When we’re sick or hurt, we seek the help of medical professionals to remedy the problem. While it’s the job of doctors, nurses, and other medical providers to help patients, they sometimes cause harm, necessitating the expertise of a medical malpractice lawyer in Jacksonville. Even skilled medical professionals make mistakes that have serious and even life-threatening consequences.
If you were recently injured or a loved one recently died because a Jacksonville medical provider didn’t uphold their standard of care, you’re entitled to financial compensation. The aftermath of a medical injury or death can be devastating, and you shouldn’t have to suffer alone. Steinger, Greene & Feiner is here to support you every step of the way. We’ll do whatever it takes to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and secure the compensation you need to cover the resulting expenses.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
When medical students graduate from medical school, they recite what’s called the Hippocratic Oath. This oath includes a pledge to only provide patients with beneficial treatments and to not cause them harm. Nurses who graduate from nursing school recite a modified version of the Hippocratic oath called the Nightingale Pledge. In this pledge, nurses vow to aid physicians, not administer harmful drugs, and devote themselves to the welfare of those in their care. When medical providers breach their duty of care, the consequences can be catastrophic, and they can be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that result.
The National Library of Medicine defines medical malpractice as “the failure to provide the degree of care another clinician in the same position with the same credentials would have performed that resulted in injury to the patient.” While they produce similar results, medical negligence, and medical malpractice are two different concepts.
- Medical negligence occurs when a medical provider doesn’t intend to harm a patient, but their actions indirectly cause injury or death.
- Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider intentionally breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in the patient’s injuries or death.
The injury can cause temporary, long-term, or permanent damages.
Proving Medical Malpractice
Proving medical malpractice can be difficult. A patient must prove not only that malpractice took place but that the malpractice directly caused their injuries. Without sufficient evidence to back up a medical malpractice claim, injured patients can be left with no compensation. These are the four criteria that must be met to establish medical malpractice.
- Duty: The medical professional owed a duty of care to the patient
- Breach: The medical professional breached this duty of care
- Causation: The medical professional’s actions caused the patient’s injuries
- Damages: The patient suffered a form of identifiable harm (physical, financial, etc.)
6 Common Causes of Medical Malpractice in Jacksonville
While various factors can contribute to medical malpractice taking place, these are the six most common causes.
If your doctor misdiagnoses a condition that a reasonably competent medical professional would have diagnosed correctly, they’ve committed medical malpractice. Not only can the missed condition result in severe injury, illness, or death, but the treatments administered for the misdiagnosed condition can cause significant harm to the patient, including unnecessary pain and suffering.
2. Delayed Diagnosis
Malpractice doesn’t always involve providing incorrect care. It also involves a lack of care, like failing to intervene during an emergency or diagnosing a condition too late. The delayed diagnosis of a condition can result in severe injury or death for the patient. The failure to diagnose a condition is a leading reason why patients file medical malpractice lawsuits.
3. Surgical Errors
Surgical errors occur every day in the U.S. Errors like leaving surgical tools—such as scalpels, scissors, towels, needles, and sponges—inside the patient can cause severe internal injuries and even fatal infections. A surgeon might also botch a procedure, operate on the wrong body part, or operate on the wrong patient.
4. Medication and Prescription Errors
Drugs used in the medical field are potent and can cause serious harm when mishandled. A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist might administer or prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dose. They might also administer or prescribe a medication that interacts with other medications the patient already takes. Another possibility is that someone provides the patient with incorrect or incomplete instructions for how to take the medication.
5. Anesthesia Errors
Anytime a patient is operated on, they’re put under anesthesia to prevent sensations of pain. An anesthesiologist administers the drug to the patient before surgery. The three types of anesthesia are:
- Local anesthesia: Local anesthesia numbs a specific area of the body
- Regional anesthesia: Regional anesthesia numbs a larger part of the body
- General anesthesia: General anesthesia makes one unconscious
Given the strength of anesthesia, administering it incorrectly can cause various problems. These are the most common anesthesia errors that occur.
- The anesthesiologist doesn’t properly communicate preoperative instructions to the patient, like fasting from food and drink for a certain amount of time before surgery.
- The anesthesiologist doesn’t review the patient’s medical history, which may result in administering an anesthetic they’re allergic to or that interacts with another medication they take.
- The anesthesiologist administers the wrong type of anesthesia or the wrong dosage.
- The anesthesiologist doesn’t properly monitor the patient during surgery to know if the dosage should be adjusted.
6. Birth Injuries
Childbirth is an intense and somewhat unpredictable experience. Every birth is different, and every patient’s needs are different. Medical providers owe a duty of care both to the mother and her baby. Unfortunately, mistakes still happen, some of which can be life-altering or even fatal.
Birth injuries are preventable injuries that take place during labor, during delivery, or after delivery. They can impact the mother, the child, or both.
Common causes of birth injuries include the following:
- Staff shortage
- Lack of training
- Lack of communication or miscommunication
- Limited or outdated resources
- Lack of monitoring
- Delayed C-section
- Disregard of hospital regulations
Common birth injuries include the following:
- Vaginal tearing
- Pelvic floor damage
- Excessive bleeding
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Organ damage
Medical Malpractice Statistics
Here’s a breakdown of medical malpractice statistics in the U.S. based on data collected from 2017 to 2021.
