No one should ever have to suffer due to the failures of a hospital. Yet, hospital negligence is a principal cause of injuries, disease, and fatalities in Florida. For both patients and their family members, it is crucial to know how to spot hospital negligence and take effective steps to put an end to it.
Understanding Hospital Negligence in a Healthcare Setting
Hospitals are important medical care and treatment centers with enormous responsibilities. The public puts their trust in them to provide competent medical care, which often includes lodging.
Hospital negligence occurs any time a hospital's actions or lack of action falls below recognized standards of care. From the moment a person enters a hospital seeking treatment, hospital negligence may lead to that person’s injury, depending on the class of negligence.
Identifying Negligence: Common Examples
Understanding hospital negligence begins with knowing that hospital negligence is more than a basic error. Hospital negligence goes beyond simple mistakes and crosses boundaries that endanger patients’ lives. Some of the most common examples of this negligence include:
- Negligent triage
- Inadequate patient intake procedures
- Improper or inadequate patient exam or assessment
- Improper discharge procedures
- Failure to monitor
- Failure to act
- Failure to maintain sterile and sanitary facilities
- Negligent hiring
- Negligent training and supervision
- Vicarious liability
When it comes to liability, hospitals can be held vicariously responsible for the doctors they employ. However, many doctors who work in hospitals are independent contractors and not employees, which can mean no vicarious liability in most cases.
Recognizing Signs of Negligence
Depending on the circumstances, negligence may be tricky to spot. However, certain signs of negligence will readily manifest themselves if negligence indeed is afoot.
Medical errors are a sign that negligence is occurring, especially if there are multiple incidents.
Incidents of misdiagnosis point to negligence when it is reasonable to assert that a proper diagnosis should have been made. One misdiagnosis can easily lead to improper or unnecessary treatments that ultimately harm patients.
Hospitals must ensure that they are properly staffed to deal with their normal patient load. Proper staffing is more than just having enough bodies on the floor. It also involves ensuring that the workers are properly supervised, trained, and equipped to care for patients.
Staffing issues may also stem from the lack of support and maintenance staff. Beyond the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, a whole host of staff are needed to keep the building running at an acceptable level. Failure in this department can lead to all manner of injurious incidents.
Hospitals must possess the proper facilities to treat patients or risk harming them further. Adequate facilities are those places that contain the essential tools, equipment, medication, and other items necessary to properly provide medical care and treatment to patients. This encompasses lodging facilities as well as the service of food.
Steps to Take if You Suspect Hospital Negligence
If you suspect hospital negligence, the first step should be to ensure that you or your loved one is safe from further harm and somewhat stable. Afterward, you will want to contact an experienced hospital negligence attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to get justice for your losses. Before meeting with your attorney, it will be helpful to your case to gather any documents or communications related to the negligence, including medical records, hospital bills and account information, and photos or videos.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Hospital Negligence Claim?
You are strongly advised to hire a hospital negligence attorney to represent you in your hospital negligence claim. With counsel, you are likely to receive far more compensation than without. Insurance companies fight hard to limit their compensation payouts and employ experienced insurance defense attorneys to help them protect their profits.
A competent hospital negligence lawyer knows how to compel hospitals and insurance companies to pay what they owe. They fiercely negotiate to recover maximum compensation at every stage.
Additionally, hiring an attorney allows you to worry about other things besides your legal case, such as recovering from your injuries and focusing on the things you find important in life. Meanwhile, your attorney will be working diligently to recover the funds you need.
How Long Do I Have to Seek Compensation for Hospital Negligence?
Florida has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury cases. The clock begins running the date of the injury or the date on which an injury or condition is discovered by the victim. In some cases, victims may have longer to file a claim, but in every case, claimants should never delay after an injury.
Should I Accept a Hospital’s Settlement Offer?
You should not accept any settlement offers from the hospital or from their insurance company before having your claim reviewed by an experienced attorney. Hospitals and insurance companies have an incentive to pay as little as possible or nothing at all, while an attorney’s incentive is to fight to get you as much compensation as possible.
How Much Compensation Can I Get From a Hospital Negligence Lawsuit?
The amount of compensation you get from suing a hospital for negligence depends on the circumstances of your case. Damages can cover medical treatment for your injuries, lost wages, and various types of pain and suffering.
At your free consultation, your attorney may be in a position to give you a decent idea of how much in damages you could potentially receive.
Get Help From a Hospital Negligence Lawyer Today
At Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, we are committed to helping patients and family members pursue justice from negligent hospitals that cause them harm. Our seasoned, Miami-based team has recovered more than half a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients in Florida.
Contact us for a consultation with a personal injury lawyer at no charge and learn how we may be able to help with your case today.