Decades Of Experience In Personal Injury Law

Answers To Commonly Asked Personal Injury Questions

It’s perfectly understandable to be filled with questions after a serious personal injury. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we receive. While you will hopefully find the information helpful, please remember that each case is unique with its own set of circumstances, which is why you should speak with an experienced attorney about your situation. Contact Weston Smith Law, PLLC to discuss your own questions during a free consultation.

What does “standard of care” mean in a medical malpractice case?

The standard of care in medical malpractice differs from that of other personal injury matters because it deals with a profession. Health care providers are under an obligation to practice within the prevailing professional standard of care. The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider is that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent and similar health care providers. Certain practices in medical care are accepted as “standard,” meaning they are considered to be how you would treat the patient for the best possible results. When these treatments are not done, it can be seen as a dereliction of duty. These standards must be shown to the court through expert testimony by other medical professionals in the same specialty area.

What is needed to prove medical malpractice?

In order to successfully prove medical malpractice, we must prove that the defendant physician breached the standard of care. In order to prove that, we must have a retained expert physician who will testify that the defendant physician breached the standard of care. In every case, we retain a physician, often more than one, in different specialties, to review the records and materials in the case and render an opinion as to whether the standard of care was breached and whether that caused an injury.

How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim in Florida?

How long you have to file your claim is called a “statute of limitations.” In Florida, the statute of limitations is two years. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins to run when you knew or should have known that you were the victim of medical malpractice. One should always view the statute as beginning to run at the earliest possible date, in that, if the two-year period is permitted to run without proper legal action being taken, your claim would be barred.

What kinds of mistakes can lead to medical malpractice claims?

Any breach of the professional standard of care could lead to a medical malpractice claim. That may include the failure to perform an appropriate medical evaluation, the failure to timely diagnose an illness or disease, the failure to prescribe proper medication, surgical mistakes, errors when delivering a baby, failure to properly interpret medical tests, emergency room errors, anesthesia errors and the failure to properly treat your condition or disease. The list goes on and on. Also important is the injury associated with the error. It is not enough that there be an error or mistake, that error or mistake must cause an identifiable injury.

Is nursing home abuse considered to be medical malpractice?

No. In Florida, nursing home neglect or abuse is a separate claim from medical malpractice and is governed by a completely different set of laws. Chapter 400 of the Florida statute governs nursing homes and sets forth the laws applicable to nursing home neglect or abuse cases. Chapter 766 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the laws applicable to medical malpractice. While there are similarities, there are also significant differences. We represent individuals and families who have been the victims of nursing home neglect or abuse as well as those who have been victims of medical malpractice.

Will my medical malpractice case go to trial?

It is impossible to predict which cases will or will not go to trial. There are many different issues that impact this question. However, medical malpractice cases are generally aggressively defended. Therefore, we evaluate and prepare every case with a plan to take it to trial, and always make strategic decisions during the case to maximize your recovery.

How are medical malpractice lawsuits resolved?

If they are not resolved through a negotiated settlement between the parties, then they will go to court where the burden of proof will rest on you, the plaintiff. The burden of proof standard in these cases is called a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that your evidence against the defendant must be more convincing or of greater quantity or quality than that of the opposing evidence.

Discuss Your Case With An Attorney For Free

At Weston Smith Law, PLLC, our practice focuses entirely on personal injury law. Since 1992, attorney Weston Smith has worked tenaciously to bring our clients full and fair compensation for their injuries. To learn how we can help you, contact our St. Petersburg, Florida, office by calling 727-408-6100. You can also reach out online.

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