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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    Medical Malpractice

    Medical malpractice involves medical mistakes by a health care provider, whether it is a doctor, hospital, nurse, dentist, medical/dental office or staff. When these professionals make a mistake that causes injury to a patient, this is what is commonly known as medical malpractice.

    This is exactly the time to contact an experienced Miami medical malpractice attorney or Orlando medical malpractice attorney.

    People who have been injured or misdiagnosed by a doctor or hospital often wonder “how do I find a good medical malpractice lawyer”?  That’s an excellent question, because everyone sees advertisements for lawyers every day.

    The best way to find a top malpractice lawyer is to do your research. Find an experienced trial lawyer who handles these cases.  Many lawyers who say they are personal injury lawyers do not handle medical malpractice cases.  Malpractice cases are complex, expensive and very time-consuming.  They are difficult and require some of the greatest legal skill in the practice of law. Because of this, the number of skilled medical malpractice lawyers is very limited.

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    Ask any prospective malpractice lawyer how many malpractice cases they have handled. Find out if they have tried these types of cases and what kinds of results they have obtained.  Does the firm have the resources to litigate a malpractice case to conclusion. Are they familiar with the intricate statutes that govern medical malpractice law in Florida?  Are they board certified? Are they considered preeminent in the field of medical malpractice litigation? Are they listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Florida SuperLawyers, Florida Legal Elite, Orlando Legal Elite or Top Lawyers in South Florida? Does the lawyer teach other attorneys or publish articles in the field?

    Although none of these are a guarantee, it is an indication that the lawyer you are considering is competent and skilled.

    Finding a good medical malpractice lawyer will put you in the best position to obtain the highest recovery possible for your malpractice case. By doing your homework you will have a jump on finding the best Florida  malpractice lawyer for your case.

    Medical Malpractice Law in Florida


    In Florida, medical malpractice cases are governed by a series of complex statutes known as the Florida Medical Malpractice Act, under Florida Statutes section 766. This statute has been amended and changed many times, mostly in ways that favor health care providers and hospitals.  The law has not been written to help victims of malpractice.

    These laws form the basis for bringing medical malpractice cases but are just a small part of the law that is involved in malpractice in Florida. There is a short two (2) year statute of limitations (legal deadline) for bringing malpractice cases in Florida. The statute of limitations can be extended once for 90 days if a petition is filed before the original statute of limitations expires.

    Every malpractice case requires that medical records be obtained and reviewed and that an expert witness qualified under the statutes review the case and prepare a sworn affidavit attesting that the care was negligent and caused harm.  This is just the start of a malpractice case.

    There are other complex laws and regulations that must be met before even bringing a medical malpractice case in Florida. There is a mandatory presuit screening period which involves written and oral questions in a mandatory 90 day period before a lawsuit can even be filed.

    It is essential that if you feel you might have a medical malpractice case you should immediately consult a qualified, experienced malpractice attorney in Miami, Orlando or your area.

    How big is the problem of medical malpractice in America?

    Recent studies have found that as many as 440,000 people are killed each year because of preventable medical errors in the United States.

    In a 2005 study of 39 million patient records, 241,280 deaths during Medicare hospitalizations were attributable to one or more common preventable medical errors. Interestingly, only 1 out of 10 medical mistakes end up being brought as a malpractice case. 

    In May 2016 Johns Hopkins University reported the results of a study showing that medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the United States.  That is astounding for an industry which claims to be here to heal the sick and injured.

    In a most recent study released in 2023, a Johns Hopkins University study found that an estimated 795,000 American patients continue to die or become permanently disabled each year because they are being diagnosed with the wrong conditions.

    How do you define medical malpractice?


    There are actually several ways a medical malpractice event can take place. As a general rule, any medical doctor or hospital that conducts practices that are out of the ordinary and out of the standard of the medical field could be considered medical negligence or malpractice. If you have been in a situation where you feel your doctor or a hospital gave care in a manner that could be considered malpractice, then you should contact a skilled malpractice lawyer to help you with your case. If you are in the Miami area, then consult a Miami medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. If you are in Orlando, Tampa or Central Florida, consult an Orlando medical malpractice lawyer.

    Most common medical malpractice examples:

    • Delay in diagnosis 

    A delayed diagnosis malpractice is where a patient didn’t receive treatment on time and as a result his health condition got worse. When this happens the doctors and hospital are responsible in cases where the delay caused the patient permanent injuries or damage or is severe cases even death.

    • Medication error malpractice

    It has been estimated that half of all hospitalizations result in a medication error. Medication errors frequently result in tragedy. For example, if a patient is given two medications that are not supposed to be given together, it can cause serious injuries.

    Another example is if a patient is given too much of a commonly administered medication which can sometimes lead to severe bleeding.

    • Misdiagnosis medical malpractice 

    This is one of the most popular examples of medical malpractice. When a patient visits the doctor the first thing that usually happens is that the doctor gives him a diagnosis of his condition. If for some reason the doctor gives an incorrect diagnosis or even just an improper one, the continued treatment could be wrong for the patient and in some cases can even cause real damage.

    As you can see, the first step of the diagnosis is very important and a doctor who misdiagnose can be held responsible if any damage occurs to the patient as a result of misdiagnosis by his part.

    If you have been misdiagnosed by a doctor in Miami and had damage as a result, be sure to get in touch with a Miami medical malpractice attorney.

    • Lack of staff

    You might find this surprising, but many hospitals are severely under staffed. They work without enough medical staff in each shift that is required and the number of people being checked in is a lot of times much more than what they can really handle.

    This leads to a situation where every staffer has too much responsibilities and not enough time to handle them all in a proper way, this leads to mistakes. When mistakes happen in a hospital the patients suffer and usually this will lead to a medical malpractice case being filled against the hospital.

