Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Tampa, FL
At Greco & Wozniak, P.A. in Tampa, FL, we believe physicians, nurses, hospitals, and other health care professionals should be held accountable for medical mistakes or care and treatment that do not meet the prevailing standard of care. The Florida Legislature has passed a number of laws designed to make it exceedingly difficult for victims of medical negligence to hold medical professionals accountable for their medical mistakes. As experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we understand what it takes to prevail on these cases under the existing status of Florida law and retain the best possible medical expert witnesses to explain why the medical professional should be held responsible for the harm he or she caused.
We handle all types of medical malpractice cases involving a wide variety of medical conditions, surgeries, and other types of treatments. The basic categories of medical malpractice and other similar cases can be divided as follows:
- Failure to make a timely diagnosis (e.g., heart attack, stroke, DVT, pulmonary embolus, cancer, infection, pressure sores)
- Surgical and anesthesia negligence resulting in injury or death (e.g., hypoxic brain injury, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, nerve injuries, orthopedic injuries, eye injuries)
- Nursing home negligence, pharmacy negligence, physical therapy negligence, errors administering IV medication and treatments, retained foreign objects
Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does the law require you to prove to prevail in a medical malpractice case?
A. Generally speaking, a claimant must show three things to prevail in a medical malpractice action:
Liability - That a medical provider deviated from the prevailing standard or care;
Causation - That the deviation from the prevailing standard of care resulted in substantial harm or death, which “more likely than not” would have been avoided had the standard of care been met; and
Damages - Substantial harm or death.
Q. Why is a doctor not automatically responsible for my damages when a surgical procedure does not go as expected?
A. Medical professionals often successfully defend cases on the basis that an injury experienced during a surgical procedure was a known complication. Just because the surgical procedure does not have the expected outcome does not mean a claimant can prevail in a medical malpractice case. Even with a known complication, however, medical malpractice is present if the surgeon fell below the standard of care in his or her surgical technique or methodology or if the complication in question was not diagnosed in a timely manner.
Q. What is the process for pursuing a medical malpractice case?
A. Before filing a lawsuit in a medical malpractice case, we must gather all pertinent medical records and have them reviewed by a medical provider in the same specialty as the provider we intend to sue. We must obtain a corroborating affidavit from the expert stating that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the defendant medical professional deviated from the prevailing standard of care. Once we obtain the corroborating affidavit, we must send a Notice of Intent to Initiate the Claim for Medical Malpractice to all prospective defendants. At that point, the defense will have 90 days to investigate the claim. Both parties involved are permitted to take unsworn statements and obtain presuit requests for information concerning the case.
At the end of the 90 days, the defense can either make an offer to settle the case, offer to admit liability and proceed to arbitration on damages, or deny the claim by obtaining a corroborating affidavit from an expert in the same specialty stating that the standard of care was met. Our experience has shown that the overwhelming majority of presuit notices in medical malpractice cases are denied. A lawsuit is then promptly filed.
Q. How long will it take to resolve my case?
A. Medical malpractice cases typically take longer to resolve than most cases because of the presuit process and intensive discovery before trial. Should it be necessary to take the case all the way to trial, it is not uncommon for it to take approximately 18-24 months from the date the lawsuit is filed.
Q. How much will it cost to prosecute my case?
A. Medical malpractice cases are among the most expensive types of cases to litigate. They can vary greatly depending on the type of case. Generally, costs run between $50,000 to $150,000 based on the number of defendants, different types of expert witnesses, and overall complexity of the case.
Q. Are there caps on non-economic damages?
A. Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court returned a landmark decision in McCall v. United States, 134 So.3d 894 (Fla. 2014) finding the statutory cap on wrongful death non-economic damages to be unconstitutional. Although the Florida Supreme Court’s holding technically is limited only to wrongful death medical malpractice cases, the attorneys at Greco & Wozniak, P.A. and other well recognized legal scholars believe it is only a matter of time before the caps will also be stricken in non-wrongful death medical malpractice cases. In fact, many insurance companies and defense attorneys are conceding for purposes of settlement negotiations that the caps on non-economic damages no longer exist.
Q. If my case goes to trial, why can’t we sue the at-fault party’s insurance company in addition to the at-fault party?
A. Florida has a non-joinder statute that prohibits you from suing an at-fault party’s insurance company. Unless it is your own insurance carrier or you are suing the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for bad faith, you must sue the party who caused the accident, not his or her insurance company. The Legislature passed this statute at the behest of the insurance industry under the rationale that a jury would be inclined to award more money and be less sympathetic with the insurance company as a party, as opposed to the individual defendant. As such, it would result in a mistrial or be reversible error for there to be any mention of liability coverage in the presence of the jury during trial.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed and you believe that medical malpractice was involved, contact the experienced attorneys at Greco & Wozniak, P.A. for a free consultation.
This site is made available as a service to our clients for informational purposes only. The material contained in this website is intended to be a general overview and does not pertain to any specific legal matter. Nothing contained in this website should be substituted for the advice of an attorney nor does it create an attorney client relationship between any reader and Greco & Wozniak P.A. An attorney must always be consulted before relying on any of the information contained on this site.