How to Advocate for Your Rights Following a Medical Mishap

By Osborne & Francis
May 12, 2024

There were 1,668 reported incidents of medical malpractice in Florida in 2022, the third-most in the nation. If you have reason to suspect you or a loved one suffered harm due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, Florida law allows you to seek compensation through legal action. 

When you or a loved one experiences a medical mishap, it can be a distressing and confusing time. Understanding your rights and the steps to take following such an incident is essential. You’ll also need an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate the complexities of these challenging cases

The law firm of Osborne & Francis is ready to help you get the money you deserve. If you would like to learn more about how we can help, please call 561-293-2600 or use our online contact form for a free case evaluation.

Understanding the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Unforeseen Complications

Medical malpractice and unforeseen complications are two distinct concepts regarding healthcare-related issues. Malpractice happens when medical professionals fail to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, causing the patient to suffer harm. Unforeseen complications refer to unexpected and sometimes adverse outcomes that can occur even when healthcare providers act competently.

It's essential to recognize that not all unfavorable medical outcomes constitute malpractice. Medical malpractice involves negligence or incompetence, leading to harm that would not have occurred under proper medical care. Examples include a surgeon failing to diagnose a condition despite apparent symptoms.

Unforeseen complications may arise due to the inherent risks of medical procedures, a patient's unique response to treatment, or factors beyond the control of healthcare professionals. For instance, a patient might experience an unexpected allergic reaction to a medication despite proper administration, or a surgical procedure may carry inherent risks that result in complications despite the surgeon's skill.

Common Examples of Medical Malpractice

There are many possible ways medical malpractice can happen. The following are just a few examples of the more common ones.

Medication Errors

Medical malpractice involving medication errors can occur when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or fails to identify potential drug interactions. These errors can lead to serious harm, such as severe side effects or adverse reactions that wouldn't have happened with proper care. Other examples include a nurse administering the wrong amount of medication and a pharmacist making a mistake when dispensing a drug.

Surgical Errors

Surgical mistakes that qualify as medical malpractice include the following:

These errors represent a clear departure from the standard of care and can result in significant harm.

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Medical malpractice can also manifest as a failure to spot a medical issue or a delay in diagnosis. When healthcare providers fail to identify an illness or condition despite obvious symptoms and available information, that failure can lead to delayed treatment and worsened outcomes.

The Rights You Have as a Patient

As a patient, you possess fundamental rights essential to receiving safe and effective medical care. These include the following:

  • Informed consent: You have the right to be fully informed about your treatment options, potential risks, benefits, and alternatives before consenting to any medical procedure. This ensures that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.
  • Access to medical records: You also have the right to access your medical records. These records contain crucial information about your medical history, diagnoses, treatments, and medications. Accessing them can help you understand the care you've received and aid in evaluating your medical situation.
  • Quality care: Understanding your right to expect competent and compassionate medical care that meets established standards is essential. Healthcare providers must deliver care that aligns with the standard of care applicable to their profession.

Steps to Take Immediately Following Malpractice

If you suspect that you've experienced medical malpractice, it's imperative to act promptly and take the following steps:

  • Seek medical attention: Your immediate priority should always be your health. If you believe you've suffered harm due to medical malpractice, seek medical care to address and mitigate any harm.
  • Document everything: Keep meticulous records of your medical treatment, symptoms, and any communication with healthcare providers. These records can serve as valuable evidence when pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
  • Consult another healthcare professional: Seek a second opinion from a different healthcare provider to confirm whether medical malpractice occurred and to assess the extent of harm. A second opinion can provide an independent evaluation of your situation.

Building Your Medical Malpractice Case

You should first collect all relevant evidence to build a strong medical malpractice case. This evidence includes medical records, photographs of injuries or conditions, witness statements, and all correspondence with healthcare providers. This evidence will help substantiate your claim.

It will also be essential to speak with an experienced attorney. They can assess the merits of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you understand your options. An attorney's expertise is invaluable in navigating the complexities of medical malpractice litigation.

Please don’t hesitate to fight for your rights. In most instances, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida is two years from the date the incident occurred or when you realized you suffered harm. If you don’t take action within that time, you’ll forfeit the right to pursue compensation.

Seek Legal Counsel; Speak with Osborne and Francis

Osborne and Francis attorneys have extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. We can provide the knowledge and support necessary to pursue justice and compensation for the harm you've endured due to medical negligence.

We helped one client obtain $7.5 million after a botched medical procedure left them paralyzed from the neck down. Our attorneys also achieved a $4 million settlement in a case involving a baby who suffered a severe brain injury during birth.

Our skilled legal team will protect your rights and see that you have the best chance of achieving a fair resolution to your case. Contact Osborne and Francis to discuss your situation and take the first step toward seeking justice and healing. You can contact us online or call 561-293-2600 for a free consultation.

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