Strokes are quite common in Tampa. Their occurrence is unpredictable and unexpected. They can happen anytime and anywhere—at work, while doing errands, or spending time with family and friends.
Sometimes, doctors mistake strokes for other medical complications. A misdiagnosis of a stroke is a missed opportunity to correct an issue that may worsen without proper treatment.
If you have suffered a stroke and believe your doctor misdiagnosed you or did not provide you with an appropriate standard of care, seek help from a Tampa stroke attorney.
Medical malpractice lawyers Jennifer and Frank Fernandez at Fernandez Firm can assess your case and help you determine whether you have a claim.
Stroke Injury Guide
- Financial Compensation From a Medical Malpractice Claim
- Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
- Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
- Medical Malpractice and Strokes
- Traumatic Brain Injuries and Strokes
- Complications From Failing to Treat a Stroke
- Should I Seek Legal Assistance from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Choose a Stroke Medical Malpractice Firm You Can Trust: Fernandez Firm
When finding someone to help you with your medical malpractice claim, you need a firm you can count on to get you the compensation you deserve.
Frank and Jennifer Fernandez have significant experience in medical malpractice law and will ensure to represent your case fairly and adequately. Some of the reasons clients come to us for legal assistance include:
Over 25 Years of Experience
When choosing our firm, you select qualified attorneys with years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and taking cases to court.
You can trust us to ensure we apply our knowledge of medical malpractice law to your lawsuit. We have represented many stroke victims who suffered severe injuries at the hands of negligent medical professionals, and we can help you, too.
No Results, No Cost
There is no initial out-of-pocket cost when we represent you in a medical malpractice claim. We offer free consultations to all of our clients. While waiting on the resolution of your case, there are no out-of-pocket costs.
Instead, we give our clients a contingency fee agreement. Under the contingency fee agreement, we only receive a payment if you do. If we lose your case, there are no costs to you.
Consistently Satisfied Clients
Fernandez Firm has helped thousands of clients with their personal injury legal claims. We regularly receive positive reviews from our customers. Check out our video testimonials and reviews from prior clients to hear what they say about their experience with us.
Award-Winning and Nationally Recognized Team
Jennifer and Frank Fernandez have received many awards for their experience as personal injury attorneys. The Better Business Bureau, Super Lawyers, and Who’s Who have recognized us for our skills both in and out of the courtroom. In addition, Tampa Bay Magazine has identified our firm as a Top Lawyer in Tampa Bay year after year.
Results That Speak for Themselves
Fernandez Firm has obtained over $100 million in court verdicts and settlements for our clients over the years. Whether your case goes to court or results in a settlement, we help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Some of our largest settlements and verdicts are related to medical malpractice in hospital and physician settings.
Medical Malpractice Wins for Our Clients
When seeking a medical malpractice attorney, choosing one who can show you a history of obtaining results is essential. The Fernandez Firm is proud of the settlements and court verdicts we have won on behalf of our clients. A few examples include:
$36.7 Million in a Medical Malpractice Case
The Fernandez Firm won $36.7 million in monetary damages in a medical malpractice case involving a child who suffered from a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy and severe physical and mental disabilities. The court awarded $18.7 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages due to the doctor’s negligence.
$3.57 Million in a Hospital Negligence Case
Our firm won $3.57 million in a hospital negligence case that went to trial. While the case took four years to resolve, it was well worth the time. Our clients obtained the justice they were due.
$1.8 Million in a Medical Malpractice Case
We won $1.8 million for a client who suffered extensive injuries when a doctor cut her sciatic nerve during routine hip surgery. The client developed permanent nerve damage, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and lost the use of her leg due to the surgery.
$250,000 in a Medical Malpractice Case
The Fernandez Firm won $250,000 for a woman seeking a cosmetic laser resurfacing treatment who was left with permanent facial scars when a doctor failed to oversee his assistant who performed the procedure. The assistant had no training in performing the procedure.
Financial Compensation From a Medical Malpractice Claim
Individuals who successfully prove medical malpractice related to a stroke are entitled to financial compensation. A medical malpractice attorney can help determine the appropriate financial damages owed to the victim.
Common types of financial damages include economic and non-economic damages. A judge or jury may award punitive damages if the medical malpractice case goes to court.
Economic damages cover the financial losses directly associated with the medical malpractice claim.
Examples of these losses include:
- Costs for medical treatment, like doctor’s visits, surgeries, medication, and occupational or physical therapy
- Lost past or future wages from being unable to work
- Expenses for rehabilitation or long-term care
- Household expenses, like a visiting nurse or maid service
A medical malpractice lawyer can determine the total economic damages incurred directly from the physician’s negligence.
Non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages.
They compensate for harm such as:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Mental pain and anguish
- Long-term disability
- Loss of companionship or parental guidance in wrongful death cases
If the injuries from a physician’s negligence are particularly severe, you may receive non-economic damages.
