursing home provided below the standard of care services in order for them to be held liable.
For example, in addition to the list above, administering too much anesthesia, failure to do something deemed medically necessary, or performing a procedure improperly are all types of negligence. Surgery on the wrong part of the body, leaving objects inside the patient, errors in medication, and failing to correctly diagnose a potentially fatal illness are all considered to be malpractice.
– Surgical injuries. Surgical injury occurs when a patient has surgery on the wrong body part, undergoes an incorrect procedure, or even has surgery that was intended for another person. The Archives of Surgery documented that “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors”, which should never happen, occur about 2,700 times per year. Malpractice can also occur when a patient is not monitored properly or doesn’t receive proper care from medical personnel after undergoing surgery.
– Medication errors. A significant amount of injuries and deaths are caused every year simply by medication errors. Illegible handwriting abbreviations that are confusing are responsible for prescriptions being administered incorrectly, as well as drugs with similar names. Medical professionals not communicating with each other properly can also cause medication errors. Prescribing a medication that the doctor knows or should know would interact adversely with another medication their patient is already taking, can result in severe injury or death. Dangerous drugs can cause serious injury.
– Failure to diagnose or treat timely. Failing to accurately diagnose a condition or illness when there is still time to for it to be treated leads to many deaths that could be prevented every year. Some illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed include heart attacks, appendicitis, strokes, cancer, and pulmonary embolisms cause by blood clots that could have been treated. These mistakes often occur because doctors don’t have enough time to spend with each patient to discuss their medical history and symptoms. Sometimes they are the result of a lack of communication between medical personnel.
– Anesthesia errors. Anesthesia is administered about 40 million times per year. Anesthesia allows doctors to perform lifesaving procedures; however, a doctor specializing in anesthesia (called an anesthesiologist) must be careful in administering the anesthesia and must monitor the patient and know the patient’s medical history throughout the procedure. In severe situations, brain injury, suffocation, paralysis, heart attacks, coma and even death can result from mistakes in dosage and monitoring. In stranger instances, patients can “wake up” during surgery due to improper dosage, and this can cause the patient to experience unnecessary pain and distress.
– Labor and delivery. Having a baby and going through the process of giving birth is an event that can be dangerous not only for the baby but also for the mother. Complications can quickly arise and medical personnel are responsible for monitoring the status of both the mother and the baby. If they don’t act quickly enough when an emergency occurs, or if they act carelessly, the baby can suffer permanent injuries including brain injury or cerebral palsy, which will affect it for the rest of its life. The mother’s life could also be in danger.
– Emergency room malpractice. Emergency rooms in Florida hospitals can be understaffed, which can lead to disorganization, inefficiencies and the tendency to make mistakes when they. The Journal of American Medical Association published a study that shows that almost half of all malpractice deaths are the result of ER (emergency room) mistakes.
Not having the desired result from a surgery does not amount to medical malpractice. For instance, not having enough pain relief following a surgery or if the results following plastic surgery were not as good as one hoped they would be. Most, if not all, surgical procedures or medications have known and accepted risks. Sometimes people suffer complications or side effects that have become accepted or known risks in the medical community. When this happens, the patient often does not have any recourse for medical malpractice.
If you think that you or someone you love may suffered because of a malpractice issue, please come to Zervos & Calta, PLLC for help as quickly as possible. We will sit down with you to find out the details, make an early assessment to see if you have a claim, and answer your questions.
To prepare for a consultation with us or any other personal injury attorney, there are a couple of things that would be very helpful for you to do.
We can look at the facts of your case and make a determination of whether you have a valid malpractice case against a medical professional and/or facility. If you had a bad result or are in worse condition than before your treatment, there is certainly a possibility that medical negligence could have caused them. We will talk to you and your family and then decide if more investigation needed by looking into your medical records.
Once we have received your records our legal team, together with our medical malpractice attorneys, will analyze the information provided. Even though the events that led to the potential medical negligence won’t always be recorded in the medical records, we will look for any evidence to support a claim. When appropriate we will consult with a doctor with extensive experience in the appropriate field as a medical expert to determine if medical malpractice happened and if your outcome could have been avoided.
When the determination has been made that medical negligence occurred, our medical malpractice attorneys will call expert witnesses if needed, and work to obtain the fullest amount of compensation you or your loved one is entitled to.
In a medical malpractice case, “damages” is the legal word used to describe what the injured patient has lost because of their injury. Our civil system of justice uses money to compensate “what a patient has lost”, because there is no other way a suffered patient can be made whole. In a medical malpractice case, there are two types of damages awarded.
Economic damages, also called special damages, are lost wages and loss of earning capacity (which includes employment benefits), past and future medical bills, and other financial losses caused by the medical malpractice injury. This includes all the money that one has lost and is expected to lose in the future because of the injury. Other calculated damages include medical bills, the most significant of which are future medical bills.
Future Medical Bills. Often injuries are so severe in medical malpractice cases that they require medical care for the lifetime of the patient. The dollar amount of future medical care can sometimes exceed more than one million dollars, depending on the age of the patient. In these cases, personal injury lawyers should hire an expert specializing in calculating future medical bills, called a medical economist, to help a jury understand what these types of damages entail, to help get a better jury verdict.
Damages that are not economic are those that include pain, suffering, mental anguish, and sometimes loss of consortium. This is a subjective figure, meaning it is left to the jury to decide what they think is fair for non-economic damages. No guidelines exist for arriving at a value of an injured person’s pain and suffering.
Putting a monetary value on pain and suffering is not easy. Juries typically consider the following factors when arriving at a value to place on pain and suffering damages:
Loss of Consortium refers to the intangible benefits that the injured person provided to his/her spouse, or (in some states), children.
The time permitted or deadline to file a medical malpractice case in Florida is called the “Statute of Limitations”. If the lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires, the case cannot survive and will be dismissed by the Court.
Every state decides what its limits are going to be for how long a patient can wait before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida has set the statute of limitations as two years, from when the patient knew or should have known that an injury occurred and that it was probably due to medical malpractice.
Florida Statute 95.11, specifically subsection 7, explains the Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice in Florida. There are often times exceptions to the time limit and calculating the two year deadline can sometimes be tricky. For this reason, it is best to consult a medical malpractice lawyer.
Medical malpractice cases most often will go to trial because the insurance companies have a strong motivation to deny any claim. There is a lot of money at stake and they have large resources to fight to keep it. Our attorneys are not intimidated by these insurance companies and are experienced and successful litigators in the courtroom. If you have suffered injury or harm as a result of medical malpractice, our lawyers can help you pursue compensation for damages.
It’s important to start working with our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. Call our law firm to find out what your legal rights are and if you have the basis for a medical malpractice claim.
Contact us by filling out the form on the right or call 727-937-3171 to talk to us. Your initial consultation at any of our offices is free.
Visit us in one of our convenient office locations in Spring Hill, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.
We also work with clients in Trinity, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Westchase, Hudson, Elfers, Holiday, Bayonet Point, and New Port Richey.