Medical Malpractice FAQs
Medical Malpractice Questions
How long do I have to file a claim? Generally, you have 2 years from the date of the incident giving rise to the malpractice or negligent conduct of the physician or hospital, or 2 years from the date which you should have reasonably have discovered the negligent conduct. We will need to act swiftly to determine if the statute of limitations has barred your claim to protect your rights. In some instances, you may file for an extension of 90 days to complete the investigation.
How is a claim initiated? Before a lawsuit against a physician or hospital can be filed in Court, we must compile all of the client's relevant medical records and submit this to a physician or other qualified medical expert for review. Once we obtain an opinion from our expert that medical negligence has occurred, this expert presents us with a written report or Affidavit. We then must present this medical opinion in the form of a Notice of Intent to initiate a medical malpractice claim outlining the negligence and damage issues in the case and present this to the offending physician or hospital. The defending physician or hospital then has 90 days to investigate the claim. When this 90 day period comes to an end, the defending physician or hospital has the option to settle the case, offer to admit liability and proceed to arbitration on damages, or deny the claim by presenting a contrary medical opinion. Understand that most malpractice claims are denied. If denied, we then file a formal lawsuit in the appropriate court of law.
How long will it take to resolve my case? On average, medical malpractice cases take between 1 and 2 years from the date the complaint is filed to get resolved.
How much will it cost to prosecute the case? Medical malpractice cases are expensive and costs overall excluding attorney's fees can range upward of $50,000 to $75,000.
Will there be a jury trial or settlement? The majority of medical negligence cases are settled. However, it is important that your lawyer have a proven record of trying cases, since the insurance companies will not settle the cases favorably if they do not believe your lawyer will try a lawsuit.
Will I be responsible for anything if we lose? If we are unsuccessful in prosecuting your case, you will not be responsible for any of the costs incurred. You only become responsible for costs if we win the case.
Do you represent doctors and hospitals? Our law firm only represents injured persons. We do not represent any doctors or hospitals in medical negligence actions.
Workers' Compensation FAQs
Workers' Compensation Questions
What is the value of my workers' compensation case for settlement or trial? Understand that a court cannot award pain or suffering. Each case has a unique value based upon factors that include the expected future medical costs, future disability wage benefit costs, your age, and the overall seriousness of the injury involved. Other factors may also be financial condition of the employer or carrier, and whether there are multiple injuries.
Will I be able to sue my employer if they are responsible for the accident? As a general rule, your employer is immune from any lawsuit related to your injuries, with some exceptions. However, an employer with 5 or more employees must maintain workers' compensation insurance and it is a no fault coverage. In some cases where injury was virtually certain to occur and the employer knew or should have known of this, a lawsuit can be maintained against the employer.
What if I am fired while receiving workers' compensation benefits or after I report the injury? Florida Statute 440.205 makes it unlawful for an employer to fire an employee for filing a workers compensation claim after suffering a workers compensation injury. Additionally, no employer can discriminate against you or refuse to hire you for having in the past suffered a work related injury. We can file a separate lawsuit in circuit court if this occurs.
Who controls the medical treatment? Generally, the Insurance Company selects the initial treating physician. When and if you wish to change physicians, the insurance company selects the new physician as well, unless they fail to do so within 5 days of your written request.
How does my lawyer get paid and will I have to pay my attorney to represent me in my workers' compensation case? Florida law requires either the employer or insurance company to pay for attorney fees. We will get paid if we obtain benefits for you either by award of the Court or after filing a claim and the insurance company agreeing to provide the benefit after 30 days elapses. Alternatively, if we negotiate a lump sum settlement, the injured employee will pay us a percentage of the settlement pursuant to statutory guidelines.
How much can I expect to be paid while I'm out of work? Florida law provides for up to 2 years of disability benefits while you are still recovering from your injuries. You may qualify for additional disability benefits for another 52 weeks after this period while you are going through retraining or education. If you can never go back to work, you may qualify for permanent disability payments for the rest of your life. Generally all wages are based upon 2/3 of your average gross weekly wage while you were employed and working.
Does the insurance company ever have to settle or can a judge award me a lump sum settlement? No. The case can be open for the rest of your life and the insurance company will be required to provide benefits for as long as the work accident is the major cause of your need for treatment. However, a Judge can never order the insurance company to settle nor can you ask the judge to award you a lump sum in damages.
How long do I have to report my injury or to file a claim? Generally, you must report the injury within 30 days, but you have 2 years from that date to file a formal claim or petition for benefits under Chapter 440.