Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Lawsuits After a Medical Provider Causes More Harm Than Good
Medical providers owe it to their patients to always exercise due caution and care when treating them. If something goes wrong, and it should have been preventable, then the patient is owed fair compensation for their pain, suffering, and more. Securing that compensation is almost guaranteed to be an uphill battle, though, because medical groups and their insurance companies are notorious for battling medical malpractice claims in any way that they can.
Gunn Law Group is here to show you that you can pursue a medical malpractice claim and fight major insurance companies. Our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys have built our reputation on taking cases that other firms find too difficult. A large part of our successful strategies is Attorney Gunn’s eclectic legal background, which includes time spent representing hospitals during malpractice and insurance claims.
Different types of medical malpractice claims that we can handle involve:
- Anoxic and hypoxic brain injuries: Reduced oxygen or blood flow to the brain can cause an anoxic or hypoxic brain injury, which is likely to cause a lifetime of consequences.
- Bariatric surgery complications: Stomach surgery to encourage weight loss can go wrong if the surgeons are not careful, and severe and undisclosed side effects can follow.
- Cerebral palsy birth injuries: When an unborn child loses oxygen or otherwise suffers brain damage in the womb, it can cause cerebral palsy (CP), one of the most common forms of birth injuries.
- Failure to diagnose a heart attack: Sometimes medical providers do harm by not taking any action at all, such as what happens in cases involving a failure to diagnose a heart attack or stroke.
No matter what happened, if you were hurt by your medical provider or they failed to prevent further harm from a health condition, then you should speak to our Tampa medical malpractice lawyers. Our team can assess the situation and let you know if we think you have a valid medical malpractice claim that should be pursued as soon as possible.
Click any of the subjects below to jump to that section on that page:
- What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?
- When to Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney
- Statute of Limitations
- Is It Hard to Prove Medical Malpractice?
- What is "Informed Consent"?
- What Damages Are Available to the Plaintiff in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
- What Kinds of Errors Can Amount to Medical Malpractice?
- Are Nursing Home Injury & Abuse Cases Considered Medical Malpractice?
- Does Someone Who Is Not Satisfied With the Results of Their Surgery Have a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim?
What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?
What qualifies as medical malpractice? The answer is not exactly straightforward due to wrinkles in liability law and various legal regulations designed to protect medical practitioners and hospital groups from claims and lawsuits like yours. However, an underlying commonality in all medical malpractice claims is that the defendant deviated from an accepted standard of medical care. In other words, the defendant did not do what another medical provider reasonably would have done in the same situation.
Defendants in medical malpractice claims can include:
- Entire hospital groups
What Are the Warning Signs of Medical Malpractice?
When you go to your doctor, there’s a reasonable expectation that they will do all they can to help you feel better. Unfortunately, that trust can sometimes make patients willing to follow bad advice without question. While it’s nice to have a good relationship with your doctor, it’s more important that you’re able to recognize these warning signs of medical malpractice.
Diagnosis Without Testing
A good diagnosis requires evidence. For example, a doctor cannot diagnose you with high cholesterol or diabetes without a blood test. Therefore, it’s essential to ask questions and make sure your doctor explains what they’re doing and what evidence they used to reach their diagnosis. Remember, a diagnosis without testing is usually an incomplete diagnosis.
Just as important is ensuring you understand the diagnosis. If you describe your symptoms and your doctor writes a prescription without explaining what you may be experiencing, it’s more likely that you were misdiagnosed due to medical negligence.
While testing is necessary, too much testing can be extremely expensive and even harmful to your health. If your doctor wants another X-ray or a CT scan every two weeks, it’s possible they’re ordering too much testing.
Additionally, testing should be progressive, increasing in detail as needed to get the full picture. For example, if you have a broken wrist, you’d typically expect a progression of X-ray -> CT Scan -> MRI. Even then, that depends on whether you need surgery or if the injury site is difficult to image properly.
These tests are all valuable, but they should only be used as needed. If you broke a bone, you probably don’t need weekly CT-Scans to see how you're progressing. Not only can that excessive radiation be harmful to your health, but excessive testing can be a sign of medical malpractice or even insurance fraud.
Excessive or Incorrect Medication
Most Americans take some kind of daily medication, but many don’t realize how a new prescription can impact their overall health.
Before starting a new medication, make sure your doctor has a full understanding of your medical history, current medications, and potential allergies. Each of these factors will determine how your body reacts to a new drug.
Be especially careful when starting new pain medications, such as opioids. If your doctor overprescribes pain relief, you could develop a dependency or even overdose.
Identifying a misdiagnosis early can be difficult as you may not realize anything’s wrong until your condition worsens. A misdiagnosis is exceptionally hazardous to your health as it means that the root cause of your symptoms isn’t being managed and may worsen. At the same time, the incorrect treatment and medications you receive could cause a negative reaction and make your condition worse.
