Melbourne Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical Malpractice & Negligence in Brevard County
When a trusted doctor, nurse, or medical professional fails to provide a proper level of care, it can leave patients seriously injured and struggling to cope with the aftermath. If you or someone you love was the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, you may be feeling a significant amount of distress. After all, you are likely dealing with significant injuries or serious complications and, to make matters worse, your trust was broken by someone who was supposed to help you.
At Nance Cacciatore, we understand the immense impact medical negligence has, both on victims and their loved ones. Since 1963, our Melbourne medical malpractice attorneys have been fighting for the rights of seriously injured individuals and the families of those who died due to negligent and wrongful medical practices.
All our partners are Board-Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida State Bar, and Attorney S. Sammy Cacciatore is Board-Certified in Medical Malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. This means that we have particular expertise and skill in this area of law. We encourage you to get in touch with our team today to learn how we can help you with your case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical Malpractice occurs when a health care provider or professional through a negligent act causes injury in a patient.
How Do You Know If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice?
Proving medical malpractice is rarely simple. In fact, these cases are some of the most complex types of personal injury claims.
To have grounds for a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove the following elements:
- Duty of Care: First, you must establish that the doctor, facility, or medical provider in question (known as the “defendant”) owed you a duty of care. Generally, proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed or that you were receiving treatment from the hospital or medical facility is sufficient in establishing a duty of care.
- Breach: Next, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. In medical malpractice cases, this means proving that the doctor or facility failed to uphold the reasonable and accepted standard of care. In other words, you must prove that they acted/failed to act in a manner that another qualified medical provider would not have/would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.
- Damages: To have grounds for a medical malpractice case, you must also prove that you were injured in some way and/or suffered damages. Even if a medical provider was negligent, but you were not harmed, you do not have a case. You can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in Florida.
- Causation: Lastly, you must prove that the proximate cause of your injuries and/or damages was the medical provider’s failure to uphold the standard of acceptable and reasonable care. In other words, you must prove that you would not have been injured/suffered damages had you received the proper level of care or had you been treated by another qualified and competent medical provider.
It is not enough to simply show that your original condition did not improve or heal after you received medical attention. The law recognizes that doctors, nurses, and other medical providers are human and, therefore, are subject to human error. It is only when these errors are the result of negligence or improper care that you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the liable provider or facility.
Examples of Medical Malpractice/Negligence
Although doctors and other medical providers are not immune from making mistakes, the consequences of these mistakes are often catastrophic. For this reason, medical professionals are held to a relatively high standard of care. Unfortunately, they do not always provide patients with the level of attention, treatment, and care they deserve.
Some common examples of medical malpractice and negligence:
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Delayed diagnosis and/or treatment
- Emergency room errors
- Failure to treat
- Failure to order proper tests
- Hospital negligence
- Ignoring patients’ symptoms or medical history
- Medication errors
- Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose
- Misreading or improper analysis of lab results
- Surgical errors
Our Melbourne medical malpractice attorneys have successfully represented victims of all types of medical negligence and misconduct. Our firm has also handled complex litigation involving defective and dangerous medications and medical devices, including Pfizer birth control pills and vaginal mesh lawsuits. We can discuss the specifics of your situation with you during a free, confidential consultation. Contact us today to learn more.
Special Rules for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
Florida has several unique rules when it comes to filing medical malpractice lawsuits. First, you should know that your time to file a claim is limited. In most cases, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice in Florida is just two years from the date of injury. However, determining the date of injury can be complicated, as you may not have been aware of your injuries or complications right away. In such cases, you have two years from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered.
In any case, you cannot bring a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida if more than four years have passed since the date the alleged malpractice occurred. There are very few exceptions to this rule; essentially, you can only bring a claim after four years if you can prove that your health care provider took measures to intentionally conceal the malpractice. In such cases, you have two years from the date on which the injury was discovered to file a claim or seven years total from the date the malpractice occurred.
In cases involving minors who were injured due to medical malpractice or negligence, this statute of limitations does not apply as long as the case is brought on or before the victim’s eighth birthday. However, it should be noted that other deadlines may apply.
Another important thing to be aware of when it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida is that plaintiffs (those bringing claims) are required to provide notice of their intent to file a claim to the health care provider before filing a lawsuit in court. This includes having a medical professional complete and submit an affidavit of merit stating that you have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Once you have provided notice of your intent to file a claim and the affidavit of merit, the health care provider has 90 days to offer a settlement. If the health care provider states that they do not wish to offer a settlement within the 90 days, you have 60 days or the remainder of the statute of limitations period to file a lawsuit.
