Articles Tagged with West Palm Beach medical malpractice

As longtime South Florida medical malpractice attorneys, one of the most heartbreaking things over the years has been telling parents of adult patients – and adult children of unmarried patients – that they have no legal recourse after their loved one has died due to medical negligence. That’s because the Florida’s medical malpractice and wrongful death laws protect negligent doctors and insurers at the expense of trusting patients and bereaved families. State law specifies that if an adult over the age of 25 dies as a result of medical practice and they did not have a surviving spouse or minor children (under the age of 25), no other family member can recover damages for pain and suffering. West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Put another way: If an adult over the age of 25 dies of medical malpractice in Florida, the only people allowed to pursue a legal claim would be a surviving spouse and/or minor children (under 25).

Unfortunately, most people don’t learn about this until after their loved one has died. Some scenarios that have resulted:

  • The mother and longtime girlfriend of a 51-year-old man who died following mistakes during an open heart operation could not find an attorney to take their case.
  • The three adult children of a 59-year-old divorced woman who died following a botched bowel surgery learned they had no legal claim.
  • The parents of a 34-year-old unmarried woman with no children had no recourse when doctors failed to diagnose breast cancer until it had advanced to the final stages, leading to her early death.

Florida is the only state in the country with such a law. Not only that, but we have a sizable population of widowed seniors, unmarried college students, and middle-aged single and divorce people whose kids are over 25 or who don’t have any kids at all. If they died in a car accident or because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, their loved ones could pursue damages for pain and suffering. But if they die as a result of medical malpractice, their loved ones are left with no means to hold accountable negligent doctors, surgeons, nurses, and hospitals.

“No one should be valued less just because they are unmarried, over the age of 25, or have grown children,” said West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer David Halberg. Continue reading

As experienced Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers, we’re closely familiar with the 2004 Florida law passed overwhelmingly by voters with the intention of preventing dangerous doctors from practicing medicine. It’s a “three strikes” rule for medical malpractice that seems fairly straightforward: A doctor with three “strikes” of medical malpractice will lose their license to practice. Unfortunately, we know all-too-well how ineffective it is, thanks to follow-up efforts by the state legislature, which made it nearly impossible for the state board to actually levy a strike. Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

The “Three Strikes Rule” was passed as an amendment to Chapters 458 and 459 of Florida Statutes. The law holds that if a physician has three or more incidents of medical malpractice (as established by a standard of clear and convincing evidence), they will be forbidden from the continued practice of medicine in Florida. A “strike” can be derived from a finding of medical malpractice by one of the following:

  • A final order by an administrative agency following a hearing.
  • A final order by a judge/jury in a civil case.
  • A binding arbitration decision.

It should be noted that medical malpractice isn’t as easy to prove as the typical negligence case. It’s not enough to show the absence of ordinary care. Rather, one must prove – via expert witness testimony from a similarly-situated professional – that the physician failed to abide the applicable standard of care, which depends on that doctor’s education, skill, specialty, and resources. But even with this higher standard and even with the three strikes law, doctors with checkered professional histories continue to practice.

Numerous journalistic deep-dives and scholarly studies in recent years – from NBC-5 in West Palm Beach to The Palm Beach Post – have highlighted this legal loophole. Yet as our medical malpractice lawyers can attest, the problem persists, with Florida doctors who’ve paid out 3+ medical malpractice claims continuing to practice, often with patients none-the-wiser. News outlets have reported there are hundreds of still-practicing doctors who have collectively paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in Florida medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from the deaths of more than 1,000 patients over 10 years. Continue reading

Doctors who have paid out numerous Florida medical malpractice claims continue to practice, despite a state statute approved by voters more than a decade ago intended to strip such physicians of their medical licenses. That’s according to a recent investigation into state insurance records by a South Florida television news team, NBC-5 in West Palm Beach. medical malpractice attorney West Palm Beach

Our own medical malpractice attorneys in West Palm Beach have encountered physicians in medical negligence claims who had previously lost or settled a number of prior lawsuits asserting they failed to abide the applicable standard of care in the course of medicinal practice, resulting in serious harm to patients.

The reporters discovered hundreds of still-practicing physicians who had paid out in excess of $460 million for Florida medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from the deaths of nearly 1,400 patients over the last 10 years.

This in itself is pretty stunning. However, it’s particularly striking in light of a 2004 Florida constitutional amendment approved by voters called the “three strikes rule.” Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court recently sided plaintiffs in a dispute regarding witness testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a young child forced to undergo a kidney transplant due to alleged failure to diagnose a chronic illness by her primary care doctor.medical malpractice

In the case of Gutierrez v. Vargas, plaintiff reportedly suffered from a chronic kidney disease that went undiagnosed for six years, ultimately resulting in so much damage she had no choice but to undergo a kidney transplant. Defendant argues plaintiff suffered a different disease that could not have been diagnosed sooner. The case went to trial and plaintiff was awarded $4.1 million in damages.

Defendant appealed on the grounds the decision conflicts directly with those of other district courts on a question of law. Specifically, defense argued the lower court should not have allowed several of the girl’s treating physician to testify at trial about their diagnostic opinions or allowed rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. After the judgment was reversed and remanded for trial by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, the state high court ruled there was no abuse of discretion and affirmed the trial court’s conclusion. Continue reading

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