Medical Malpractice Attorney in Lakeland
We put our health and our lives in the hands of doctors and nurses. Doctors can’t work miracles, but we are right to expect them to practice their profession with the appropriate level of skill and care. Medical mistakes caused by negligence, incompetence or errors in judgment have a special name in the law – medical malpractice. Doctors and hospitals can and should be held accountable for the injuries they cause when they commit malpractice. The Turnbull Firm offers hope and healing for medical malpractice victims in Lakeland by aggressively pursuing malpractice lawsuits and making sure patients get the medical care and compensation they need and deserve after being harmed by a doctor’s negligence. If you believe you may have been harmed by a medical error that shouldn’t have happened, call the Lakeland medical malpractice attorneys at The Turnbull Firm for immediate assistance.
What is medical malpractice?
Doctors are required to treat patients with the level of skill, care and treatment that reasonably prudent similar physicians would recognize as appropriate and acceptable. Doctors commit malpractice when they fall below this standard. Here are just a few of the more common examples of medical malpractice in Lakeland hospitals:
- Surgeon botches surgery through negligence or incompetence and injures patient in the process
- Surgeon operates on the wrong patient or the wrong side of the body
- Surgery team leaves medical instruments inside the patient’s body
- Doctor treats patient without obtaining the patient’s informed consent
- Nurse administers the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Hospital staff mixes up or misreads a patient’s chart
- Radiologist, lab technician or doctor misinterprets the results of a diagnostic test
- Medical provider makes an incorrect diagnosis or completely misses a diagnosis of cancer or some other serious condition
- Hospital administrators fail to carefully select and review staff to assure competence
- Doctor or nurse delays in ordering a c-section or calling for a consult
- Obstetrician or obstetric nurse unduly prolongs labor or mishandles baby during delivery
How do medical malpractice claims in Florida work?
Florida law allows injured patients to pursue medical malpractice claims against doctors and hospitals, but the law favors the doctors in many ways and does not make it easy for injury victims. Before a lawsuit can be filed, the patient must give the defendant a pre-suit notice that includes a “certificate of merit” attesting that the claim is valid. This requires getting a medical expert to thoroughly review the medical records and give an opinion that the doctor in question made a mistake. The law also requires the plaintiff’s attorney to make a reasonable investigation into the facts of the case and have grounds to believe in good faith that medical negligence did indeed occur.
If a lawsuit is filed, the judge will order mediation and a settlement conference as mandatory parts of the process, hoping to settle the case without a jury trial. Arbitration is also an option, and many doctors and hospitals will try to require patients to sign an arbitration agreement before they ever treat them. Arbitration often favors the doctor or hospital over the injury victim.
How long do I have to file a claim of medical malpractice?
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida is two years from the date the malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered, up to four years from the date of the injury. You might have up to seven years if the doctor or hospital actively tried to conceal the mistake or otherwise keep you from discovering that malpractice occurred. For birth injuries or other medical mistakes to young children, a case may be filed up to the child’s eighth birthday, even if more than four years have passed from the date of the injury.
Can family members recover for a wrongful death caused by medical malpractice?
When another’s negligence or wrongful act causes death instead of merely injury, Florida law allows surviving family members and the estate of the deceased to recover compensation for the special harm the negligent actor inflicted on the family. Florida’s wrongful death law applies to cases of medical malpractice, but the recovery for family members is limited compared to other claims that arose from a car accident or other personal injury. For instance, adult children cannot recover damages for pain and suffering or loss of parental companionship if they lose a parent to medical malpractice. Similarly, parents who lost an adult child cannot recover damages for their emotional pain and suffering. There seems to be no logic to making these special rules for medical malpractice victims, other than to protect doctors’ pocketbooks and the highly influential medical malpractice insurance lobby. This unfair Florida statute is currently being challenged simultaneously in the legislature and the Florida Supreme Court, but for now, this discriminatory policy is the law in the state of Florida.
Get Medical Care and Compensation After Medical Malpractice in Lakeland
If a Lakeland health care provider’s negligence or mistake injured you or a member of your family, call The Turnbull Firm at 863-324-3500 for a no-cost, confidential consultation. We’ll let you know how we can help, and we only charge a fee once we recover compensation for you.