When an individual suffers complications after surgery or sustains injury under the care of a medical professional, they often seek legal advice. Despite these complications, it’s often difficult finding an attorney to accept the case. There are several reasons why a medical malpractice lawyer may hesitate in pursuing the case; this article summarizes a few key reasons.

1. The Injury Doesn’t Qualify as Medical Malpractice

Experiencing pain after surgery or suffering  complications after a medical procedure does not automatically qualify as “malpractice.” For instance, if the procedure was performed correctly within normal industry standards, then malpractice is not present. In other words, malpractice doesn’t exist if the medical professional did not make an error, regardless of the outcome.

It’s certainly upsetting to experience negative results after entrusting a professional with your health; however, there’s a certain level of accepted risk to every surgery/procedure. These risks are outlined in the consent form signed prior to the procedure. In short, medical malpractice requires “negligence” from the healthcare professionals along with several other factors.

There are numerous guidelines in establishing whether or not an injury sustained while under the care of a medical provider qualifies as malpractice. These guidelines include:

Formal patient-doctor relationship established
The medical professional breached their duty of care by acting with negligence
This negligence must cause significant injury to the patient

2. Statute Of Limitations

There is a time limit on filing a medical malpractice claim. In the legal world, this time limit is called a “statute of limitations.” The duration of the statute of limitations varies based on several factors. One of the main factors involved is the state where the injury occurred. For instance, in Florida, most malpractice claims carry a 2-4 year statute of limitations.

With that said, there are several exceptions to this 2-4 year limit. For example, if a minor child was involved, this time-frame may be extended. Other exceptions involve fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or concealment. In these instances, the statute of limitations can be extended to a 7 year maximum limit.

An attorney is unable to pursue claims that fall outside the statute of limitations. This is why it’s so critical to have your case reviewed by a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

3. The Medical Injury Isn’t Serious Enough

Simply put, in order to successfully pursue a medical malpractice case, there’s a great deal of time, effort, and resources required from a law firm. Keep in mind, there’s a good chance your attorney will have to face a team of lawyers provided by the hospital and/or insurance company that will aggressively oppose a potential lawsuit.

With this in mind, if the injury doesn’t have significant “monetary value,” then it’s economically infeasible for a law firm to pursue the case.

If you’re wondering whether or not you have a “good case,” it’s important to consider the extent to which the injury has impacted your daily life or will potentially impact your life long term. If the injury only caused short term discomfort/pain there may not be sufficient monetary compensation available to warrant a potential trial or pay the necessary legal fees in obtaining a settlement.

4. Where The Injury Occurred

Many law firms are only licensed to practice law in their individual state. For instance, a medical malpractice law firm in Florida may not pursue a claim which occurred in Georgia. As a result, it’s recommended to work with an attorney in your state or search for one within the state which the injury occurred.

5. No Medical Malpractice Insurance

Other than geographic location, the hospital/physician that caused injury is another key element in determining whether or not a law firm will accept your case. To put this in perspective, hospitals, surgeons, etc. are generally protected by medical malpractice insurance. This insurance will ultimately provide compensation for your injuries if your claim is successful.

Unfortunately, certain states such as Florida allow doctors to practice without medical malpractice insurance. This is commonly referred to as “going bare.” As a result, injuries caused by uninsured physicians leave victims with little to no chance of receiving significant compensation.

As previously stated, pursuing a medical malpractice case requires extensive time and resources and if there’s a lack of potential recoverable monetary value, a lawyer has less incentive in pursuing a claim.

In summary, there’s an economic reality in pursuing medical malpractice cases. Simply put, it’s very difficult to sue hospitals/medical practices. Successful malpractice suits require clear evidence that negligence on behalf of the medical professional(s) caused catastrophic damage to the alleged victim.

Palm Beach County Probate Court

The Palm Beach County Probate Court oversees all matters related to the validity and execution of wills, trusts, guardianship, and more. When someone passes away in Florida, probate is required in order to ensure proper distribution of assets in accordance with the final wishes of the deceased. This process is required regardless of whether or not the individual wrote a will.

An attorney is not only recommended, but legally required in almost all matters involving Florida probate. In cases where the individual resides in Palm Beach County at the time of death, it’s advisable to use an experienced Palm Beach County probate attorney who understands the local court system.

