Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorneys
A United States government report issued more than a decade ago estimated that 98,000 people were killed each year due to medical malpractice. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that those figures have more than doubled in recent years currently totaling more than 225,000 deaths per year. Today medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Despite these alarming statistics, many personal injury lawyers do not handle medical malpractice cases due to their complexity and high costs to prosecute. With nearly 25 years of experience, our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at the Fernandez Firm have the knowledge and trial skills to get you the recovery you deserve. However, the time to act is very limited by the Florida statute of limitations. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, please contact us today for a free comprehensive review of your case, before it is too late.
Recognized Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Frank F. Fernandez, III and Jennifer Gentry Fernandez have been nationally recognized as leaders in their field by their peers and numerous professional organizations and publications throughout their legal careers. Most recently, Tampa Bay Magazine named attorney Frank Fernandez and Jennifer Fernandez as Top Attorneys in Tampa Bay for 2017 and 2018.
Florida Trend Magazine has also named Tampa malpractice attorney Frank Fernandez to its list of “Florida Legal Elite.” Attorney Jennifer Gentry Fernandez has also been honored with inclusion on the National Register’s “Who’s Who Among Business and Professional Achievers.”
Medical Malpractice in Tampa?
Medical malpractice is defined by Florida statute as negligent conduct by a health care provider — whether a doctor, nurse, dentist, hospital or other provider — resulting in harm or injury to the patient. It can — and often is — the result of a lack of skill, training or competence on the part of the health care provider to meet the prevailing professional standard of care.
Despite difficult laws which favor the healthcare profession, at the Fernandez Firm our experienced team of Tampa medical malpractice lawyers remains dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured by negligent doctors, nurses and healthcare providers — and will do so until the Florida Legislature nails the courthouse doors shut. Our attorneys regularly handle medical malpractice claims state-wide and have, over the past several years, obtained outstanding trial results and negotiated settlements on behalf of our injured clients’ including:
$36.7 Million Verdict on behalf of a catastrophically-injured child who suffered birth-related brain injuries due to the medical negligence of an Orlando, physician. This verdict was upheld on Appeal (January 2013).
$2.6 Million Verdict against a speech therapist in St. Petersburg, Florida, whose medical negligence and carelessness contributed to the wrongful death of a young, single mother. This verdict followed pretrial settlements with several other healthcare providers totaling an additional $550,000.00.
$1.8 Million Excess Settlement for a young wife and mother who suffered severe nerve damage and RSD when a negligent physician sutured through a nerve during hip surgery. Like many Florida doctors, the negligent surgeon had only $250,000 in medical malpractice insurance coverage.
$600,000 Statutorily Capped Settlement recovered against a Tampa area hospital whose negligent nursing staff caused the wrongful death of a child following a routine appendectomy.
Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
The Fernandez Firm is an experienced personal injury firm with over $100 million in jury verdicts and negotiated settlement. We handle a wide variety of medical malpractice cases in this highly specialized field of the law, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Anesthesia Mistakes
- Bedsores or Pressure Sores
- Birth/Brain Injury
- Brachial Plexus Injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice
- Erbs Palsy
- ER Negligence
- Failure to Diagnose Cancer
- Heart Attacks
- Hospital Negligence
- Nerve Injuries
- Nursing Negligence
- Prescription Errors
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Surgical Errors
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Wrongful Death
At the Fernandez Firm, you have our promise that you will work directly with a firm partner — not an associate attorney or legal assistant — who has years of experience handling medical malpractice cases and knows your case inside and out.
Tampa Medical Malpractice FAQs
According to U.S. News & World Report, the best hospital in the Tampa metro area is Tampa General, which is ranked as one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation in five medical specialties: diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; nephrology; orthopedics; and urology. Despite state and national recognition, our firm has current and former clients who were patients of Tampa General — as well as the other hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices around Florida — who experienced negligence at the hands of their healthcare providers.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error, you already know the hardship and loss of trust patients experience when they discover the doctor they turned to for treatment failed to provide adequate care. What we can do is guide you through the complex legal process by which you can seek compensation for the injuries caused by the medical malpractice.
