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FORT PIERCE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY

What qualifies as medical malpractice?  Is it the same as negligence?

Yes, those terms are interchangeable.  According to Florida law, medical malpractice is EITHER a doctor or health care provider doing something that a reasonably careful doctor or health care provider wouldn’t do under the same circumstances, OR a doctor or health care provider failing to do something that a reasonably careful doctor or health care provider would do under the same circumstances.

AND, that action or inaction must have caused serious harm or death to the patient.

How do my Fort Pierce clients prove medical malpractice?

You need to prove a medical malpractice case by expert testimony.  That is, you have to have the case reviewed by a medical expert of the same specialty as the medical provider you’re suing, and that medical expert must say that the person you’re bringing the claim against fell below the standard of care for a similar health care provider.  Of course, the defense will bring their own experts into the case, who will say that the health care provider you’re suing did everything just fine.

If your expert gets you over this first hurdle, then you also must prove, through your expert, that the malpractice was what caused the damage to your client.

There can be negligence (malpractice) and there can be damages, but to win a malpractice case, your lawyer—through his expert witnesses—must prove that the malpractice, and not anything else, was what caused the damage.

How long do I have to bring a malpractice claim?

Each state has different laws concerning when a malpractice claim can be made.  These are called Statutes of Limitation, because they limit the time to file a claim.

In Fort Pierce and in the sate of Florida, the Statute of Limitation for medical malpractice is 2 years from the date you knew or should have known something was wrong, but no more than 4 years.  It’s important to note that you don’t have to know specifically that there was malpractice, or what specifically was wrong. The time starts when you knew something wasn’t right.  Continuing treatment for the problem does not extend the Statute of Limitations.

HOW MUCH CAN I RECOVER FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING?

The trial judge will instruct the jury that there is no exact standard for measuring these damages other than it should be fair and just in light of the evidence.  The items to be considered in evaluating the amount a case is worth include pain from the injuries, any disability or physical impairment, any disfigurement, mental anguish and the loss of the capacity to enjoy life both in the past and in the future.

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WHAT OTHER DAMAGES ARE RECOVERABLE?

In addition to pain, suffering, and disability, the reasonable expense of hospitalization and medical and nursing care and treatment in the past and in the future is also recoverable.  Additionally, any lost earnings lost time off work and lost earning capacity for the future are also elements of damages to be recovered.

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HOW LONG DOES A MALPRACTICE CASE TAKE?

From beginning to the conclusion of a malpractice case, a rough estimate would be 18 months.  Some cases are settled relatively quickly and others take much longer. Each case is different.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY?

Nothing.  The initial consultation either by phone or in person is always free.  If you have a case, you do not have to pay anything until the case is successfully concluded.  If you win, attorney’s fees and costs are paid out of the settlement. If you do not win, or if it is determined that you do not have a case, you do not owe the malpractice attorney anything.  Any costs advanced by the attorney are paid by the attorney and if you do not have a case, or if your case isn’t successful, you would not be responsible for anything.

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HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT?

The Florida Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice cases is 2 years from the date you knew or should have known that there was something wrong.  Any action must be brought on or before that time. It is important to note that you do not have to know exactly what the malpractice was, only that there was something wrong that alerted you to a problem.  That’s when the statute of limitations starts running.

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HOW MUCH DOES A LAWYER GET OUT OF SETTLEMENT?

If the case is settled before suit is filed, the attorney gets 1/3 of the settlement as his fees, plus any costs he has expanded.  Once the lawsuit is filed in court, the attorney’s fees go to 40% of the recovery and it stays at that level through trial.

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HOW DO I GET TO TALK TO A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY ABOUT MY POSSIBLE CASE?

Simple.  Call the office.  You want to be able to talk directly to the malpractice attorney himself or herself and not to a nurse or paralegal about your case.  The attorney is the one who has the best information to advise you as to whether there is a case or not.

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DO I HAVE TO PROVE MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE BEYOND AND TO THE EXCLUSION TO EVERY REASONABLE DOUBT?

No.  That’s the standard for criminal cases, not for medical malpractice cases.  In a medical malpractice case, you must only prove your case to a jury by a greater and more convincing weight of the evidence.

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WHAT ARE MY CHANCES IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE TRIAL?

Juries like doctors and hospitals.  That being said, most malpractice cases settle prior to trial.  Once a malpractice case gets to trial in front of a jury, the statistics show that the chances of winning are only 20%.  However, every case is different and every jury is different, so the statistics don’t always mean much.

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I HAD A DOCTOR/HOSPITAL ALMOST KILL ME BY DOING SOMETHING WRONG. FORTUNATELY I AM FINE NOW, BUT DO I HAVE A CASE?

No.  There won’t be a case unless they cause permanent, disabling injuries to you as a result of their negligence.  It’s like a truck running a stop sign in front of you but not hitting you. They were negligent, but you can’t sue them because they didn’t hit you.

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WHAT IS THE WRONGFUL DEATH ACT?

Florida has a law called the Wrongful Death Act which greatly restricts who can sue for the death of a loved one due to medical or hospital negligence.  If a loved one dies as a result of medical negligence, the only persons who are able to bring a lawsuit would be the surviving husband or wife or surviving children under the age of 25.  They are known as survivors under the Wrongful Death Act. Anyone else would not qualify as a survivor under the Wrongful Death Act and would not be able to bring a lawsuit.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND NEGLIGENCE?

