Medical malpractice cases involve complicated issues, and when the injured person is a child, the complexity increases. Pediatric malpractice can happen in various contexts and can be difficult to identify. It is often not clear that anything is wrong until a child misses developmental milestones and the parent seeks a cause. Determining the long-term impact of the malpractice can also be challenging.

As a parent, you best serve your child by working with a law firm that has been practicing in the area for decades and has the resources to obtain a just result. As 3 brothers helping others, we strive to provide your family with skilled and compassionate legal representation. A Tampa pediatric malpractice lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys understands the devastation a parent feels when a child suffers a preventable injury. Our seasoned medical negligence attorneys will work tirelessly to get your child appropriate compensation for their suffering.

Factors Contributing to Pediatric Malpractice

When the average person thinks of “malpractice” by a doctor of any kind, especially by a pediatrician, they may assume that most malpractice occurs because the physician involved was not skilled or experienced enough to perform a procedure correctly. In reality, though, lack of capability is rarely a factor in medical malpractice cases since virtually everyone who works in a pediatrician’s office has years of education and on-the-job practice behind them.

Even when physicians act in keeping with their skill and experience level, they still tend to depend more on what they hear from their patients—reports of symptoms, details about changes in their perceived condition over time, and so on—than what they observe directly through examination when making diagnoses and recommending treatment. Unfortunately, minor children tend to be less capable of communicating clearly when they are experiencing pain or a change in their normal condition, which increases the risk of their pediatrician missing a serious problem.

Another factor that often contributes to pediatric malpractice is a belief by physicians that children who do report symptoms or changes in their bodies will sometimes exaggerate or even outright lie about what they are feeling. This type of assumption also leads to malpractice by physicians treating adults in many situations, but it can be especially dangerous when the patient is a minor child who—as mentioned above—may not have highly developed communication skills.

Finally, miscommunication with staff members can contribute to causing malpractice in a pediatrician’s office, exacerbate the consequences of another doctor’s misconduct, or even be the sole reason why a child does not get the right treatment or medication. No matter what specifically led to a child suffering harm through subpar medical care, assistance from a Tampa pediatric malpractice attorney could be crucial to holding the right people accountable for the consequences of their actions.

Common Types of Pediatric Malpractice

Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of pediatric malpractice that legal professionals in Florida see on a regular basis, with failure to properly identify meningitis and appendicitis being two especially common ways in which this type of misconduct manifests. Similarly, pediatricians may engage in malpractice by:

  • Failing to order testing when appropriate
  • Misreading or misinterpreting test results
  • Prescribing the wrong type or dosage of medication
  • Not considering each patient’s unique needs and risk factors before providing or suggesting treatment

While it is less common among pediatricians compared to many other medical professionals, errors made during routine medical procedures can also serve as grounds for a pediatric malpractice claim in Tampa, as could failure to maintain sanitary conditions inside a pediatrician’s office. A qualified legal professional could go into further detail about what scenarios could give rise to this type of claim during a private initial meeting. Then, if you have a valid cause of action, they could guide you through every step of the filing process to pursue fair financial recovery on your child’s behalf.

Damages in a Pediatric Injury Case

Children and their parents suffer losses when a child is the victim of medical malpractice, and the law allows the parents and the child to collect compensation. A child’s parents could claim their medical expenses related to the child’s injury, incidental costs of providing appropriate care, and income lost while looking after the child. In some cases where the malpractice caused significant impairment, a parent might seek damages for the loss of their child’s love and companionship.

Child’s Losses

If the injury is permanent and could limit the child’s ability to work, a proactive pediatric malpractice lawyer in Tampa could help a family claim damages for their diminished future earning capacity. They also could seek damages for malpractice-related medical expenses they will incur as an adult.

A family could claim damages for their child’s physical pain and lost opportunities they experience due to the injury. Their damages award could include compensation for:

  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished social opportunities
  • Being unable to participate in sports
  • Need for additional educational support

A claimant can collect no more than $500,000 in non-economic damages from a healthcare practitioner unless the child dies, is in a persistent vegetative state, or the court finds the amount is not sufficient or fair under the circumstances. Even in cases where a higher award is possible, courts cannot order a medical professional to pay more than $1 million for a child’s pain and suffering.

Handling the Lawsuit Proceeds

If a jury awards damages or a case settles, the parents can collect the portion of the damages that compensates their losses. However, parents are not entitled to access the portion that pays the child for their losses if the total amount exceeds $15,000.

Florida Statutes § 744.3025 requires a judge to approve any settlement over $15,000. In such cases, the judge appoints a Guardian ad Litem to manage the child’s money and ensure that it is used to promote the child’s best interests. The child gains control of the funds when they turn 18.

State Law Limits the Time to Act

Someone who believes a Florida healthcare provider’s negligence caused an injury normally has two years to file a lawsuit seeking damages. A parent or guardian could file a lawsuit seeking damages if their child suffers injuries due to pediatric malpractice.

A parent might not know that medical malpractice occurred until more than two years have passed because some injuries are not apparent until the parent can assess their child’s progress toward developmental milestones. When malpractice results in injury to a young child, the parent could bring a lawsuit any time before the child’s 8th birthday.

Even when a child is older when malpractice occurs, the damage still might not be obvious immediately. In such cases, parents can file a lawsuit up to two years after they should have become aware of the medical error, but no more than four years after the incident. There are some situations that delay this standard timeframe, so consulting a knowledgeable Tampa pediatric malpractice attorney to determine whether a lawsuit remains viable is wise.

Claim Damages for Your Child’s Injury With a Tampa Pediatric Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases can be challenging. They involve complex evidence, and when the malpractice victim is a child, the stakes are especially high.

Trust your child’s case to a Tampa pediatric malpractice lawyer from a firm with considerable experience working in this area of law. Call Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today to discuss your family’s situation with a caring attorney.

Perenich Law injury Attorneys

Perenich Law injury Attorneys N/a
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