Here are some questions clients ask the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Fernandez Firm most often. For answers to questions about your specific case, contact us for a free case evaluation.
What is medical malpractice in Tampa?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s actions fall below the “standard of care” and harms a patient. The standard of care is how a reasonable healthcare provider should act in a specific set of circumstances. Medical malpractice is often called “medical error.” However, not all errors by health care providers constitute medical malpractice.
To determine if a mistake rises to the level of malpractice, four elements—often referred to as the “four Ds”—must be present in your case:
- Duty of care: A medical provider does not owe a duty of care to everyone. A healthcare provider’s legal duty of care extends only to the provider’s patients. Once a patient relationship is established, a duty of care exists.
- Dereliction (failure) to fulfill the duty of care: The provider failed to provide care and treatment with a degree of skill and diligence that a reasonable provider in the same specialty would have provided in similar circumstances.
- Direct cause: The provider’s failure to fulfill the duty of care was a direct (or “proximate”) cause of the harm the patient suffered.
- Damages: Not only was the patient harmed by the provider’s failure to fulfill the duty of care, but that harm resulted in physical and emotional injury and impacted the patient’s finances and quality of life.
What are some examples of Tampa medical malpractice?
Some common types of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis, missed or delayed diagnosis: This involves a medical provider wrongly diagnosing or failing to diagnose a condition that he or she should have recognized based on the symptoms, patient history, or laboratory or diagnostic testing results.
- Surgical errors: This includes errors such as wrong-site surgery, causing damage to other organs or tissues during surgery as the result of a mistake, mistakes made during the administration of anesthesia, unnecessary surgery, or even a foreign object such as a surgical sponge or drain left inside the body cavity after the surgery.
- Medication errors: This type of malpractice involves prescribing the wrong dosage of medication, prescribing the wrong medication to treat the illness, or prescribing medication in the face of a known allergy or adverse reaction.
- Birth injuries: Medical errors occurring during or just after the birth process, where the malpractice results in injury to the mother or baby. Some common birth injuries that may lead to lifelong impairment for the baby include cerebral palsy, paralysis, nerve damage, developmental disorders, and bone fractures.
- Failure to treat: Situations where a doctor has made the correct diagnosis for a patient, but fails to provide adequate treatment, resulting in worsening symptoms and even death.
Medical malpractice does not happen at good hospitals, does it?
Unfortunately, medical malpractice can occur at any hospital, clinic, private physician’s office, or other healthcare facility. While the Tampa Bay Area lays claim to facilities which U.S. News & World Report list as the best in the region — such as Tampa General Hospital, Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, St. Joseph’s Hospital-Tampa, and Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor — we have represented clients who experienced medical/nursing negligence at each of these “good” hospitals.
My Tampa doctor failed to warn me of the risks of my procedure. Can I sue them for medical malpractice?
It depends on several factors. Tampa medical malpractice law depends on the standard of care, which is how a reasonable doctor would respond given the same set of circumstances. Were the risks of your procedure so high that a reasonable doctor would have warned you of them? If the doctor disclosed the risks, would most reasonable patients have decided not to go through with the procedure? All of these factors, as well as expert opinion, must be taken into consideration to determine if different provider actions could have avoided the harm.
How do I recover damages in my Tampa medical malpractice case?
In Florida, before you are permitted to file a Tampa medical malpractice lawsuit, you must first present the healthcare provider with a Notice of Intent to sue, including an affidavit of merit from a qualified medical professional stating that you have a valid medical malpractice claim. This confidential Notice sets in motion a 90-day investigation process, during which the statute of limitations is tolled and the defendant may examine the merits of the case. This “pre-suit” investigatory process is extremely complicated and filled with pitfalls for the inexperienced. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm to get started.
What damages could I recover from a Tampa medical malpractice lawsuit?
