Do I have a case for medical malpractice?

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we handle a wide variety of cases and seek justice for victims of elder abuse, premises liability, and car accidents, to name a few. We also represent victims of medical malpractice who have suffered at the hands of negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

One of the most commonly heard questions our medical malpractice lawyers receive is, “Do I have a case for medical malpractice?” It’s a good question to ask, and not always easy to answer.

The Presuit Process

Unlike other personal injury cases such as auto accidents or slip-and-fall injuries, the state of Florida requires medical malpractice victims to go through a “presuit process” as outlined in Florida Statutes Chapter 766 Section 106. 

The presuit process requires the following:

  1. Conduct a presuit investigation that includes expert witness interviews
  2. Notify each prospective defendant by certified mail of the intent to sue for medical negligence that includes (if available) the following:
  • A list of all known health care providers seen by the victim for the injuries complained of subsequent to the alleged act of negligence
  • All known health care providers during the two-year period prior to the alleged act of negligence who treated or evaluated the claimant
  • Copies of all of the medical records relied upon by the expert in signing the affidavit
  • The executed authorization form

3. A presuit investigation by the prospective defendant

Before you and your medical malpractice lawyer can file suit, the prospective defendant has 90 days to investigate the claim.

When pursuing a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit, you must have a highly skilled lawyer who is familiar and knowledgeable in the presuit process.

How to Establish Medical Malpractice

Once we’ve cleared the first hurdle which is the presuit process, our medical malpractice lawyers will take steps to establish the following:

  1. You were in the care of a doctor or another medical professional that owed you a duty of care
  2. The medical professional’s actions were negligent or wrongful and breached their duty of care
  3. The medical professional’s negligent or wrongful actions caused your injury or the death of a loved one
  4. The injury sustained resulted in damages that can be recovered in a court of law

Proof of these four elements is required in a successful medical malpractice case.

Do I have a case for medical malpractice?

If you are unsure of whether or not you have a case for medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney. The best thing you can do for yourself after being victimized by a medical professional’s negligence is consult with a leading medical malpractice lawyer.

By waiting or seeking the guidance of a less experienced lawyer, you run the risk of the statute of limitations expiring or receiving an incorrect evaluation of the case.

Speak with a Skilled Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

As a victim of medical malpractice, it is your right to pursue legal action to recover damages for your injury. However, you’ll need the help of an experienced and highly qualified Florida medical malpractice lawyer to navigate the presuit process and prove breach of duty on the doctor’s part.

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we pride ourselves on aggressively seeking justice on behalf of our clients. Call us today at 561-655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you.

What are common birth injuries in newborns?

woman worrying about types of birth injuriesIt’s devastating and frightening when a newborn suffers one of the many types of birth injuries. There may be life-long consequences for the baby and a heavy financial burden for the baby’s parents. However, when a birth injury occurs as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, the family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

There is a high standard of care expected from professionals in the healthcare community. A failure to meet that standard of care can have severe repercussions for the newborn and their family. If you believe your child’s birth injury resulted from medical negligence, contact our experienced birth injury lawyers today. 

 

Common types of birth injuries and conditions

Our legal team has worked with clients whose babies have suffered from various birth injuries. Some common types of birth injuries include:

  • Brain damage
  • Bleeding between the scalp and skull (cephalohematoma) 
  • Head trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Facial nerve injury 
  • Spinal cord injury  
  • Klumpke’s palsy 
  • Perinatal asphyxia 
  • Brachial plexus palsy
  • Shoulder dislocation 
  • Fracture of the collarbone

These injuries can lead to long-lasting consequences for the infant and a world of stress and worry for their parents. The parents will also have to face hospital expenses, treatment, therapy, and special equipment to care for the baby. 

Not to mention, parents may also experience pain and suffering and possibly lost wages from missing work to care for their child.

 

What causes birth injuries in newborns?

When a child suffers a birth injury resulting from medical negligence, there could be a variety of causes. Some common causes include:

Hypoxia: 

Hypoxia occurs when a baby’s brain is not receiving enough oxygen. During childbirth, hypoxia can be caused by a damaged or infected placenta or when an umbilical cord gets tangled around the baby’s neck. When hypoxia goes unnoticed or unaddressed, the baby can develop severe disabilities. 