A court awards punitive damages when the negligent behavior of a physician is especially flagrant. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar actions.
Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
Your case must meet four essential elements to prove negligence in a medical malpractice claim. The four essential elements include duty, breach of duty, cause, and injuries.
The first part of proving medical malpractice is establishing a doctor-patient relationship. You must have gone to the hospital or chosen to see a particular doctor based on the need for treatment for an ailment.
Patients who experience a stroke do not have the mind to appoint their doctor. They need immediate emergency care. A doctor-patient relationship begins as soon as they present to the hospital with symptoms, and a doctor starts to evaluate their condition.
Breach of Duty
For medical malpractice to occur, the doctor must have done something that was not in alignment with standard protocols. Usually, a medical malpractice lawyer will consult with other doctors to determine whether the treating doctor breached standard protocols.
In the case of a stroke, a breach of duty may occur when the doctor fails to order appropriate medical tests or does not evaluate them properly.
Next, you must show that the breach of duty directly led to your injuries. For instance, if the treating physician failed to diagnose you with a stroke because they did not order the appropriate medical tests, you have a cause. Testimonies from other doctors can support whether the doctor’s breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
There can be no medical malpractice case if you do not sustain injuries. Injuries can be financial, such as medical bills and lost wages from being unable to work. They may also be physical, like a decline in functioning.
Families who seek to obtain damages from wrongful death due to medical malpractice can also demonstrate injuries such as loss of companionship and consortium.
A medical malpractice attorney will work with you to develop a case strategy that meets all four elements. You must work with an experienced and skilled medical malpractice lawyer who is highly familiar with stroke cases.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
All states have statutes of limitations that cap the amount of time a medical malpractice victim has to file a claim. In Florida, Statute 95.11 limits personal injury claims involving medical malpractice to two years. If the medical malpractice resulted in wrongful death, families must file a lawsuit within the same period or lose their right to a claim.
In some cases, injuries caused by medical malpractice are not immediately apparent. The discovery rule applies if the victim does not exhibit their injuries immediately. The discovery rule allows victims to file a claim within two years of the date that the injuries become visible as a result of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice and Strokes
Nearly every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers from a stroke. And approximately every 3.5 minutes, someone dies due to a stroke.
According to the American Heart Association, stroke ranks as the fifth highest cause of death in the U.S.
Unfortunately, doctors sometimes make errors when working with patients who suffer a stroke. According to one report, attending physicians in emergency rooms misdiagnose up to 9 percent of patients who present with symptoms of a stroke. Patients may have a medical malpractice claim when doctors’ mistakes are due to negligence.
While negligence can occur in many ways, three specific categories indicate potential medical malpractice. They include failing to prevent a stroke, treat it, or administer the appropriate medication.
Failure to Prevent a Stroke
Failure to prevent a stroke occurs when a doctor does not provide appropriate medical advice or treatment to reduce the potential of future strokes.
For instance, if the doctor notes significant symptoms that indicate a heightened risk of a stroke, they must act on the knowledge and provide the patient with appropriate treatment or medications.
Sometimes, patients must undergo invasive medical procedures, like surgery, to treat other conditions. If the procedure warrants a patient to stop taking medications likely to enhance the risk of a stroke following the treatment, the physician should advise them to do so.
If the physician does not provide appropriate recommendations to reduce stroke risk, they risk a medical malpractice claim.
Failure to Treat a Stroke
A doctor may make an incorrect stroke diagnosis during emergency treatment. Sometimes symptoms mimic other diseases or illnesses, like epilepsy or migraines. If a patient suffers from any of these issues, the doctor may dismiss the signs of a stroke as related to pre-existing problems.
However, physicians must exercise reasonable care when making a diagnosis. Even if the patient has a pre-existing condition that mimics a stroke, they should still order appropriate tests to rule out the potential of a stroke.
The doctor should also review the patient’s medical history to determine whether they have any risk factors that increase their risk of stroke. They should meet with anyone who witnessed the incident to evaluate the possibility that a stroke occurred. Finally, consulting with other medical experts, like cardiologists or neurologists, is critical.
Failure to Provide Appropriate Medication
The most common treatment for ischemic strokes is the administration of a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Tissue plasminogen activator encourages blood clots to dissolve, improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of severe brain damage.
However, a tissue plasminogen activator must be administered within 4.5 hours of the onset of a stroke to work. If the doctor fails to recognize the need for a tissue plasminogen activator and does not administer it promptly, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one suffered from a stroke and believe your doctor failed to uphold a reasonable standard of care during treatment, it is essential to seek help from a medical malpractice lawyer.
A medical malpractice attorney can determine whether the doctor behaved negligently and take the appropriate steps to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Strokes
People who suffer from a traumatic brain injury have an increased risk of suffering from future strokes.
Specific traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, can lead to bleeding in the brain, which irritates and inflames the brain tissue. Traumatic brain injuries often result from sudden accidents, like slips and falls, automobile accidents, or sports injuries.