Florida allows individuals who were harmed by medical malpractice to seek both economic and non-economic damages. The term “damage” refers to compensation for harm caused by the malpractice. Economic damages is compensation for the financial impacts of the harm you experienced.
Common expenses included in a medical malpractice economic damage claim include:
- Wage loss if you can’t work because of the injury or must miss work to treat the injury.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if the injury you experienced prevents you from returning to work or from earning in the same capacity as you did before the medical malpractice occurred.
- Medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the injury caused by the error.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for the damage to your quality of life that you experienced because of your medical malpractice injuries, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Permanent disability.
In 2003, the Florida legislature imposed a “cap” on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, meaning victims of negligent healthcare providers could not collect more than $500,000 for their physical and emotional pain and suffering — no matter how catastrophic the circumstances. Thankfully, in 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled this arbitrary damages cap unconstitutional, overturning this unfair law which penalized this seriously injured victims of malpractice.
I suffered an infection after surgery in Tampa. Is that considered medical malpractice?
Infection is a common surgical complication that occurs even without malpractice. Infection, standing alone, would not give rise to a medical malpractice claim. However, if the infection resulted from improper wound care practices, inadequate follow-up care, or if the doctor failed to treat an infection he knew or should have known existed, those circumstances may rise to the level of malpractice.
My spouse died as the result of a Tampa surgical error. Can I obtain compensation?
As the spouse of an individual who died from a medical error, you may pursue compensation through Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.
Under this state law, only certain individuals may recover damages in a medical malpractice wrongful death case, including:
- Surviving children who are 25 years old or younger.
- The surviving spouse.
- Adult children who were dependent on the deceased for financial support.
- Surviving parents, but only if the deceased was under 25 years old.
In addition to non-economic damages, such as the loss of companionship of your spouse, economic damages include:
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses.
- The loss of earnings the deceased would have reasonably earned if he or she had survived.
- Medical expenses related to the treatment of the injury the malpractice caused, before the death.
How are medical malpractice cases in Tampa different from other cases?
Florida medical malpractice claimants are required to undergo what is known as the “pre-suit process“ that requires obtaining an affidavit of merit from a medical professional and filing a notice of intent to sue. Slip and fall or car accident cases do not require this procedure.
How long do I have to file a Tampa medical malpractice lawsuit?
In Florida, plaintiffs must file medical malpractice cases within two years of the date on which they discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury. Under no circumstance, can plaintiffs file the lawsuit more than four years after the malpractice occurred—except in cases involving fraud by the healthcare providers and/or injury to a child before his or her eighth birthday.
I cannot afford an attorney. Can I just handle my Tampa medical malpractice case on my own?
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex areas of law, involving strict deadlines, expert corroboration, pre-suit notification and medical evidence. The requirements of medical malpractice litigation are often beyond the capabilities of lawyers who are not trained in this area of the law — not to mention a non-lawyer. At the Fernandez Firm, we had decades of experience in the field of medical malpractice law and a thorough understanding of the evidence needed to successfully pursue your case.
Because it is so important for injured individuals to have access to legal counsel when pursuing this type of case, the Fernandez Firm offers two special services to ensure access, regardless of an individual’s financial status.
Those services include:
- A free case evaluation: This is time for you to spend with one of our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys, obtaining answers to your questions and learning more about the legal process. It is also time for the attorney to learn more about your case to help you explore your legal options.
- A contingent-fee payment plan: You don’t need to pay for your attorney’s legal services unless your lawyer recovers compensation for you.
From start to finish, Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm pride themselves on fighting to help our Tampa medical malpractice clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us for your free case evaluation today.
Free Malpractice Evaluations – Call Today!
If you suspect that you or someone you love has suffered injury or wrongful death due to medical malpractice, our Tampa attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will be happy to review the details of your case. Please contact our office today at 1-800-222-8163.
Our experienced team of Tampa medical malpractice attorneys will evaluate the strength of your case for free and if there is no recovery there are no fees/costs due. At the Fernandez Firm, we don’t get paid unless we win!