Liability for Florida amputation injuries may be imputed to negligent doctor/hospital (medical malpractice), property owner who failed to correct an unsafe condition (premises liability), careless motor vehicle driver (auto accident claim), or product manufacturer/distributor who designed/manufactured/sold a defective product (product liability). There could be other liable parties too, depending on the facts of the case. Given the severity of amputation injuries and the extent to which one can impact the rest of your life, it’s imperative to discuss your legal options with an experienced Palm Beach injury lawyer to determine whether you may have grounds for a South Florida injury lawsuit.
Recently, a doctor and urgent care center were ordered to pay $7.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit for Florida amputation injuries suffered by a patient whose bacterial infection was initially misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain. According to the Pensacola News Journal, the case involved a retired firefighter, whose right leg had to be amputated after a medical mistake. Specifically, the patient’s leg became infected after he was exposed to contaminated water in the Pensacola Bay. The leg began to ache and turned blue. When the pain worsened, he went to the urgent care center. Blisters began to develop as he waited in the lobby. Despite these symptoms, he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, given crutches, and instructed to ice and elevate the leg. The following day, the man saw a podiatrist, who immediately recognized what was happening, and correctly diagnosed the patient as battling an aggressive bacterial infection. He was rushed to the hospital and treated with powerful antibiotics. However, by then it was too late, and the leg had to be amputated to save the patient’s life. The urgent care facility and employee doctor denied liability. However, following an eight-day civil trial, jurors awarded plaintiff $6.8 million and his wife $787,000.
Florida Amputation Injury Cases are High Stakes
Amputation is when any piece of limb of the body is severed. They can be part of planned surgeries, but they may also be the result of an accident or medical mistake.
Losing fingers or toes, while seemingly minor, can be traumatic, resulting in unique challenges for the tasks of everyday life. When someone suffers the partial or total loss of a limb, the consequences can be profound.
People who suffer amputations may require medical care and prosthetics for the rest of their days. They might have to switch careers or be unable to return to work at all. Many say they experience a vexing psychological condition known as phantom limb pain. They may be unable to enjoy the hobbies and physical activities they once loved. Their personal relationships might be forever altered. They must relearn how to once again navigate the basics of everyday life, such as mobility, eating, using the bathroom, driving, etc.
Because these cases are so high stakes, with damage awards often being substantial, defendants will often fight hard not to be held liable.
Potential Liability for Amputation Injuries
As previously noted, amputations can be the result of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, as outlined above, is one example. In some cases, a doctor may amputate the wrong limb. There have also been claims filed when it’s revealed a doctor who ordered an amputation had insufficient medical evidence to support that conclusion. Poor medical care post-surgery or accident can led to gangrene, blood clots, or infections that ultimately necessitate amputations.
Unintentional amputations can be the result of a car accident, work accident, or malfunctioning/defective tools or machinery. In most cases, liability is going to depend on whether you can prove:
- The other party owed a duty to use reasonable care.
- The other party breached that duty of care.
- This breach of care was the cause of your Florida amputation injuries.
Injuries stemming from work accidents are a little different in that you’ll likely be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance – regardless of whether you were at-fault for what happened. But if there are third parties (not your employer or co-worker) who were also negligent in causing that work injury, you may have grounds to file a third-party liability claim.
Makers of defective products, however, can be held strictly liable. That means you don’t have to prove negligence. It’s irrelevant whether the manufacturer or supplier in a case like this exercised great are. If the product was defective and caused harm, the maker or supplier of that product can be held liable.
If you have suffered a Florida amputation injury and are examining your legal options, our Palm Beach injury lawyers can provide insight into the viability and value of your case.
Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.
Sacred Heart Medical Group, Doctor, Lose Medical Malpractice Case, May 21, 2022, By Colin Warren-Hicks, Pensacola News-Journal
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