Probate Division Overview

The court that’s responsible for probate in Palm Beach County is the Probate Division of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, also known as the Palm Beach County Probate Court. Below are some helpful resources prepared by the Probate Division of this court.

It’s important to note, information on this page and contained within individual links can help guide you in the right direction; however, it’s not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you’d like to speak with an experienced attorney for probate in Palm Beach County, call this number today 954-712-3070.

Letters engraved on small grey blocks that spell the word probate
Probate Checklist

Scheduling An Ex Parte Hearing

Application For New Guardianship

Guardianship Renewal

Palm Beach County Probate Court Location

Palm Beach County is an area in South Florida that stretches along the Atlantic coast up to the northern edge of the Everglades National Park. Palm Beach County is one of three counties in the Miami metropolitan area. The county has a population of around 1.3 million and remains one of the most wealthiest areas in Florida. Major cities within this county include: West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, and Delray Beach. If an individual resides in one of these cities at the time of their death, the local county court will be responsible for the administration of their assets. The address and directions to this court are listed below.

Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida
205 N Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Get Directions

Probate Judges

As of 2019, the Probate Division of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit has nine judges that oversee probate cases. Below is a brief summary of some of the judges and their experience. You can read more about The 15th Circuit Judiciary from publicly available information on the 15th Judicial Circuit website.

Charles Burton – The Honorable Judge Charles Burton was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush in October of 2005. He handles matters involving family law and probate.

Karen Miller – The Honorable Judge Karen M. Miller was elected in November of 2002. She was re-elected both in 2008 and 2014. Judge Miller only accepts probate and guardianship cases via online scheduling.

Rosemarie Scher – The Honorable Judge Rosemarie Scher was elected to succeed Elizabeth T. Maass by Governor Rick Scott in August, 2011. She also ran in 2014 as an unopposed candidate which resulted in re-election. Judge Scher does not accept personal correspondence in a case; it’s required that a proper motion is filed.

Samantha Feuer – The Honorable Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer is a newer judge on the panel. She ran for election in 2014 as an unopposed candidate, which in turn, resulted in an automatic election.

Scott Suskauer – The Honorable Judge Scott Suskauer was appointed in June of 2015 by the previous Governor Rick Scott.

Jessica Ticktin – The Honorable Judge Jessica Ticktin is a newer judge on the panel. She was elected in 2014.

Sarah Willis – The Honorable Judge Sarah Willis is also a brand new judge with the court. You can read more about Judge Willis in the judicial section of the court’s website.

Talk To A Lawyer Today

This information was prepared on behalf of Di Pietro Partners. The law firm of Di Pietro Partners is experienced in representing clients all across Florida in cases involving probate administration, estate litigation, trust disputes, and matters involving contesting a will. The main offices of Di Pietro Partners are located in Broward County which directly borders Palm Beach County. As a result, the attorneys at our firm are highly experienced in the Palm Beach County Probate Court. If you’d like to speak with one of our lawyers, contact our offices today.

Healthcare Compliance in Florida

Healthcare compliance is a complicated process involving strict standards from state and federal levels of government. Any violation of these standards, or laws may result in severe consequences. Violations often lead to lawsuits, loss of licenses, or huge fines. Thus, it’s important to understand state and federal compliance regulations and laws.

Healthcare organizations and professionals must adhere to healthcare regulations to ensure patient safety. For example, all hospital instruments must be sterilized before surgery. Without that regulation many people would die of infection. The federal government establishes “Standards of Practice” which dictate how surgical instruments must be sterilized.  The Standards are extensive and must be followed to protect the patient. Of course, this is only one small example of regulations hospitals must follow.

This page provides examples of key healthcare laws and regulations throughout the State of Florida. It’s important to note, this information provides general knowledge; however, this general knowledge is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have legal questions/concerns related to healthcare law in Florida you should consult with an experienced Florida healthcare attorney.

Anti-Kickback Statute Compliance

Florida’s Anti-Kickback laws affect physicians, dentists, pharmacies, pharmacists, nursing homes and hospitals. Simply put, people and organizations involved in the healthcare industry may not pay someone to find new clients, or accept monies for referring patients. This does not mean that a doctor may not send a patient to a specialist for treatment. However, no medical professional, or organization may receive a monetary reward for referring a patient.

