What is the Process for Medical Malpractice Settlements?

Medical malpractice is much more common than most people realize, and sadly, those who seek compensation by filing a claim for medical malpractice may find it difficult to win such a case at trial. These cases often lead to negotiated settlements. However, with an experienced and aggressive Florida medical malpractice attorney, these settlements can still lead to just compensation for the victim’s losses.

This means that if you or your loved one has suffered injuries resulting from the negligence of a medical practitioner, you need appropriate legal representation that will protect your rights so that you can focus on your recovery. The attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi will fight hard for you to ensure that you receive fair compensation.

Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Claim

Before an attorney can determine the value of your losses, they will have to prove two things:

  1. The doctor or other medical practitioner was negligent.
  2. That medical practitioner’s negligence resulted in the injuries and losses that you suffered.

While these things may sound obvious, the emphasis is on proving. While you may know for a fact that something occurred, it may be harder to prove than you think. In order for negligence to be proven, you must be able to present the evidence that shows the doctor or other healthcare practitioner failed to treat you with due care.

The standard of due care is established by comparing the standard of care that would be set by other comparable medical practitioners. Proving this typically requires proof of what are the generally accepted medical practices specific to the location and time that you were injured.

Proving Causation

Proving causation can actually much more complicated than proving negligence. First, there is the issue of the underlying condition of the patient which may not have been caused by the negligent doctor. The medical practitioner may be responsible for prolongation or exacerbation of the condition though.

Another issue is with contributing factors. A doctor, for example, may have failed to diagnose a condition that requires surgery, but can not be held responsible for a patient’s bad anesthesia reaction that was unrelated to the condition the doctor was treating.

Comparative Negligence in Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

When reviewing a claim for medical malpractice, it is important to know that the medical practitioner may only be responsible for a portion of the injuries their patient sustained. This is because Florida has a pure comparative negligence law which means that each party is only responsible for the compensation for the portion of injuries that they caused.

Negotiating a Medical Malpractice Claims Value

Once the above factors have been proven, the value for the medical malpractice claim must be negotiated. This value will include compensation for all of your losses that were sustained due to your negligent treatment. The following things may be taken into consideration when determining the value of your claim:

  • Pain and suffering beyond what was caused by the original condition.
  • Loss of wages that resulted from the doctor’s negligence and not the underlying condition itself.
  • Decrease of future earning potential due to permanent injuries.

Does Wrongful Death Change the Value of a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If a patient dies due to the medical practitioner’s negligence, the patient’s estate may be compensated for all income that the patient would have earned had they lived. Surviving family members may also have a claim for loss of companionship and protection that they would have had if their loved one had not died.

Determining a Dollar Amount for Medical Malpractice Claims

It is clear to see that some of the losses listed above do not have a clear dollar figure attached to them. This means the compensation that may be given to those losses are harder to estimate. How do you estimate what the loss of a parent or child is worth? Because the values are indefinite, these losses have put many medical malpractice claims at the center of political opposition. The opponents of such claims say that such claims are costly, inflated, and unnecessary.

Does Florida Cap Medical Malpractice Claims?

The state of Florida does have a cap on damages that are non-economic in nature. This cap ranges from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the facts of the case and the type of medical practitioner. However, the law was ruled unconstitutional in 2017, so technically there is no cap on damages in medical malpractice claims.

How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Claim Take?

The time it takes for a medical malpractice claim to be completed depends on the strength and complexity of the case, as well as the jurisdiction of the court. Most lawsuits for medical malpractice result in out of court settlements, but both parties are still required to file motions and go through the process of discovery before agreeing on a settlement amount.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney will work to get your claim settled as quickly as possible, but without compromising the compensation amount to which you are entitled. Cases that are worth less money are typically settled more quickly than cases that have large sums of money at stake. Alternatively, cases that go to trial and win typically have much larger payouts but may take years to settle.

Collecting Your Settlement

Once a settlement or jury verdict has been reached, you will be paid for your damages. There are two options that are the most common ways that people collect their settlement.

  • Structured Payment: These awards for payment are often chosen in malpractice cases involving young children or birth injuries. The courts set up the funds to ensure that the child will have money for permanent medical care.
  • Lump Sum Payment: This is typically the least complicated way to collect your settlement. Most attorneys and plaintiffs prefer this method because it allows more options for setting up funds to cover expenses and future medical expenses.

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or your loved on has suffered injuries due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, the attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi can help you. Contact our experienced attorneys today and let them review and handle your case so you can focus on your recovery.