 

Improper forceps use: 

Several types of birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, nerve damage to the baby’s neck, and fetal distress, are caused by improper use of forceps. If doctors aren’t extraordinarily careful, their use of forceps could lead to severe injuries.

 

Delaying a c-section: 

When a baby suffers from fetal distress, the doctor will often order an emergency C-section. When a doctor or other medical professional fails to recognize the urgent need for a C-section, their lack of attention may cause injuries to both the infant and mother. 

 

Failure to properly conduct prenatal testing: 

Even before a mother heads to the delivery room, a doctor’s negligence to properly conduct prenatal testing means they could miss a serious condition in the fetus that could lead to other injuries. 

While giving birth to a child should be one of the happiest days of a parent’s life, it can quickly turn into a traumatic event when a birth injury occurs. There is a wide range of causes of newborn birth injuries; all too often, these injuries happen because of a healthcare provider’s negligence. 

 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Florida Birth Injury Lawyer Today

The experienced Florida birth injury lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath understand the enduring physical, emotional, and financial trauma that a birth injury causes a newborn and their parents. When a birth injury occurs due to negligence or wrongdoing, the family deserves justice through financial compensation.

Numerous costs come with caring for a child who has suffered a birth injury. Our lawyers can assess your situation and determine whether your doctor or healthcare provider took the necessary steps to protect your child. If not, you may be able to recover damages from a birth injury lawsuit. 

Call our experienced lawyers today at 561-655-1990 to schedule a risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Improperly Informed: What To Do If The Risks Weren’t Fully Explained

informed consent claim

When Should You Make an Informed Consent Claim?

We trust medical professionals to inform us of the risks of medications, surgeries, and actions that affect our health. But what happens when our doctors, nurses, or pharmacists make a mistake that puts our lives at risk? In these cases, there can be significant impacts on our health and wellbeing. 

Are you or a loved one suffering from an injury that could have been avoided if you knew all the facts? Here’s how to decide whether you should make an informed consent claim when a medical professional fails to inform you about the risks of a medical procedure.

 

What is informed consent?

Informed consent occurs when your healthcare provider explains your illnesses, medical conditions, and treatment options to you. Since you base your decisions about treatments on this information, it is important that doctors and other medical professionals provide adequate detail. 

Without receiving information about your medical condition and treatment options, it is impossible to make informed decisions that can have long-lasting impacts on your health. If a physician fails to explain your conditions and the risks of specific treatment options, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. However, not all failures to inform reach the level of medical malpractice.  

 

Do my physicians always need to provide informed consent?

Generally, physicians should always receive informed consent from their patients. However, the amount of information that someone needs to receive to give informed consent varies based on the procedure. 

For example, minor surgeries or common treatments that typically do not result in side effects usually require the least amount of information. On the other hand, major surgeries and operations, complex procedures, and even some tests may require a higher level of informed consent.

In addition, there are times where consent is not necessary or possible. This includes emergencies, where the physician must act quickly to preserve the life of their patient. Similarly, when a patient cannot understand their condition or the risks of a medical procedure, another decision-maker will need to decide on the patient’s behalf. It is important to understand the laws in your specific state when determining whether consent was necessary in your specific case.

 

How should medical professionals provide consent for specific treatments?

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals typically receive consent in two ways. First, they explain the patient’s condition and treatment options verbally. After explaining treatment options and the risks that come with those treatments, a physician may ask whether the patient agrees to a specific form of treatment. This is generally for conditions and treatment options that do not carry significant risks.

But what happens if your conditions and treatment options are potentially life-altering? In these events, you typically must receive a written document and sign this paperwork to provide consent. 

And what happens if you move forward with a medical procedure without knowing about the potential complications? Here’s how to tell whether your physician’s failure to inform you about the risks lead to a case of medical malpractice.

