Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Most of the time, people get medical care from dedicated, hardworking, skilled and competent medical professionals. But not all doctors and nurses are as careful as they should be or as skilled as they need to be. They can also be tired or hurried and make a mistake that shouldn’t have happened. It’s up to the doctors and nurses to make sure they are always providing services with care and attention, and it’s up to the hospitals and clinics where they work to make sure there is sufficient staffing and scheduling so medical professionals are not overworked or forced to rush through a patient visit.
When doctors and nurses fail to perform up to the standards expected of their profession, or when hospitals fail to implement common-sense practices for patient safety, they can and should be liable for patient harm and injuries that occur because of their mistakes. The Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Greco & Wozniak, P.A. fight every day to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for injuries caused by medical negligence. Medical mistakes are more common than you think and may actually be a leading cause of death in the U.S.
You might never know that an injury or death of a loved one was due to medical error; the doctor or hospital is not likely to tell you. You need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side who can investigate the situation and bring in medical experts to review the records and figure out what happened. If an inexcusable medical error was to blame for your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for the harm done to you, and we can help.
The Florida legislature has made it hard to bring and win a medical malpractice claim against a doctor or hospital. Even without the legal hurdles, medical malpractice claims are complex cases with highly technical medical issues. At Greco & Wozniak, P.A., our team of Tampa medical malpractice attorneys has the experience needed to navigate the complexities of the laws and work with qualified medical expert witnesses to build a strong case and present it to the jury in a clear, compelling and understandable way.
Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
The burden falls on the victim in a medical malpractice case to prove there was a breach in the prevailing professional standard of care which caused the injury. Florida law defines the prevailing professional standard of care as “the level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
To prove this, injury victims are required to get an opinion from a medical expert based on a complete review of the medical records. A qualified expert must hold an active and valid license and be experienced in the relevant area of medicine. If the defendant is a general practitioner, then the expert must have devoted professional time in the last five years to active clinical practice or consulting in general practice or teaching or conducting clinical research. If the defendant is a specialist, the expert witness must specialize in the same specialty and have devoted professional time during the last three years to active clinical practice or consulting in the specialty or teaching or conducting clinical research in that particular field.
Before any lawsuit can be filed, the plaintiff is required to provide a pre-suit notice to the defendant doctor or hospital with certification from a medical professional that the patient’s claim is valid. The plaintiff’s attorney is also required to conduct a reasonable investigation and have good faith reasons to believe that negligence occurred.
Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
The Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Greco & Wozniak are experienced in a wide range of medical negligence cases. Below are some of the areas our firm has experience with.
Some serious medications can be rare or hard to diagnose, and even careful, competent doctors might miss them. Other times, a missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis occurs because the doctor was not attentive, adequately skilled or trained, or rushed through the diagnostic process.
Surgeons are among the smartest, most skilled and most highly trained of physicians. Yet they can also be overworked, tired, and distracted, and poor hospital administration can lead to grievous surgery errors. These include incorrect incisions, organ punctures and perforations, use of unsanitary surgical tools, performing unnecessary surgery, performing the wrong surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong side of the body, or retained foreign object malpractice, where sponges or medical instruments are left inside the patient’s body following surgery.
Failure to inform the patient of known risks
Florida’s Medical Consent Law allows lawsuits for performing a procedure or treating without first getting informed consent from the patient. These lawsuits are limited to cases where the patient would not have received the treatment even after being informed or situations where the patient could not have a general understanding of the treatment, risks and alternatives unless informed by the doctor.
Errors administering IV medication and treatments
Common errors include giving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, using the wrong route or technique, or administering medication at the wrong rate, such as unintentionally administering a full dosage all at once.
Nursing home negligence
Staffing issues, lack of training, inadequate supervision and other factors can leave nursing home patients with untreated bedsores or living in unsanitary conditions. Lack of proper nutrition and hydration can introduce a host of ailments, and physical isolation or lack of social contact and activity can be harmful emotionally and psychologically.
Around half of all pharmacy errors involve the pharmacist picking the wrong drug to fill a prescription. Many drugs look alike or sound alike, which is all the more reason for pharmacies to ensure they have proper protocols in place and that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians perform their jobs diligently, carefully, and under appropriate supervision. Other leading pharmacy errors include filling prescriptions with the wrong dosage or giving incorrect instructions or bad advice to the patient.
Physical therapy negligence
Not all physical therapists are medical doctors, but they are considered health care professionals and are held to a certain standard of care and competence. Physical therapy, when improperly applied, can cause painful, debilitating injuries.
Tampa Medical Malpractice FAQs
Q. What does the law require you to prove to prevail in a medical malpractice case?
A. Generally speaking, a claimant must prove three things to prevail in a medical malpractice action.
- Liability: A medical provider deviated from the prevailing standard of care.
- Causation: The deviation from the usual standard of care resulted in substantial harm or death which would have been avoided had the standard of care been met.
- Damages: Substantial injury or death was caused.
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. While it’s true that a claimant may not necessarily have a case due to an unexpected outcome of care, their doctor may still be subject to a medical malpractice case if they did not meet standards of care, did not inform the patient of risks, or if a diagnosis was not made promptly.
Q. What is the process of pursuing a medical malpractice case?
A. Before filing a lawsuit in a medical malpractice case, we must gather all pertinent medical records for review by a medical provider in the same specialty as the provider we intend to sue. That expert must then provide a corroborating affidavit stating that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the defendant’s 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 out of court, 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. In our experience, claims are most often denied, at which point we promptly file a lawsuit.
Q. How long will it take to resolve my case?
A. Medical malpractice cases are typically extensive due to the presuit process and intensive discovery, or investigation of the facts, before trial. Should it be necessary to take the case 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 to litigate, and the total can vary greatly depending on the type of situation. Generally, costs run between $50,000 to $150,000 based on the number of defendants, different types of expert witnesses, and the overall complexity of the case.
Q. Are there caps on non-economic damages?
A. No. In 2014, the Florida Supreme Court entered two landmark decisions finding the statutory caps on wrongful death non-economic damages to be unconstitutional. There are currently no caps on non-economic damages in any case under Florida law.
Q. If it should be necessary to file suit on my case, 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 suing your insurance carrier, or seeking action against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for bad faith, you must file a lawsuit against the persons responsible, not the insurance company. The Florida State Legislature passed this statute after insurance companies argued that a jury would be less sympathetic to an insurance company as a party and, therefore, inclined to award more money.
Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers Helping You Pursue the Compensation You Deserve
If you believe that a medical mistake or negligence might have caused harm to you or a loved one in a Tampa hospital, surgery center, outpatient clinic or doctor’s office, call Greco & Wozniak, P.A. at 813-223-7849 to discuss your case with a team of dedicated and successful Tampa medical malpractice attorneys.