Before the doctor diagnoses you with a serious or terminal condition, make sure they’ve gone over all the angles. If the diagnosis doesn’t account for your pre-existing conditions, family history, ethnic background, and current medications, it is an incomplete diagnosis.
Remember that medicine is science, and science is repeatable. If your doctor cannot replicate their findings or if another doctor cannot verify the diagnosis using the same information, it is more likely to be medical malpractice.
One of the most concerning signs of medical malpractice is when you follow all your doctor’s advice and you unexpectedly feel worse or need to go to the hospital. Hospitalization following treatment of a non-terminal ailment could be a sign of misdiagnosis, improper medication, or something worse.
That said, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, it may be wise to seek a second opinion before starting aggressive treatments. If you were incorrectly diagnosed, the destructiveness of chemotherapy and radiation could lead to a lifetime of preventable pain and suffering.
When to Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney
You will probably be left with a lot of questions after realizing that your health is now for the worse after seeing a medical provider you once trusted. When does it become time to involve a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer, though? We recommend you seek legal counsel the moment you think something went wrong because of a medical provider’s mistakes. If you try to start a claim on your own or work with a medical provider privately, such as in arbitration, then you could inadvertently hurt your chances of securing a fair recovery by giving the opposition the advantage of you working alone and without a full legal background.
Gunn Law Group, P.A. and our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys are here to tell you that you don’t need to go through this difficult process unguided. We would like to hear from you to see how we can help. This is what we have been doing for decades in all types of cases. Trust in our experience when it really counts.
Florida uses a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, which is shorter than the state’s four-year statute that applies to most other civil claims. This shortened limitation is a good example of how, in many ways, the law has been intentionally crafted to benefit defendants in medical malpractice cases. The two-year statute of limitations begins on the date of injury or diagnosis, or when it becomes reasonably apparent that an injury has occurred.
Is It Hard to Prove Medical Malpractice?
Yes, for the most part, medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove by design. You need to have convincing evidence to show with a preponderance of evidence that your injury or illness was caused by a medical provider’s mistake that another medical provider likely would not have done. Oftentimes, medical malpractice claims swing towards the plaintiff’s favor after a third-party medical expert has provided their insight or testimony.
What is “Informed Consent?”
When a patient undergoes medical treatment, they should be told about the treatment in detail, including what needs to be done, why, and what they can expect in terms of aftereffects and potential side effects. Only when this is completed is the patient “informed,” which means they can give “informed consent” for the medical provider to go through with the treatment. If a patient is hurt and never gave informed consent, then their medical malpractice claim could be strengthened.
What Damages (Monetary Awards) Are Available to the Plaintiff in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A plaintiff will be awarded damages based on their unique losses and situation. These losses usually fall under the following categories:
- All medical expenses (current, past, and future) related to treatment for the injury caused by the medical error
- Any household and other services essential for your recovery
- Lost income/loss of income potential
- Pain, suffering, and other emotional losses caused by the medical error
- Punitive damages, in rare cases
What Kinds of Errors Can Amount to Medical Malpractice?
Medical errors that commonly lead to malpractice claims include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries (i.e., mistakes made during delivery; may also include failure to diagnose birth defects and other errors related to childbirth)
- Failure to diagnose
- Prescription errors (e.g., giving someone the wrong medicine or dosage)
- Surgical errors (operating on the wrong part/person, leaving a foreign object inside a patient, etc.)
Are Nursing Home Injury & Abuse Cases Considered Medical Malpractice?
Not usually, although medical malpractice can be one type of nursing home abuse claim. In the event an injury or death is caused in a nursing home facility to due a medical error—or another failure to follow the accepted standard of care in the medical field—the case may be considered a medical malpractice claim. However, not all nursing home abuse claims are also medical malpractice claims (for example, financial abuse claims).
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In Florida, the statute of limitations can vary from two to four years for medical malpractice claims. The law says that you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years after you discovered the alleged medical error and allows four years from the date of the alleged medical malpractice, regardless of when you actually discovered the harm. Additionally, the two-year deadline can be extended under certain circumstances. We recommend initiating your claim as soon after the incident as possible in order to have your best shot at collecting evidence and proving your claim.
Does Someone Who Is Not Satisfied With the Results of Their Surgery Have a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim?
Not necessarily—in fact, almost never. You have to have been significantly harmed and be able to prove that your doctor made a serious error in order to successfully win a medical malpractice claim. Simply being unhappy with your surgery does not allow for a valid claim. If, however, your surgeon failed to warn you of certain adverse risks that you later experienced, you may have grounds for a claim.
Get the help you need if you've been harmed from a doctor's malpractice. Contact our Tampa medical malpractice attorney today!