Start a Medical Malpractice Claim
Are you wondering how to start a medical malpractice claim in the state of Florida? You can’t jump right away into filing a medical malpractice suit. You have to go through a pre-suit process, during which time your attorney will gather all relevant medical records and send these to an expert for independent review. This expert will provide an affidavit, which your attorney will send via certified mail to the medical provider. That medical provider will have 90 days to consult with an attorney and malpractice carrier, and at the end of that period must either admit or deny the claim. If the medical provider denies your claim, your attorney will file a lawsuit.
Start a Medical Malpractice Claim | Prove Causation
To win your case, you need to do more than document substandard care. Substandard care per se does not cause damages. You need to prove causation – in other words, that the documented substandard care directly caused physical and/or emotional damages. In general, you also have to demonstrate catastrophic, long term, or permanent damages. If you recover before too far into your suit – and suits will, again, last years – you may only get enough in recoverable damages to pay your attorney and the expert witnesses you hired.
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Start a Medical Malpractice Claim | Case Length
In Florida, the pre-suit process (explained above) adds a 90-day waiting period before a case can even go to trial. Medical malpractice is one of the more frequently litigated areas of law, which means the courts are backed up. One case could take two to three years if mistakes or acts of negligence are well-documented or obvious, or to five to six years in cases that require deposition of experts from around the country, and conflicting evidence or testimony.
Start a Medical Malpractice Claim | Statute of Limitations
Before 2014 there were caps on noneconomic damages – intangible losses like pain and suffering or loss of companionship for a loved one – in a malpractice suit. A court overturned these caps, at least in wrongful death cases, as unconstitutional – though the precedent may in the future be applied to noneconomic damages in any Florida medical malpractice case.
If a physician admits that the malpractice in the pre-suit phase, the law imposes caps automatically. These caps are $350,000 if you proceed to a jury trial and $250,000 if you agree to arbitrate.
If you want to talk to a lawyer about how to start a medical malpractice claim, please call our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation.