Understanding Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is a common phrase that everyone has heard, but many aren’t sure what it exactly means. When a person goes to see a medical professional, they expect expertise and professionalism and trust the professional with their or their family members’ lives. However, everyone is human and sometimes mistakes are made. While the idea of medical malpractice may seem like a simple black and white situation, it is much more complex than many know.
What is Medical Malpractice?
While each state has its own specific definition of what medical malpractice is, the basic concept is the same. It is the improper treatment by a doctor or health care professional that results in injury, damage, or harm. It is important to note though that proving a case of medical malpractice does not require that the medical professional planned to harm someone or even intended to hurt someone. It is simply a medical error made by a professional that resulted in an injury to the patient.
In Florida, improper treatment is defined as a medical professional who has breached or broken the “prevailing professional standard of care.” Florida has a statute that defines this 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.” Simply put, this means that a medical professional is expected to provide the same level of care as other medical professionals in the same situation would.
Medical malpractice and the standard of care do not just apply to doctors, but to specialists, nurses, hospitals and their staffs, and other health care professionals.
Common Malpractice Injuries
Medical malpractice can occur in almost every practice or stage of medical treatment. However, there are certain instances of medical malpractice that are more common than others. The following are some of the common errors that medical professionals can make that may result in a medical malpractice suit:
· Medication errors;
· Anesthesia errors;
· Delayed diagnosis;
· Negligent prenatal care;
· Negligence during child birth; and
· Errors during surgery.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
If you win or settle a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are many different damages that you may receive as a result. Depending on the case, you may be entitled to damages from one or multiple categories.
- General Damages: General damages are given as compensation for the patient’s cost of suffering. Although there is no definite way to put a price on a person’s suffering, there are many mathematical equations and investigation of the facts that go into determining what is considered proper compensation for suffering. Common forms of general damages are compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, physical and mental pain and suffering, and loss of future earning capacity.
- Special Damages: Special damages are used to compensate for the patient’s costs that occurred as a result of the malpractice. This includes basic medical bills, lost wages, etc. Compensation for future costs is also included under special damages.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded in order to punish the person being charged for their wrongdoing. This is an award over the general and special damages that may be awarded. Generally, punitive damages are only awarded under special circumstances such as a case in which a medical professional intentionally or knowingly committed the malpractice.
Get the Help You Deserve
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the malpractice of a medical professional, let us help you to make sure you get justly compensated for your injuries. Call the Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Boone & Davis to make sure that you have a team of professionals on your side. We promise to work for you to make sure you get the help you need.