Why You Need an Attorney
Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex; an attorney can help ensure you do not make any mistakes or miss any important deadlines, which could jeopardize your claim. At Nance Cacciatore, our attorneys provide expert legal services to victims of medical negligence and misconduct throughout Brevard County and all of Florida. We have a long history of success, including numerous historic results and multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Our Melbourne medical malpractice lawyers can assist you with every aspect of your claim. We believe that you should focus on getting proper medical care and healing. Let us focus on investigating your claim, determining that you have a valid case, and filing the necessary paperwork on your behalf. When you trust your claim to our firm, you can rest assured that we will be there to answer your questions and fight for you every step of the way. We are known for our aggressive approach and our willingness to take cases to court in our efforts to recover the full, fair compensation our clients deserve.
From our office in Melbourne, FL, we serve clients in Brevard County and throughout the state. We do not collect any attorney fees unless/until we secure compensation for you, and we provide free, no-obligation consultations to all new and prospective clients.
Medical Malpractice FAQ
What kinds of damages are available to the plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice lawsuit are typically entitled to economic and non-economic damages related to the losses that the act of malpractice has caused them to suffer. Economic damages usually account for the past medical treatments that were completed unsafely or incorrectly, future medical treatments to address the new injury or illness, and past and future unearned wages. Non-economic damages relate to your pain, suffering, and hardships that you will likely suffer because of a new disability. Of note, non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are usually capped.
If my doctor makes a mistake while treating me in a hospital, can I sue
You most likely cannot sue the hospital for a mistake that a doctor made while treating you unless it can be shown that the hospital’s negligence somehow contributed to that mistake. For example, if the hospital allowed a discredited doctor to practice in its halls, or if it failed to provide that doctor with the right diagnostic or surgical tools as it said it would. Usually, a doctor is contracted by a hospital, not employed by it, which is why hospitals often escape liability when a doctor commits medical malpractice.
I was injured because a nurse gave me the wrong drug –
who can I sue?
Whereas doctors are usually independent contractors, nurses are usually employees of medical institutions, clinics, and hospitals. With this in mind, if a nurse’s mistakes caused you to suffer a serious injury or illness, then you might be able to hold the nurse’s employer accountable, which could be a hospital. Furthermore, if the negligent nurse has purchased their own healthcare practice insurance, then you could file against that policy, too. Some nurses purchase this extra insurance to ensure that they can’t be held personally liable for any mistakes or misconduct.
What is the average payout for medical negligence?
Every case is different, and the value of your claim cannot be accurately determined without first going over the specific details of your situation. That being said, there really is no “average” payout for medical malpractice and negligence claims. However, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s National Practitioner Data Bank, the average payout for medical negligence in 2018 was $348,065. In 2017, the average payout for medical malpractice was just under $300,000.
What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a doctor?
If you wish to bring a lawsuit against a negligent doctor or medical professional, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer with specific experience in medical malpractice law. These types of cases are not like other personal injury claims; you want a lawyer who understands Florida’s complex medical malpractice laws. At Nance Cacciatore, one of our partners, S. Sammy Cacciatore, is Board-Certified in Medical Malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, making him an expert in this area of law.
What are the odds of winning a medical malpractice suit?
The odds of winning a medical malpractice lawsuit greatly depend on the details of a given case. The amount of evidence, availability of expert witness testimony, and other factors will play a large role in the overall strength of a case. In general, it is more likely to “win” a case by securing a settlement than a trial verdict. Studies show that medical providers win about 50% of medical malpractice jury trials involving strong evidence. At Nance Cacciatore, we only accept cases we believe we can win—and we have a long history of success. We encourage you to contact our firm to discuss the details of your potential medical malpractice case with one of our experienced attorneys.
How much does it cost to hire a medical malpractice attorney?
Medical malpractice attorneys, including those at Nance Cacciatore, generally provide their services on a contingency fee basis. This means their fees are contingent on them recovering a settlement or verdict on your behalf. You pay no out-of-pocket or upfront costs; instead, your attorney recovers fees via a percentage of your total recovery. We can discuss our fee structure with you, including what percentage of your recovery may be used to pay our attorneys’ fees, during a free, no-obligation consultation.