How to Sue a Doctor for Pain and Suffering

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Has negligence shattered your trust in healthcare? If you’re nodding yes, knowing how to sue a doctor for pain and suffering could get you the accountability and fair compensation that you deserve.

Whether it was an oversight, a grave error, or a malicious action, you need a seasoned, trusted legal firm that understands the ins and outs of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Burnett Law, P.A., has a strong track record in personal injury law. Our experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys will fight for your rights, which can make the difference in whether or not you win your case, as well as maximize your pain and suffering settlement.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider fails to provide proper care, and the patient suffers harm as a result. It’s considered a type of negligence.

Defining Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is the foundation of a malpractice claim. It’s when a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other licensed medical professional makes a mistake, is inattentive, doesn’t understand, or is careless.

When someone’s not careful enough, it can lead to serious injury, with a patient getting hurt and severe health issues. The care provider’s actions fall short of what a reasonable medical professional would do in the same situation.

Establishing Medical Negligence

To prove medical negligence, you must show:

  • The medical professional owed you a duty of care
  • They breached that duty by failing to meet the standard of care
  • You suffered harm or injury
  • The breach of duty directly caused your injury

Essentially, you have to show that the care provider was negligent and that their actions caused you pain and suffering.

Common Medical Malpractices You Can Sue for

Some common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • Medication errors
  • Infections from unsanitary equipment
  • Failure to treat a medical condition
  • Birth injuries

If you’ve suffered severe injuries because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may have a medical malpractice case. An experienced malpractice attorney can assess your situation to determine if you have a valid claim.

Why Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Sue a Doctor?

Here’s why hiring a skilled medical malpractice lawyer is so important:

  • Experience navigating complex malpractice laws to help you avoid costly mistakes like missing deadlines and use the law to work in your favor.
  • Resources to build a strong case, including access to top-notch medical experts ready to stand up and speak up for you when it matters most.
  • Ability to gather and present evidence in a compelling way.
  • Expertise in maximizing your compensation, taking into account past and future medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, physical pain and emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Hiring a lawyer can enable a malpractice victim to receive significantly more compensation than one who tries to handle their case alone.

Finding Out Your State’s Procedural Rules

Each state has its own procedural requirements for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Common requirements include:

  • Notifying the defendant of your intent to sue
  • Filing an affidavit of merit from a medical expert
  • Going through a pre-litigation panel review

Failure to follow these rules can result in your case being dismissed, so it’s essential to have the right pain and suffering lawyer to guide you through the process.

Statute of Limitations When Suing for Malpractice

One of the biggest hurdles is the statute of limitations. This is the deadline for filing a malpractice lawsuit.

The time limit varies by state. In Florida, you generally have two years from the date of the alleged malpractice or two years from when you discovered (or should have discovered) the injury.

There’s also a four-year statute of repose. This means you can only sue up to four years after the date of the malpractice incident, regardless of when you discovered the injury.

The bottom line: don’t wait. If you suspect malpractice, you need to take action promptly. Once the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to file a claim.

Affidavit or Certificate of a Qualified Expert Needed to Sue a Doctor

Many states, including Florida, require an affidavit or certificate of merit to file a malpractice lawsuit (Fla. Stat. § 766.104). This document is from a qualified medical expert.

It states your case has merit. The expert reviews your medical records and certifies that:

  • The doctor breached the standard of care
  • This breach caused your injuries

Submitting an affidavit acts like a filter, weeding out claims that lack substance. Our team of attorneys at Burnett Law, P.A., can arrange this expert review and file the necessary paperwork.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering in a Medical Malpractice Case

Your lawyer will help you collect solid proof that draws a clear line connecting the doctor’s slip-up to your permanent injuries. This evidence will be the foundation of your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Deciding Who to Sue

In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for your injuries. This could include:

  • The individual doctor who treated you
  • Other medical staff involved in your care
  • The hospital or medical facility where the malpractice occurred

Your lawyer will consider everyone involved to decide who should assume fault.

Documenting Your Physical and Emotional Injuries

The first step in proving pain and suffering is thoroughly documenting your injuries. This includes both the physical injuries and emotional and mental suffering caused by medical malpractice.

