There are two primary types of medical malpractice cases that, unfortunately, we have to reject and cannot pursue, even though the treatment that the patient received was below the standard of care and was injured as a result.
- When a patient dies as a result of medical negligence, no wrongful death claim can be made, unless the deceased has a surviving spouse or a child under the age of 25. That law only applies to malpractice claims and not to other types of death cases.
- The other types of claims of malpractice are those where the injuries sustained are not permanent or severe and disabling. The reason is that MedMal cases are very expensive and take a long period of time to resolve. The insurance carriers for the healthcare provider usually refuse to settle the claim without a lawsuit being filed and lengthy litigation being entered into. In some cases, it takes one to two years to settle or try the case.
The time and expense is substantial and unless the liability is clear and the damages are enormous, pursuing the claim is not economically viable. In other words, the probable jury verdict would not be great enough to offset the time and expense of the litigation.
When a claim for damages cannot be brought, there are governmental agencies that you can contact to file a complaint. The Agency for Healthcare Administration regulates hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. The website is www.ahca.myflorida.com. The phone number is 888-419-3456. They will investigate the claim, and they can reprimand, fine, all the way up to license suspension or license revocation. However, they cannot financially compensate the patient.
If your claim is against a healthcare practitioner, you can file a complaint with the Department of Health. The website is www.floridahealth.com. The phone number for the Consumer Services Enforcement section is 850-245-4339. The website contains a list of the various practitioners they regulate.
Like AHCA, they cannot compensate you but will investigate and will regulate if necessary.