- Treatment-related errors accounted for 28.5% of all medical malpractice cases
- Diagnosis-related errors accounted for 26% of all medical malpractice cases
- Surgery-related errors accounted for 24.1% of all medical malpractice cases
- Obstetrics-related errors accounted for 5.4% of all medical malpractice cases
- Medication-related errors accounted for 5.1% of all medical malpractice cases
- Monitoring-related errors accounted for 3.8% of all medical malpractice cases
- Other errors accounted for 3.1% of all medical malpractice cases
- Anesthesia-related errors accounted for 2.5% of all medical malpractice cases
The Impact of Medical Malpractice
Injuries caused by medical malpractice can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating for the patient and their loved ones. A patient might not be able to work and earn a living to support their family due to chronic pain. A patient might suffer psychological and emotional trauma due to pain and stress from post-surgery complications. A patient might have mounting debt due to medical bills for rehabilitative care after a botched surgery. In the most severe cases, medical malpractice can result in the wrongful death of a patient.
How a Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit in a medical malpractice case is a bit different from other personal injury cases. Rather than suing the individual who caused your injuries, you first must file a formal complaint with the medical board at the medical facility where your injury occurred that identifies the medical professional. The medical board will review your complaint and decide if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the individual.
If multiple people committed medical malpractice, you can file a lawsuit against each individual. If medical malpractice was a result of inadequate resources or training provided by a medical facility, you can file a lawsuit against the facility rather than an individual medical provider.
One thing to keep in mind when filing a complaint or a potential lawsuit is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Florida. The statute of limitations is two years in standard cases, meaning you have two years from the date the injury occurred to file a claim. The statute of limitations is extended to four years for cases in which the resulting injury wasn’t discovered until after it occurred. In these cases, you have four years from the date you should have reasonably discovered the injury to file a claim. If medical malpractice resulted in the death of a loved one, you have two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death claim.
The Importance of Evidence and Expert Testimonies
Evidence can be the difference between a successful case and an unsuccessful case. You can’t prove malpractice occurred or that the malpractice caused your injuries without providing sufficient evidence.
While some evidence varies based on the cause of the medical malpractice, these are the basic pieces of evidence you should gather before filing a claim against a medical provider or entity.
- The date on which the malpractice took place
- Evidence of physical injury
- The date you discovered your injury
- Medical records and bills
- Photo or video evidence
- Treatment received after the injury
- Copies of incorrect prescriptions
- Expert eyewitness statements: An eyewitness statement is one of the stronger pieces of evidence in a medical malpractice case. If someone saw what happened and can attest to the events that took place in court, that’s hard for a medical provider to dispute. Export eyewitnesses can include doctors, other healthcare workers, other patients, family members, or anyone else who witnessed the events that took place.
- Lab and test results: This can include results from X-rays, CT scans, amniocentesis, vital signs testing, a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, genetic testing, a kidney function test, MRI scans, nuclear scans, PET scans, and/or a thyroid test.
- A copy of healthcare policies and regulations: Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities have policies in place outlining medical provider duties and the standard of care patients should receive. If you can prove a medical provider failed to follow policies outlined by their employer, it may indicate they did not uphold their duty of care to you, which will strengthen your medical malpractice claim.
Potential Compensation Victims Can Receive
If you suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you likely need additional medical care, rehabilitative care, or prescription medication—or a combination of the three—to treat your pain. If someone else’s actions caused your injuries, you shouldn’t have to pay the price. Steinger, Greene & Feiner will fight for the compensation you deserve to cover both economic and non-economic damages:
- Economic damages: Economic damages are monetary losses like lost wages, loss of future income, medical bills, rehabilitation, prescription medication, and future cost of care. If the loss can be assigned a specific dollar amount, it’s likely economic damage.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages are incalculable losses like pain and suffering, anxiety and depression, scarring and disfigurement, loss of companionship, emotional trauma, loss of quality of life, and disability.
There are two ways you can obtain compensation: by reaching a settlement or filing a lawsuit. If you settle, the healthcare employee’s or employer’s malpractice insurance provider will offer a set payment for your injuries. You’ll either receive the compensation all at once in a lump sum or over time in installments. One thing to note is that if you settle, you can’t later choose to file a lawsuit.
If you can’t reach a satisfactory settlement, you can file a lawsuit against the individual or entity who committed medical malpractice. A court will determine how much your case is worth and assign damages accordingly. Most medical malpractice victims settle rather than file a lawsuit because the reality is they’re more likely to receive compensation that way.
Whether you decide to settle or take your case to court, a Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner will provide elite representation every step of the way to ensure you get fairly compensated.
Choosing the Right Medical Malpractice Attorney
When it comes to proving medical malpractice in Jacksonville, it’s all about selecting the right lawyer to represent your case. Here are a few factors you should consider when searching for a medical malpractice attorney.
- Experience: How many years of experience does the attorney have? While seniority alone doesn’t guarantee success, it does increase the likelihood that your case will be successful.
- Expertise: Does the attorney have experience handling medical malpractice cases specifically? While a general attorney can still legally represent a medical malpractice case, a specialist will have a better chance of achieving the results you want.
- Success rate: How often does the attorney win their clients’ cases? Consistent success in the past is the primary contributor to future success.
Our Track Record of Success
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our medical malpractice lawyers have the skills and resources required to achieve justice and fair compensation on your behalf. Take a look at our top case results and testimonials from satisfied clients.
The Difference Between Civilian and Military Medical Malpractice
Slightly different rules apply to members of the U.S. military and their family members who are the victims of medical malpractice. The U.S. military, which is an entity of the U.S. government, has immunity from lawsuits filed against it in civil court, which includes medical malpractice lawsuits. However, the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Military Claims Act waive this immunity for the benefit of military personnel.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to medical malpractice at a military hospital, you must first file a claim against the government before filing a lawsuit in court. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Military Claims Act is two years, meaning you have two years from the date you discovered or received a diagnosis of a medical condition to file a claim.
Get Justice and Secure Compensation with a Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice in Jacksonville, contact a lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner to secure the compensation you deserve. Our injury lawyers are prepared to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and fight for your rights tooth and nail. Don’t suffer anymore. Reach out today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.