Keep a detailed journal of your symptoms, pain levels, and how the injuries have impacted your daily life. Be specific and honest in your descriptions.

Some questions to help you paint a picture of physical and emotional pain and suffering are:

  • Are you unable to work or enjoy hobbies due to chronic pain?
  • Have you experienced severe anxiety, depression, or PTSD because of the incident?
  • Do you have visible scars or disfigurement that cause emotional distress?

These are all crucial details to document. Photos of your injuries can also be robust evidence.

Gathering Medical Records and Bills

Request copies of all relevant medical bills and records, including:

  • Doctor’s notes and diagnoses
  • Test results and imaging (X-rays, MRIs, etc.)
  • Treatment plans and prescriptions
  • Hospital bills and insurance statements

These documents will show the progression of your injuries and the financial burden they’ve caused. In successful lawsuits, this evidence can inform the calculations for fair compensation.

Testimony from Medical Experts and Witnesses

Expert testimony can be very persuasive in proving medical malpractice and the resulting pain, permanent injury, and suffering. Your lawyer may bring in medical experts to:

  • Review your medical records and provide an opinion on the doctor’s negligence
  • Explain how the negligence directly caused your injuries
  • Discuss your prognosis and expected future medical needs

Hearing from your family, friends, and coworkers can help sketch out how these injuries have turned your world upside down. They’ve got a front-row seat to your physical and emotional trauma, day-to-day living, and the overall quality of your life.

Remember, the goal is to prove that your pain and emotional suffering are a direct result of the doctor’s negligence. The more evidence you have to support this claim, the stronger your case will be.

Types of Damages You Can Collect in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If a doctor’s mistake hurts you, you can seek compensation for the damage. How much you get paid depends on the details of your situation. An experienced personal injury attorney will fight to maximize your compensation to help with your recovery.

Pain and Suffering Damages

One of the main types of damages in a malpractice case is pain and suffering. This compensation covers the physical and emotional anguish caused by the doctor’s negligence.

Pain and suffering damages may include compensation for:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement or disability

Putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering can be tricky. There’s no set formula. Factors that impact the value include:

  • The severity of your injury
  • The duration of your recovery
  • The permanence of the harm
  • The degree of disruption to your daily life

An attorney will use their experience with similar cases to estimate a fair figure. They may also bring in expert witnesses to testify about your emotional distress and life-altering physical injuries sustained.

There are a few different methods to calculate pain and suffering damages:

  • Multiplier Method: Multiply economic losses by a number (usually 1-5) based on injury severity
  • Per Diem Method: Assign a dollar amount to each day you suffered, then multiply by the number of days
  • Hybrid Approach: Consider the full impact of the injury on your life and assign an appropriate value

Lost Income and Medical Expenses

In addition to pain and suffering, you can collect economic damages. These compensate you for monetary losses stemming from the malpractice.

Examples include:

  • Medical bills for treating your injury
  • Anticipated future medical expenses
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Costs of assistive devices or in-home care

Economic damages are more straightforward to calculate. They’re calculated from things like your medical expenses, salary details, and a professional’s take on what you might need for future care.

All the money in the world can’t fix what you’ve been through. However, it can ease the financial burden and provide a sense of justice. Your Burnett Law, P.A., malpractice lawyer, will be your advocate every step of the way.

Negotiating a Settlement

Many medical malpractice cases are resolved through out-of-court settlements. This can save time, money, and the stress of a trial.

Your lawyer will handle settlement negotiations on your behalf. They will advocate for a fair offer that covers all your damages, including pain and suffering.

If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, your personal injury case will proceed to trial.

Get the Right Legal Help on Your Side

Suing for malpractice is complex, so having the right malpractice attorney is critical to proving medical negligence and getting the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Burnett Law, P.A., will guide you on the pathway to justice for what you’ve suffered.

Don’t let a doctor’s negligence go unchallenged. If you’ve suffered harm from medical treatment, contact our medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation.

Remember, by sharing your story and fighting for what is right, you allow healing for yourself and also shield others from going through similar heartaches.