Physician Negligence

Theodore C. Eastmoore  |  Patricia D. Crauwels

Doctors have a responsibility to perform their services with a high level of care, that of a qualified professional in their field. When a medical professional does not meet this standard, or acts negligently in providing care, they may harm the patient. If a person has been injured by a doctor’s negligence, an attorney may be able to help recover their losses.

Why Matthews Eastmoore?

Healthcare insurance professionals are experts, so you need an expert on your side as well. The attorneys at Matthews Eastmoore will:

Common Examples of Personal Injury Claims

You or a loved one may have a claim for a personal injury caused in any of the following ways:

  • Meet with you to discuss your injuries, your treatment, and review the information about your case.
  • Explain your legal rights and your options, and help you determine whether to take legal action.
  • Collect evidence about your claim to support your case and help find expert witnesses.
  • Determine the value of your claim through research and experience, and find out which parties are potentially liable for your injuries, for example, doctors, hospitals, nurses.
  • Navigate the procedural rules of the state and court.

What is Physician Negligence and How is it Different from Medical Malpractice?

Mistakes by medical professionals can have extreme, even fatal, consequences. This is why medical professionals are held to a higher standard in their administration of care.

Medical negligence is a breach of the legal standard of care owed to a patient by a medical professional, which results in damage. Medical malpractice, though, includes intent, even if the decision is not intended to cause harm. Whether it is an intentional act or intentional omission that causes harm, malpractice means the doctor makes a conscious choice to treat the patient in a way that causes injury. Conversely, negligence often refers to a mistake or a lapse in memory.

Consider a wrongful diagnosis of a common disease that a competent doctor should be able to identify. In this case, the doctor is not intentionally trying to misdiagnose. It’s a genuine mistake. If this misdiagnosis causes additional harm to the patient, it’s physician negligence. On the other hand, a doctor who knowingly prescribes a dangerous medication to a high risk patient does have intent. This is not physician’s negligence, it is medical malpractice.

Negligence

In law, negligence is a breach of a duty of care which results in damage, regardless of intent to cause harm. Medical negligence is a breach of the legal standard of care owed to a patient by a medical professional, which results in damage.

Lack of intent is also important to the calculation of damages. Cases of negligence generally generate smaller damage awards than other malpractice cases, as malpractice cases involve intent and are therefore seen as more egregious.

Types of Physician Negligence

There are several different examples of physician negligence. Some of the most common are:

  • Misdiagnosis of an illness or injury
  • Failure of a medical professional to notice faulty equipment
  • Failure of a medical professional to consider medical history when prescribing medication
  • Failure of an anaesthesiologist to properly administer the correct dosage of anaesthesia
  • Nurses failing to administer medication in post-operative care

Who May Sue

The plaintiff in a physician negligence case is usually the victim of the negligence. In some cases, another party can be designated to represent the victim, for example if the victim is a child or has a mental impairment. If the victim has died as a result of negligence, the executor of the victim’s estate can sue the medical professional for wrongful death.

When You May Sue

There are legal limitations on the amount of time that can pass between the victim suffering injury due to physician negligence and initiating a lawsuit against the professional responsible for that malpractice.

In Florida, the statute requires a victim to sue within two years of the date on which they discover, or reasonably should discover, the injury. There are few exceptions, so it is best to consult with a lawyer before your case gets near the deadline.

Damages

  • Medical expenses: The cost of hospital or doctor visits, medication, therapy, and more.
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity: If the injury forces the victim to miss time at work, damages may include wages lost and loss of future ability to earn wages.
  • Pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more: Victims may receive compensation for physical and emotional pain they endured due to their medical malpractice injuries. In some cases, such as permanent injuries, spouses may also be compensated for loss of the victim’s companionship or affection.
  • Other types of damages may be awarded: Talk to your attorney about your options.

When you go to a medical professional, you are putting your health and welfare in the hands of another person. This is why medical professionals are held to a high standard in their administration of care. When they fail to meet this standard, grave damage can result and people’s lives can change forever. If you feel you have been the victim of physician negligence, call us at 941-366-8888 or schedule a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will give you the help you need to find the justice you deserve.

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The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. We do not undertake representation of your claims until all parties involved have entered into a signed agreement. If we have not entered into a signed agreement with you, you may want to speak with other attorneys regarding your claims since statutes of limitations may apply.