    • Surgical errors 

    Usually, the last thing you want is to have to go under the knife. Having surgery is a complicated procedure, and if you can avoid it by getting treatment in other forms like medicine or alternative ways, you would probably do that.

    In the US and Miami, it’s quite common that surgical mistakes happen, and this too is considered a medical malpractice.

    When errors like these happen they can cause serious damage and health problems like internal organ damage, infections and even cause death.

    • Problems during anesthesia administration  

    Another form of medical malpractice is where problems occur during the anesthesia process before surgery. Anesthesia should always be admitted by a medical professional. There is an entire field in the medical world dedicated to this area and the person who is responsible for admitting it to patients is called an anesthesiologist.

    The anesthesiologist will examine the patient medical history before starting the process, he will also take note and look at any medication and any allergies that the patient may have. There are many thing the anesthesiologist must do before admitting the patient with a combination of drugs that will put him under for the duration of the operation.

    This person is also responsible to monitor the effects of the drugs given, if anything goes wrong during this whole event, in many cases will lead to a medical malpractice issue.

    • Unnecessary surgery medical malpractice 

    Yet another common cause of medical mistakes are unnecessary surgery. When a doctor misdiagnoses his or her patient and orders an operation when it is not really needed, this may be a clear cut case of malpractice. Why? Because any surgery is a traumatic experience to the body and to your mental state. If the surgery was not truly indicated, you have been subjected to the trauma of an operation, anesthesia, infection and more. Plus there was an actual cost for the health care that was unnecessary.

    There are many types of misdiagnosed surgery requests that end up being totally unnecessary and the patient pays a high price for the negligence of his doctor.

    • Lack of proper supervision

    When you’re in a hospital or a clinic you are giving away your health and safety to those in charge. As a patient who most likely does not understand much about medicine, at least not like your doctor, so these places are expected to follow strict rules and regulations to keep you safe.

    When someone drops the ball, or a workflow or system falls out of place and people get hurt, it is an obvious sign of negligence or malpractice.

    What should I do if I was a victim of medical malpractice?

    Well, if you’re based in Miami or Orlando, you should definitely contact our law firm. As a leader in the Miami and Orlando medical malpractice legal community, we regularly investigate and litigate malpractice cases. We work closely with our clients to understand their individual case and personal needs. Together we will help you better understand your rights and needs, and provide a comfortable environment to move forward.

    What kind of medical malpractice damages can you recover?

    It really is different with every case, but depending on the injuries you suffered as a result of a medical negligence or malpractice event you may be entitled to economic and non-economic  damages. Here are a few good rule of thumbs:

    1. Cover of past and future medical expenses

    This will usually include all past medical bills you paid or have, all current medical expenses you have and also future expenses that may come. ER visits, medical devices, doctor appointments and more.

    2. Loss of earning capacity

    If as a result of the medical negligence you suffered you are forced to take a leave of absence or worse unable to resume work completely, you may be entitled to compensation of the wages you would have earned before the injury.

    3. Loss of consortium

    This is the case where the spouse of the medical malpractice victim may be entitled to damages and compensation because of the loss of her partner and sexual relations. These are more common in case there’s a permanent or life-changing injury.

    4. Pain suffering

    Well, this will usually go without saying, this will be a compensation for your physical and mental pain you suffered as a result of the malpractice. They will be decided based on the nature and magnitude of your injuries, these will most likely include issues like stress, depression, fear and anxiety. These also include the loss of capacity to enjoy life.

    Why Leighton Panoff Law is the perfect Miami and Orlando medical malpractice lawyer to represent you

    Miami medical malpractice attorney - john leighton

    Medical malpractice requires proof of negligence on the part of the health care provider.  Leighton Panoff Law specializes in representing victims of medical mistakes. Founding partner John Elliott Leighton is a board certified trial lawyer who is skilled at representing victims of medical mistakes in Miami.

    He has won some of the largest verdicts in settlements in Florida in medical malpractice cases. He is a charter member of the Cooperative Association of Medical Malpractice Lawyers and is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Birth Trauma Litigation Group, Professional Negligence Section, and Medical Negligence Information Exchange Group. He regularly teaches other lawyers about how to handle and try medical malpractice cases, and has won some of the largest verdicts in Florida medical malpractice cases including a record-setting verdict for $24 million.  See our representative verdicts and settlements to get a better idea of the recoveries we have obtained for our clients throughout Florida and around the country.

    Many families trust their cases to Mr. Leighton because of his combined understanding of the complex medical issues, his skill in the courtroom, and his status as a leader among Miami medical malpractice attorneys. Mr. Leighton regularly publishes articles on how to avoid being injured by a medical mistake and how to stay alive in the hospital.

    As a result, defendants frequently choose to settle cases before facing a jury. Mr. Leighton recognizes that no two cases are the same, helping clients to determine the most appropriate course of action for their medical malpractice cases. For example, where an out-of-court settlement may be the most prudent choice for one client, a medical malpractice trial may be better for another.

    Regardless of the nature of the malpractice, it is critical to review these matters promptly, since every case is governed by a statute of limitations.  In Florida there is a short two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.

    This means that if you have an ORMC/Orlando Health malpractice, Florida Hospital malpractice, HCA, Tenet or Baptist Hospital medical malpractice case, the case must be brought within that time period or it may be forever barred. And those cases must be brought in the proper venue (location) and against the correct parties.

    Interviewing and retaining Miami and Orlando medical malpractice attorneys early in the process is highly advised.

    Contact us today to get started.


    Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case as each case is unique. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that every case is different and each case must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.



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