 

Identifying Failure to Inform and Provide Express Informed Consent

Failure to receive consent only happens when specific events occur. To decide whether you were the victim of medical malpractice, these things must happen:

  1.  You have a doctor-patient relationship with the individual that did not explain all the risks of a condition or treatment.
  2. The doctor, nurse, or medical professional did not provide information on the risks of a procedure or test, which any competent professional with a similar background would normally provide. This is known as the medical standard of care rule.
  3. Because you were not informed of all the risks of a procedure, you suffered an injury. You must be able to show that there was negligence by your medical professional in either giving the treatment or informing you of the risks.
  4. Due to this negligence, you are suffering from quantifiable damages. This could be in the form of additional medical care, pain and suffering, or even loss of life.

 

What are your next steps for making an informed consent claim?

It is important to act immediately if you suffer an avoidable injury because a medical professional did not inform you of all the risks. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we will help you understand your rights involving your medical malpractice case. We will help you gather evidence, build your case, and argue the facts in court so that you receive justice. 

Use the live chat option on our website to speak with a representative or schedule your consultation by phone at (561) 655-1990. Our consultations are at no cost nor obligation to you and your family. Speak with us today.

Medical Liability & Your Rights

medical liabilityAs a patient, you expect that your doctor will provide you with a certain level of care. However, just like in any field, accidents can occur. But what can you do if your physician does not appropriately attend to your medical needs? And what steps should you or your loved ones take if your health treatment leads to an injury or death? Let’s discuss medical liability, also known as medical liability, and your rights as a patient.

Understanding this term will help you determine whether your doctor is liable for the injuries you have suffered after visiting a health care provider.

What are Medical Liability and Medical Malpractice?

Medical liability law helps patients who have not received the proper level of care recover damages from a doctor or health care provider. Medical malpractice occurs whenever a doctor fails to provide care that would be expected from another reasonable physician. If a doctor’s or medical provider’s failure to provide a standard of care results in your injury or death, then they are legally liable for their actions. 

However, if other doctors would provide a similar level of care, or you do not suffer injury because of the physician’s actions, malpractice has not occurred. Because negligence from a medical professional can have devastating consequences, medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the largest awarded personal injury cases.

Common Ways Medical Malpractice Occurs

There are many ways that a physician can commit medical malpractice. It’s important to note that these actions by themselves may not qualify as malpractice. However, if you can prove that a competent medical professional would have provided a higher level of care and the action or inaction caused you injury, then these events are considered malpractice. 

This list is not comprehensive and may not include your specific situation, but the most common forms of medical malpractice include:

  • Failing to identify an illness or misdiagnosing a patient. This can include receiving incorrect treatments to solve a health problem. Healthy patients receiving unnecessary treatment due to misdiagnosis is also considered medical malpractice.
  • Identifying an illness but failing to treat you adequately. Likewise, a doctor can diagnose your illness properly, but fail to treat it. Most often this occurs whenever a doctor is working with too many patients. Because they’re too busy to provide a standard level of care to their patient, they may forget to refer a patient to a specialist. Further, the doctor may not follow up or release their patients too soon, resulting in injury.
  • Making surgical errors. Some of the most well-known medical malpractice cases are due to surgical errors. There are significant problems that can occur during surgery, which can lead to many long-term health complications. Even if you sign a form stating that you understand the risks of having surgery, this does not mean that you cannot recover damages.

How To File a Medical Liability Lawsuit

If you have been injured by a medical professional because of their negligence, you should receive compensation for your suffering. Here is the process you should take to start a medical malpractice case.

  1. Consult an attorney. Medical malpractice law is complex and requires significant resources. Be sure to discuss your malpractice case with a reputable medical malpractice law firm with proven experience.
  2. Have your attorney start an investigation. This will include gathering evidence, depositions, and finding experts for trial.
  3. Settle or go to trial. Your attorney will work with the physician’s insurance company to fairly compensate you for your damages. If they cannot agree on a settlement, then the case outcome will be determined by a judge or jury.
  4. Follow all procedures for bringing forward your medical malpractice case. The steps your attorney follows will depend on the state you live in. Forgetting to file, failing to meet with a medical review board, or delaying the suit can result in your case being thrown out. For this reason, it is always best to work with an experienced West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney.

