Although most people think of medical malpractice lawsuits being directed against doctors, many such lawsuits target hospitals instead. If you have suffered personal injury as a result of negligent or incompetent treatment by a hospital staff member, such as a nurse, aide or medical technician, you may have a viable case of hospital negligence or hospital malpractice against the hospital. You should note that this is usually not the case if you have been treated by a negligent or incompetent physician, because most doctors are not employed by the hospital.
The laws concerning hospital malpractice in this country are complicated and vary from state to state, so if you have been mistreated while under care at a hospital in Florida, it is important to engage the services of a highly capable medical malpractice attorney within the state. Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., located in Pensacola, has an impressive record of successful outcomes throughout Northwest Florida. We have won millions of dollars in damages for other victims of medical malpractice, including victims of hospital malpractice, and are eager to add you to our list of well-satisfied clients.
Types of Hospital Malpractice and Negligence in Florida
Many mistakes occur in a hospital setting, but not all of them amount to malpractice. You may be entitled to substantial compensation, however, if you have had to cope with any of the following as a result of the incompetence or negligence of a hospital staff member:
- Laboratory results that are contaminated or misreported
- Symptoms that are not diagnosed promptly, causing a serious condition to worsen
- Not being monitored sufficiently
- Lack of communication among staff members
- Dosages of anesthesia or medication that are incorrect
- Blood testing, transfusion, or oxygen administration that has been handled negligently
- Follow-up care that is not administered as ordered
- Being discharged prematurely with catastrophic consequences
- Being treated by a staff member with a history of incompetence or addiction
The Need To Act Promptly
In Florida, as in other states, there is a statute of limitations for filing a hospital malpractice lawsuit. If you don’t file before the legal deadline, your case will be dismissed. The timeline for filing a hospital malpractice lawsuit in this state is within 2 years of discovering the injury but no more than 4 years after the harmful incident occurred.
Exceptions are made only if  any action was taken by the hospital administration or staff to deliberately conceal the malpractice or  if the injured individual was under the age of eight at the time of the occurrence.
Florida’s Medical Malpractice Damages Cap
Though the state’s statute of limitations remains intact, Florida’s cap on hospital malpractice awards for noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) was ruled unconstitutional in 2017 by Florida’s Supreme Court. The court stated that such a cap arbitrarily reduced damage awards “for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries.”
Prerequisites for Hospital Negligence Lawsuits in Florida
Florida law requires that you serve a notice of intent to sue the healthcare provider in question. This notice must be an affidavit from a medical professional indicating that you have a valid hospital malpractice claim of medical malpractice. Once you have filed this notice of intent to sue, a 90-day settlement period begins during which settlement is considered by the healthcare provider.
If the hospital does not want to settle, you have 60 days or the remainder of the statute of limitations (whichever is longer) to sue. It is possible to extend this period another 90 days if you need more time to find a medical expert, but you cannot extend the statute of limitations if it has already expired.
As you can see, Florida’s hospital malpractice laws are intricate and complicated. This is why you need the experienced attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates by your side. We are responsive and empathic and make sure that every procedural detail is followed while you take the time to recover from your injuries.
Determining Damages Before We Ask for a Settlement
What is a reasonable settlement depends not only on the nature of your injuries but on your ability or inability to work, how many people depend on your income, your age and general health, the predicted length of your recovery or diagnosed permanent disability. The highly skilled hospital malpractice attorneys at Staples, Ellis know how to predict and calculate a reasonable settlement to obtain compensation for such things as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of mobility, eyesight, a limb, sexual function, etc.
- Loss of consortium
We are well-schooled in calculating your costs and losses and estimating the future needs of you and your family. When you work with us, we make sure you will have the financial stability you seek.
Hospitals Are Liable for Employee Actions — Most of the Time
If you have been harmed by a member of the hospital staff — dropped from a gurney for example — the hospital will be held responsible for your injuries. Nonetheless, if a hospital employee commits malpractice while under a doctor’s direct supervision, say for example during surgery, we may have to sue the doctor rather than the hospital.
Contact Our Pensacola Hospital Malpractice Lawyer
Being harmed while hospitalized has no doubt caused you psychological as well as physical trauma. A sense of betrayal may accompany being injured by the very people you trusted with your life. At Staples, Ellis, our lengthy experience in the field of hospital malpractice has made us well aware of this, so we are driven to fight fiercely to get you the damages you deserve and to treat you with kindness and respect. Call us or fill out a form on our website so you can leave the legal wrangling to us and focus on your own recovery.
The Hospital Malpractice and Negligence Attorneys at Staples, Ellis & Associates serve clients in Pensacola County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, and throughout Northwest Florida.