Obstacles To Filing A Medical Malpractice Claim In Florida
When someone receives medical care that is below the accepted standard, filing a claim for medical malpractice is what most people expect to happen. This does happen in Florida – but for a variety of reasons, few medical malpractice cases are ever pursued to fruition. For the average plaintiff, there are a variety of potential hurdles that can prevent them from filing suit, or may prevent them from recovering the compensation they need to try and move on.
One of the major issues that can derail a plaintiff’s case is that Florida, like some other states, has put pre-suit requirements in place. For example, before a medical malpractice suit can be filed in Florida, an unofficial ‘pre-suit investigation’ must happen – but, as part of this “unofficial” proceeding, the plaintiff must engage the services of a medical expert witness and have them provide an affidavit stating that there is cause to file for medical malpractice. Failure to do so can get your complaint dismissed, because technically you have failed to state a claim.
Even if you do manage to comply with the rules requiring the medical affidavit, an informal discovery period will occur before the claim can officially be filed, where both sides must trade evidence like medical and financial records, so that both the potential plaintiff and defendant can mount a case. That said, the average medical malpractice victim is not well acquainted with the law surrounding these issues, and will very often fail to comply with the law unless they have an attorney to help them with the little details. This can derail a valid medical malpractice claim before it even gets to court.
Low Award Amounts
Another obstacle for many plaintiffs seeking to file a medical malpractice case was, until recently, the issue of damages being capped. There are two types of damages that one can seek in a Florida medical malpractice case – economic damages are the tangible amounts that one spends on medical bills and other expenses associated with your injuries, while non-economic damages are the intangible damages that one suffers, such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and mental anguish.
Until mid-2017, state law restricted non-economic damages to between $500,000 and $1.5 million (depending on factors like the patient’s end state and the status of the medical practitioner). However, the case of North Broward Hospital District v Kalitan (2017) overturned the cap, meaning that cases in the last few years have, in theory, sought the damages they have actually incurred instead of being restricted. Some attorneys still may be loath to take on certain medical malpractice cases due to a perceived lack of ultimate reward, but with the change in the law, many more cases are feasible to mount than might have been before.
Call A Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney
When one places themselves under a doctor’s care, they expect care that meets the prevailing standard of the place and time. If you do not get it, you have every right to seek compensation for what you have been through. The Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group can offer you compassionate and dedicated representation at a point in your life that can be very difficult. Call our offices today for a free consultation.