Suffering a concussion may make a stroke more likely. It is important to monitor yourself for any changes to your normal state following a concussion. Look for ongoing dizziness, changes in vision, and memory loss.
Bruises to brain tissue caused by a concussion can take a long time to heal. Ensure that you monitor your concussion with regular visits to the doctor. Sometimes, bruises on brain tissue can increase the risk of hemorrhagic strokes since they can damage the blood vessels in the brain.
If you are in any type of accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury, a doctor should inform you of ways to care for yourself and limit future stroke risks. Make sure to follow their instructions and make caring for your health paramount.
Complications From Failing to Treat a Stroke
Physicians who fail to diagnose or treat a stroke risk causing their client’s significant future injuries. Every minute that goes by without appropriate treatment for a stroke results in damage to brain cells. In fact, people lose almost 2 million brain cells every minute after the onset of a stroke.
Thus, time is of the essence once a stroke begins. Patients held up in treatment because physicians or nurses do not take the necessary actions can quickly lose their potential to fully recover from a stroke as each minute passes.
Some of the complications from failing to treat a stroke in a timely manner include:
Strokes often begin with paralysis or numbness of the limbs. Paralysis may occur on one side or both. If the physician treats the stroke quickly, you may regain full use of your limbs. However, if they do not, patients may experience long-term loss of use of their arms or legs.
Long-term paralysis is devastating to stroke victims. They lose the ability to control critical parts of their body and may be unable to perform their usual responsibilities. In the worst cases, they may be confined to a wheelchair and require long-term care.
Difficulty Speaking or Understanding Language
Stroke victims who do not get the care they need may develop difficulties with speaking. They may confuse words or be unable to understand spoken communication effectively. Reading can become challenging.
Depending on the location of the stroke, the individual may confuse words. For example, when they see a cat, they may refer to it as a dog. Rather than saying hello, they may say goodbye.
Every stroke victim’s recovery is different. However, the longer the stroke goes untreated, the more likely the victim will not fully recover their language comprehension abilities.
A stroke often changes the muscles and nerves that line the mouth and throat. People who suffer from strokes may find it difficult to swallow food or liquids. Swallowing difficulties can make it excruciatingly difficult to eat or drink.
In the worst cases, the stroke victim may never fully recover their ability to swallow. Some victims may need a feeding tube to get adequate daily nutrients.
Sometimes, people who experience a stroke cannot remember recent or long-term events. They may forget the names of their loved ones. Additionally, their reasoning skills may become compromised, and they may have difficulty making sound judgments.
Memory loss and difficulties with thinking can be quite hard for stroke victims and their loved ones. The stroke victim may feel inadequate, and family and friends may struggle with how much the personality of their loved one changes.
Mental Health Issues
Often, people who suffer from strokes become depressed or withdrawn. The changes they experience to their ability to function can be quite challenging to handle. Sometimes, they may need assistance with basic chores or self-care, like grooming and cleaning the house.
The longer a stroke victim goes without treatment, the more likely they will experience behavioral changes that may not respond to therapy.
Should I Seek Legal Assistance from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Victims fear that a lawyer will cost too much or that they do not have a strong enough case to win.
Failing to seek legal counsel is a mistake. Every person has the right to legal representation. If they feel someone has wronged them and led them to incur injuries they otherwise would not have, it is wise to seek an attorney’s advice. An attorney can put their fears to rest and ensure their case receives the appropriate evaluation.
The sooner that you seek legal advice, the better. Over time, people can forget essential facts regarding the circumstances of the injury. In addition, employees may leave the hospital or physician’s office, making it more difficult to find people involved in the treatment of you or your loved one.
You do not want to lose out on the financial compensation you deserve due to medical malpractice in diagnosing or treating a stroke.
The costs of caring for someone with permanent damage due to a stroke injury are astronomical. Long-term care costs for stroke victims can be significantly high, and these costs can be devastating if you do not have the financial means to cover them.
Fernandez Firm offers free consultations to all our clients. Seeking legal advice can only help you, not hurt you. If we take on your case, we do not collect anything unless we win a settlement or court verdict on your behalf.
You can trust us to ensure we will handle your case with dedication and care, just like we have for thousands of other clients.
Legal Assistance From Qualified Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you have a medical malpractice case involving a stroke, you do not want to give your claim to just anyone. You want a skilled medical malpractice attorney who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
At Fernandez Firm, Frank and Jennifer Fernandez have helped numerous clients recover financial damages in medical malpractice claims. We can help you, too. Contact our office today at (813) 278-1032 for your free consultation.
“The Fernandez Firm was there for my husband and I in our time of need. Brandi Triplett was transparent, knowledgeable and always provided guidance throughout our case. I will always speak highly of Mr. Fernandez and the firm to anyone that needs representation. They have earned our business for life!” -Carolina P. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys
2503 W Swann Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33609