Tampa Hospital Negligence Lawyers
Medical malpractice attorneys fighting for your rights after an injury in a South Florida hospital
When you enter a hospital, you expect to receive quality care and treatment that adheres to the highest medical standards, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Every year in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of people die and countless more are seriously injured because of medical mistakes, many of which occur in hospital settings.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious or fatal injury at a hospital, you may be wondering if the hospital was responsible and if and when you might be able to sue them for negligence. At Palmer Lopez, we understand the confusion, frustration and pain that can arise after a devastating experience of hospital negligence, but please know that help is available. Our dedicated Tampa medical malpractice attorneys are here to help you navigate these challenging times, finding answers to your questions and holding the responsible parties accountable.
Don’t let your questions and concerns go unanswered.
Contact Palmer Lopez today for a free consultation, and let us be your advocate in seeking justice and compensation. You never pay a fee unless we win your case.
Hospital negligence can take many forms
Hospital negligence refers to any situation where a hospital, through its employees or policies, fails to provide the standard of care expected, resulting in harm to a patient. This can include:
- Inadequate staffing. A lack of sufficient staff in a hospital can lead to overwork and fatigue, increasing the risk of errors in patient care. This situation could be considered negligent if it results in harm due to insufficient monitoring or delayed responses to patient needs.
- Lack of proper training. When hospital employees, including doctors, nurses or technicians, lack adequate training for their roles, it can lead to critical mistakes in patient care. Negligence could be attributed to the hospital for not ensuring proper training standards.
- Poor hospital policies and management. Inefficient or unsafe hospital policies and management practices that compromise patient care are considered negligent. This includes failures in communication, patient safety protocols, and emergency response procedures.
- Hospital-acquired infections. When patients acquire infections like MRSA or sepsis due to poor sanitation or sterilization techniques in a hospital, it could be a sign of negligence in maintaining a safe environment. This can also include situations in which the hospital fails to monitor and enforce proper hand-washing protocols.
- Faulty or misused medical equipment. The use of outdated, malfunctioning or improperly sterilized medical equipment can cause patient harm, constituting negligence.
- Emergency room errors. Mistakes in the emergency room, like misinterpreting symptoms or failing to provide timely treatment, can be considered negligent due to the critical nature of ER care.
- Surgical errors. These are mistakes during surgery, such as operating on the wrong site or leaving instruments inside the patient. These errors represent a severe breach of standard surgical care.
- Anesthesia errors. Mistakes in administering anesthesia, such as incorrect dosages or failure to monitor vital signs, are highly dangerous and constitute negligence.
- Failure to obtain informed consent. Performing procedures without adequately informing the patient of the risks and obtaining consent is considered negligent.
- Failure to appropriately monitor patients. Inadequate monitoring of vital signs or not responding to distress signals can lead to preventable complications, which is negligent.
- Patient falls. When nursing staff fail to provide adequate safety measures or assistance when patients get out of bed during a hospital stay and a fall occurs, this could be considered nursing negligence.
- Medication errors. Errors in administering medication, either in type or dosage, or overlooking drug interactions, can have dire effects on patients. Such mistakes are considered negligent if they deviate from standard pharmacological care.
- Birth injuries. Negligence during childbirth leading to injuries to the baby or mother, such as oxygen deprivation or trauma, is grounds for malpractice claims.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. When doctors fail to correctly diagnose a condition or there is a delay in diagnosis that leads to improper or delayed treatment, it can worsen the patient’s health, qualifying as negligence.
- Discharge errors. Prematurely discharging a patient or failing to provide proper instructions upon discharge is negligent, particularly if the patient’s condition was not stable.
Legal standards and definitions for hospital negligence can vary by jurisdiction, and proving negligence typically requires demonstrating that the care fell below the accepted medical standard and directly caused harm to the patient.
At Palmer Lopez, we recognize the emotional and physical toll that medical negligence can take on patients and their families. That’s why we’re committed to providing compassionate, personalized legal support, ensuring your story is heard and your rights are protected.
Hospital injuries and mistakes: When is it medical negligence?
Not all injuries or deaths that occur in hospitals are due to medical negligence, so it’s essential to understand how the concept of “duty of care” applies in healthcare settings.
In medical contexts, duty of care refers to the obligation of healthcare professionals and hospitals to provide care that meets accepted standards. This means offering treatment and care consistent with what a reasonably competent healthcare provider would provide under similar circumstances.
If a hospital or healthcare provider employed by the hospital fails to meet those standards and the patient is injured as a direct result, this failure could be considered medical negligence.
However, it’s important to understand that not all negative outcomes from medical treatment in hospitals are considered negligence. This is because some medical procedures carry inherent risks. If a patient is properly informed about the risks of a procedure and consents to it, and the procedure is carried out to the standard of care, adverse outcomes might not constitute negligence.
Understanding whether an unfortunate outcome in a hospital is a result of medical negligence often requires a detailed review of medical records, expert testimonies, and an in-depth understanding of medical practices, which is why having an experienced medical malpractice attorney is essential in these cases.
Medical negligence is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Before you or your loved one undergoes medical treatment, do your due diligence.
Use the resources available available through an online database maintained by the Florida Department of Heath. This platform allows you to thoroughly research a physician’s educational background and any history of malpractice.
Stay informed and proactive about your healthcare decisions.
Time limits for suing a hospital for negligence
In Florida, the general time limit, or statute of limitations, for suing a hospital for negligence is 2 years. However, sometimes, the harm caused by medical negligence isn’t immediately apparent. In these cases, the 2-year period starts from the time the patient discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury and its potential link to medical treatment.
Additional circumstances where this 2-year time limit can be “tolled” or extended include:
Fraud or concealment
If the hospital or medical staff fraudulently concealed the negligence, the time limit to file a lawsuit can be extended to up to 7 years after the injury occurred. The clock on the statute of limitations would start when the patient discovers or should have discovered the fraud.
For minors under the age of 8 at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be tolled until their 8th birthday in some cases.
In cases of wrongful death due to hospital negligence, the statute of limitations is generally 2 years from the date of the death. However, in cases where the cause of death isn’t discovered or linked to a medical mistake within 2 years, the statute of limitations can be up to 5 years after the death in some cases.
Given the complexity of these laws and the variations based on individual circumstances, it’s highly advisable to consult an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice as soon as possible if you suspect medical negligence caused your injury.
Have questions about how to sue a hospital for a medical mistake? Palmer Lopez can help!
If you suspect that you or a loved one was injured because of medical negligence in a hospital setting, don’t wait to get the answers and help you need.
At Palmer Lopez, our extensive experience in handling hospital negligence cases enables us to level the playing field, giving you the best chance to secure the compensation and justice you deserve. Our attorneys understand the tactics used by hospital attorneys to defend their clients, and we’re adept at dissecting medical records, consulting with medical experts, and building a compelling case to demonstrate negligence and the impact it’s had on your life.
Don’t let the complexity of hospital negligence claims deter you from seeking the justice you’re entitled to. Contact Palmer Lopez today for a free consultation.