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St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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At Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner, our St. Petersburg medical malpractice lawyers defend your health and wellness through strong litigation. When a professional such as your family doctor gives poor advice or takes a risk that endangers your well-being, you’re entitled to be compensated. Whether you have suffered from a poor decision made by your physician or an accident that could have been avoided, we make certain that you’re on the receiving end of a malpractice insurance payout.

Why Choose Us

  • Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in personal injury law. We have the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to fight for your right to recovery.
  • We understand how difficult the aftermath of medical malpractice can be. Our St. Petersburg injury lawyers will handle all aspects of your case on your behalf and meet with you at your home, hospital room, or another location for your convenience.
  • Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf.

How an Attorney Can Help Your Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice claims in St. Petersburg and throughout Florida can become very challenging. Typically, these claims put the malpractice victim going up against well-funded medical practitioners, their insurance carriers, and their legal teams. When these incidents occur, it is crucial to have an advocate on your side who can match the resources of these other parties and conduct a complete investigation into the incident.

A St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney will not only gather the evidence needed to prove liability, but they will work with trusted medical professionals who can provide expert witness testimony and report to insurance carriers or testify to a personal injury jury.

Types of Medical Malpractice in St. Petersburg

Medical malpractice claims arise in many different ways in and around St. Petersburg. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims that we help clients with in this area include:

  • Misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis can occur in a variety of ways, including health care professionals failing to take a person’s symptoms seriously, failing to order appropriate tests, or misreading tests. A misdiagnosis can lead to incorrect treatment or a person receiving no treatment at all.
  • Delayed diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis can occur in much the same way as a misdiagnosis when a medical professional initially misses the correct diagnosis, and a person suffers unnecessarily because of this.
  • Surgical errors. Surgical procedures all have risks, but there are many surgical errors that are completely preventable. Some of the most common surgical errors include leaving foreign objects inside of a person’s body, operating on their own body part, operating on the wrong side of the body, infections caused by dirty equipment, and more.
  • Anesthesia errors. Individuals undergo anesthesia for a wide range of medical treatments, but anesthesia is a complex medical process. If an anesthesiologist fails to adequately monitor a patient, or if they use the wrong combination/amounts of the drugs for the procedure, this could lead to significant injuries for the patient.
  • Medication errors. If an individual receives the wrong medication, the wrong dosage of a medication, or does not receive their medication at all in a health care setting, this can lead to significant pain and suffering and even the loss of life. 
  • Birth injuries. Both a baby and a mother could be at risk for injury before birth, during the delivery process, and after delivery occurs. It is crucial for medical professionals involved in maternal care to adequately monitor both a baby and the mother at all times.
  • Medical product defect. In the event a medical product is defective, it may be possible to hold the product manufacturer responsible for any injuries or damages they cause.
  • Hospital-acquired infections. It is not uncommon for individuals to suffer from an infection caused by improper procedures at the hospital or in another medical setting. All health care professionals are required to follow adequate infection control procedures during the normal course of care, during surgical procedures, and even when going from room to room.

Taking Action Against Your Doctor

Our legal team fights on your behalf, investigating the cause of your injury and determining the type of medical malpractice you suffered. We then take action, bringing the case to court, if necessary, to attain compensation such as:

  • Coverage for past and future medical bills. We secure compensation for both your previous medical costs and any costs required as a result of the malpractice.
  • Compensation for emotional trauma. Being injured by a doctor is a traumatic experience, and we make sure you receive proper compensation for that trauma.
  • Compensation for loss of wages. To compensate you for the time you miss from work, we seek damages to cover your lost wages and earning capacity.

There is no set amount of compensation available to individuals who sustain injuries as a result of the negligence of a medical professional. Rather, the total compensation amounts for both economic and non-economic damages will vary depending on factors related to each particular claim. This includes the severity of the injury or illness caused by the malpractice, how long it takes for the patient to recover, whether or not a person can work, and if there is any long-term disability.

Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in St. Petersburg

Each state across the country sets deadlines for personal injury and medical malpractice claims. In Florida, the medical malpractice statute of limitations is two years from the date a person knew or should have known about the injuries or illness they sustained as a result of malpractice. Failing to file a lawsuit within this two-year time would likely mean that a plaintiff loses the ability to recover compensation for their losses.

However, there is also an overall statute of repose in place in this state. In Florida, medical malpractice claims cannot commence if four years have passed since the date of the alleged medical malpractice, regardless of when the mistake was discovered. There are certain situations where this statute of repose can be expanded, and we encourage you to speak to a skilled medical malpractice lawyer who has experience in handling these claims.

Procedural Requirements for a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim

The process of filing a medical malpractice claim is going to be different than the process of filing a typical personal injury lawsuit in civil court. There are particular procedural requirements necessary for these claims to move forward in court. First, it is imperative to meet the timelines mentioned above. Second, there will need to be an investigation into the claim to ensure that there are grounds for a medical malpractice suit. The plaintiff’s attorney will be the one to conduct this investigation.

During the course of this investigation, the plaintiff’s attorney will need to get a written opinion from a medical expert that supports the fact that malpractice did occur. When the case goes to court, the credibility of the medical expert who determined that malpractice occurred will often be called into question. It is crucial to ensure that the person giving their medical opinion is an actual expert in the area of medicine in which the alleged malpractice occurred.

Before filing a lawsuit in court against the defendant(s), the plaintiff is required to notify the defendant(s) in writing via certified mail within 90 days before filing the lawsuit. During this time frame, the statute of limitations we mentioned above will be tolled (paused), so this time period will not count towards the two- or four-year deadlines.

The defendant and their insurance carrier are required to respond to the notification within 90 days. They are required to indicate that they either admit liability for the malpractice, put forth a settlement, or reject the claim altogether. If the defendant does indicate that they want to admit liability and offer to settle, the plaintiff and their attorney are required to respond within 50 days to either accept or reject the offer.

In the event the defendant rejects the claim, something that is not uncommon, the plaintiff will need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and can proceed forward with the trial process. At this point, discovery will begin, which is when both sides will continue to collect evidence but also share any evidence gathered with one another. There will also be depositions taken of all possible witnesses in the case. Negotiations for a settlement may continue while the discovery process is ongoing. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed forward to a jury trial.

Contact Our St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

Physicians are supposed to care for us, but sometimes the doctor violates the trust inherent in the patient/doctor relationship. The St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys of Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner work diligently to hold doctors accountable. We aren’t just any lawyers — we are certified trial lawyers, meaning we have significant experience in arguing cases in court to achieve results.

Trust in our nearly 60 years of combined legal experience and our commitment to providing personal, affordable attention to you and your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation — we will come to you.

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