There is no difference.  The two are interchangeable.  Negligence/medical malpractice is defined as the failure to use reasonable care.  Reasonable care on the part of a doctor, hospital or healthcare provider is that level of care, skill, and treatment, which, in light of all circumstances, is acceptable and appropriate by similar and reasonably careful physicians, hospitals or healthcare providers.  The law defines medical negligence as doing something that a reasonably careful physician, hospital or healthcare provider would not do under similar circumstances, or failing to do something that a reasonably careful doctor, hospital or healthcare provider would do under similar circumstances.

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HOW DO I CHOOSE A MALPRACTICE LAWYER?

Medical malpractice is a very specialized area, and many lawyers who actually advertise for medical malpractice cases do not actually handle those cases themselves.  Try to select a lawyer who specializes in this area. A medical malpractice lawyer is the one who is experienced in this area, who knows the ins and outs of this law and who has a stable of highly qualified medical experts to assist in bringing the case.

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DO I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?

Medical malpractice lawyers hire medical experts from the top teaching hospitals from around the county to review cases and often spend upwards of $75,000 to $100,000 or more in costs alone in bringing a malpractice case.  Therefore, if the injuries from alleged medical negligence are minor or not permanent and disabling, it would normally be something that the lawyer would end up spending more in costs than the client would hope to recover at the end of the day.  Therefore, any alleged medical malpractice resulting in death or serious permanent injury should be reviewed by a medical malpractice lawyer. If the malpractice results in a minor injury, it’s probably not going to be a case.

Many times the malpractice attorney can give you a preliminary opinion on whether he thinks there is a case or not, but in Florida, in order to begin a medical malpractice case, the medical records have to be reviewed by a medical expert of the same specialty as the potential defendant, and the reviewing doctor must sign an affidavit giving his opinion that there was medical malpractice which caused the injury.

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SURGICAL INJURY OR DEATH

Surgical injury or death may be as a recognized complication, or it may be due to medical malpractice. Our experts can find out for you.

NEWBORN
BIRTH INJURY

Malpractice occurring during or just after birth of a baby can result in a lifetime of heartache and care, and such injuries should be investigated.

GIVE YOUR DOCTOR A CHECKUP

Find out your doctor’s educational background, credentials, board certification and prior claims.

BRAIN DAMAGE
OR DEATH

This can happen from a head injury, a bleed, a stroke or lack of oxygen to the brain, and can possibly be from medical malpractice.

SLIP AND FALL
INJURIES

Most falls in nursing homes or assisted living facilities can be prevented with proper safety measures and the proper attention of the intitution’s staff.

FREE
LIVING WILL

Be the Captain of your own medical decisions. You can prevent arguments among family members. Make decisions easy for your family. Ensure doctors follow your wishes.

WRONGFUL
DEATH

This is outrageous, five times as many Americans die every year from hospital/doctor mistakes than die from auto accidents.

NURSING HOME ELDERLY ABUSE

Unexplained injuries, bruises and other related injuries may be the result of nursing home abuse. These injuries are a felony under Florida law.

If dogs don't go to heaven when they die, when I die, I want to go where they go.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF FORT PIERCE

Frequently referred to as the Sunrise City, Fort Pierce has served as St. Lucie County’s center for more than a century. The Treasure Coast, named to memorialize the Spanish Fleets that sunk nearby, is among the very oldest locales on the east coast of Florida. The state itself was designated a U.S. territory by Congress in 1832, with the Armed Occupation Act permitting settlement in what was a largely uninhabited part of Florida. Achieving statehood in 1845, the army was already in the midst of constructing military installments across the region. Benjamin Pierce, the brother of a future president, and also known by his friends as Hawkeye, made his settlement downstream from St. Augustine, while taking advantage of abundant palmetto trees to construct a fort. Tourists and residents all commonly refer to the area as Old Fort Park.

Ft. Pierce Welcomes The Railroad

In 1894, Fort Pierce saw its first railroad. This welcome mode of transportation helped expand the population of the township and facilitated the influx of goods including Cuban pineapples. Given the rampant disease running through the region at the time, there was an additional need for fresh and healthy fruits. Citrus became an extremely important imported good, as did cattle. St. Lucie was chosen as the county seat in 1905, together with Fort Pierce, which was linked previously with Brevard County and the Indian River area. Voters in 1901 chose to incorporate this township by a margin of 54 to 12.

Growth Of The Sunrise City

Nowadays, what was once a fledgling township has expanded into a busy, exciting city spanning 29 square miles and that is home to more than 40,000 individuals. A great deal of change has occurred since the early Hobe Indians reached the Loxahatchee River, and surely much is yet to take place. Given its rich history, Jupiter enjoys a diverse culture that includes nightlife, an innovative dining scene and more. Serving as a major point of interest for tourists interested in history as well as nature, the area offers a unique opportunity to visit its lighthouse where one can ascend 105 stairs to look out at stunning reef vistas and beautiful waters. When it comes to finding a seamless and inviting blend of old and new, it is difficult to match Fort Pierce and its surrounding locales.

WHO ARE

MY FORT PIERCE CLIENTS?

My clients are people who have been seriously and permanently injured by medical/hospital errors; who have had family members die at the hands of incompetent doctors or nurses; whose elderly loved ones have been abused and mistreated by uncaring nursing home staff. Many cannot even leave their houses because of their injuries. Sometimes their computer is their only contact with the outside world. These are my people!

“It's personally rewarding to bring justice and closure to these clients who have been so horribly injured through the negligence or incompetence of others. Please accept this FREE e-book which will help you navigate and understand the process involved in a medical malpractice law suit.”

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This FREE e-book, will help the Fort Pierce victims of medical malpractice understand and navigate through the legal process. This guide was written by Kip Sinclair based on his many decades of experience dealing with medical malpractice cases. Fill the form below to get your FREE ebook!

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