Discuss Your Case With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

We trust medical professionals to provide adequate care for our illnesses. When you suffer an injury during medical treatment, the negligent party should be held accountable. 

If you suspect that you or a loved one has experienced medical liability and would like to know your rights, please contact us. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can advise you on which actions to take. Call us at (561) 655-1990 to receive your free medical malpractice suit consultation. 

 

Legal Access to Adverse Incident Reports at Risk

Medical malpractice is a reality that many individuals experience every year. Based on the most recent statistics available, at least one million medical injuries occur annually of which approximately 85,000 malpractice law suits are filed.  Medical malpractice claims evolve from misdiagnoses or below standard care of patients that result in injuries and undue pain and suffering. Read more

Florida Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Allowing Treating Physicians of Family of Child Who Underwent Kidney Transplant to Testify in Medical Malpractice Case

 Medical Malpractice Case

According to a report from WLRN in Miami, the Florida Supreme Court recently issued an important ruling in favor of a patient’s ability to present key evidence of his or her injuries in a Florida medical malpractice case. This evidence consisted of the testimony of an injured patient’s own treating physicians. In the case, Gutierrez v. Vargas, a child was forced to unnecessarily undergo a kidney transplant in 2007 due to damage caused to her kidneys by a chronic kidney disease. Read more

Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Florida Law Permitting Defense Attorneys to Speak with Physicians Who Have Treated Medical Malpractice Victims

In a win for Florida medical malpractice victims, as well as for Floridians’ privacy more generally, the Florida Supreme Court on November 8th struck down a controversial portion of a state law that permitted defense attorneys in medical malpractice cases to speak with the victim’s treating physicians.  This will enable victims of medical malpractice in Florida to rest easy knowing that personal or private medical or other information or details unrelated to their medical malpractice lawsuit may be discussed outside of the patient’s or their attorneys’ presence. This will ensure that medical malpractice cases stay focused on whether the defendant physician or healthcare provider committed medical malpractice or not, instead of issues that a defense attorney learns about that hurt a plaintiff’s case simply because of a law the Florida Supreme Court rightly found violates medical malpractice victims’ privacy rights.

 

The Law Permitting Defense Attorneys to Interview Treating Physicians

 

The law in question, which was passed by the Florida Legislature in 2013, allowed a doctor or hospital being sued by a patient to conduct “ex parte,” or one on one, interviews of the patient’s treating physicians without the patient or his or her attorney being present in the presuit portion of a medical malpractice lawsuit.  Thus, neither the injured patient nor his attorney(s) would be able to monitor what went on during such interviews or ensure the defense attorney only asked questions relevant to the medical malpractice.  Instead, the defense attorney could use the interviews as a fishing expedition to find out compromising details about the patient unrelated to his or her medical history or the alleged malpractice-all without any way for the patient or his attorney(s) to ensure that there were some bounds to these conversations.

 

The Justices’ Decision

 

In a 4-3 decision, the Florida Supreme Court wrote that “even the possibility that a person’s extremely sensitive private medical information will be exposed is the type of governmental intrusion that the Florida Constitution protects against because it is impossible to know if an inadvertent disclosure occurred when the meetings are not only ex parte and without a judge, but also secret [and] without a record.”   The Florida Supreme Court further noted that “in the case of protected medical information, the danger is uniquely and unconstitutionally great because once the bell has been rung, it cannot be unrung.”  The decision stemmed from a case from Escambia County in the Panhandle, in which the widow of a patient who was planning to sue a physician for medical malpractice in connection with her husband’s death, challenged the law out of concern that her deceased husband’s privacy rights would be violated if defense attorneys were to meet with her deceased husband’s doctors.

 

Contact Lytal Reiter if You Have Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice in Florida

 

The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have experience successfully litigating these types of medical malpractice cases. If you believe you have been the victim of a surgical error, contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney from our firm. We are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call today at 561-655-1990 or toll free at 1-(561) 655-1990 for a free consultation regarding your situation.