March 9, 2015
When it comes to our well-being, we want the best possible care. Sometimes, the doctors we trust with our lives do not perform as expected. They make mistakes, and we end up paying for it.
The damages you receive in a lawsuit may never be enough to make up for the physical and emotional distress a medical error has caused, but compensation can make things a little easier. The complex nature of medical malpractice cases can make it challenging to get everything you deserve, but having a lawyer on your side can help significantly. Here are three reasons you should not attempt to file a medical malpractice case on your own.
Doctors are Not Alone
In a medical malpractice case, you will not only be up against the doctor who treated you, but the hospital he or she works for and the insurance company of both the doctor and hospital. Both the hospital and doctor will also have lawyers fighting on their side. It is important that you have a lawyer, too.
Often, once a medical error has been discovered, a hospital will offer a settlement to the affected patient. Hospital administration or an insurance company may attempt to persuade you to take the settlement by saying a lawyer will take a portion of the compensation. It is best to ignore this advice. While the settlement offered will usually be enough to cover medical expenses, other factors, including loss of income and emotional distress, could entitle you to more.
Knowledge of Law AND Medicine are Required
Medical malpractice cases deal with two very complicated and complex fields: law and medicine. While lawyers may not have as much medical knowledge as doctors do, experienced medical malpractice attorneys have the resources necessary to conduct in-depth research of your condition.
In a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that your injury was a direct result of a doctor’s negligence. Without extensive knowledge of how your condition should have been treated, negligence can be tough to prove. You will also need expert witnesses in the medical field to validate your claim. An experienced attorney will likely have greater access to these witnesses than you will.
Time is Not on Your Side, But Your Lawyer is
Your medical malpractice case will require a lot of time-consuming research, and due to Florida’s statute of limitations, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case in Florida is two years from the time the malpractice occurred or the time it is discovered.
In more complicated cases, two years is not a lot of time to obtain necessary medical documents and records, research diagnoses and treatments, and find an expert who will validate your claim — especially if you are recovering from an injury.
Regardless of when you discover the malpractice has occurred, you cannot file a claim if more than four years have passed since the incident. Exceptions exist if fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of malpractice, but under no circumstance can you file a claim more than seven years after the incident occurred.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a medical error, contact Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300 or through our online form today. An experienced attorney will assess your case to determine whether you have a claim.