Numerous statutes exist under Florida law regarding Anti-Kickback laws. Each statute is very specific and requires an attorney’s interpretation. Non-compliance of Florida’s Anti-Kickback laws may be a felony. If convicted, a person faces imprisonment, fines, or loss of license. It’s important to note that Anti-Kickback Law is also a federal law and involves criminal charges. So, a person may receive criminal and civil penalties if convicted of Anti-Kickback non-compliance.

Stark Law

Stark Law involves fraud and abuse related to Medicare, Medicaid, and any federally funded related program. Under this statute the federal government forbids physicians from referring patients to any facility or medical professional they have a financial relationship with that receives federal funds.  Violators will be held civilly (not criminally) responsible for breaking this law. Even if a doctor unknowingly makes a referral they may be charged. In other words, intent is not necessary for a conviction. So, it’s important to seek legal advice if you are charged with violating this statute.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. Since that time a patient’s medical information has been protected. In other words, you must give written approval for your doctor to bill your insurance company and to share your medical information with anyone.

There are some exceptions to HIPAA. For example, if a patient comes to an emergency room with a communicable disease that could threaten the population, proper authorities must be notified. Likewise, a victim of suspected child abuse requires law enforcement notification. So, there are times when HIPAA does not apply.

Health care professionals must be careful to follow strict confidentiality practices regarding patients. This includes social media posts and discussing patients inside/outside the work environment. Office workers must also protect patients’ privacy. The minimum criminal penalty for willful violation of HIPAA Rules is $50,000. The maximum criminal penalty is $250,000. An individual may also serve jail time for disclosing private information. Of course, civil fines may be less; so, it’s important to seek legal advice if you are charged with a HIPAA violation.

Department of Health (DOH) Compliance And Investigations

The medical profession has numerous federal and state rules and regulations. All organizations and professionals must be in compliance with federal and state laws. At the federal level the Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides resources to assist medical professionals in navigating federal healthcare compliance regulations. The federal government mandates that any organization that receives Medicare dollars must have a compliance program in place. In other words, medical facilities require an effective compliance department to ensure federal laws are being followed.

In addition to federal compliance laws, Florida has numerous state compliance laws and healthcare regulations. In Florida, the Compliance Management Unit (CMU) oversees 22 boards and 6 councils. These groups supervise six different types of medical facilities and forty different healthcare professions. Professional licensing is handled by the Department of Health’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance. Due to the complexities of compliance law and the extensive bureaucracy at the federal and state level, legal issues may occur if a person, or institution is found to be noncompliant in health related matters.

Compliance regulations are extremely important in a hospital setting. Hospitals are visited by an independent accreditation team on a regular basis. This team is called the “Joint Commission.”  The purpose of the Joint Commission is to ensure the hospital is following state, federal, and independent standards. Another possible compliance issue arises if staff does not meet state licensing requirements. Safety standards must be maintained in every medical facility.  Any institution not following safety regulations is noncompliant. Finally, failure to monitor Stark Law, fraud, and Kick-backs could present future problems for any medical organization or medical professional. So, if you or your organization is concerned about understanding compliance regulations contact an attorney that understands these laws.

Healthcare organizations must also follow the same laws non-healthcare companies do. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are two groups that establish safety and hiring practices hospitals and medical professionals must follow. So, it’s important to understand all applicable business laws and consult an attorney if you feel your organization has broken any safety and/or hiring rules.

Healthcare Compliance Attorney

Attorneys are not only necessary for trials and litigation. In fact, healthcare has its own specialized legal practice area. Di Pietro Partners is a premier healthcare law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The legal team at Di Pietro Partners is dedicated to helping physicians, medical providers, and businesses involved in the healthcare industry. This includes assisting with healthcare compliance, selling/purchasing medical practices, setting up new practices, establishing legal contracts, medical licensing, and more.

When someone passes away in Florida, the deceased individual’s property is legally required to go through probate court. This ensures assets are correctly distributed to the rightful beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. If the individual resided in Miami-Dade County at the time of their death, this process is handled through the Miami Dade County Probate Court.

It’s important to note that Florida law requires an attorney is present throughout most of the probate process. Therefore, it’s recommended to work with an experienced Miami probate lawyer that understands both state law, and the local court system.

Probate Court Overview

In most cases, probate is handled through the Probate Division of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Florida which is commonly referred to as “probate court.” This court hears cases related to estate planning/administration, guardianship, mental health, incapacity, and more. You can learn more about the Miami Dade County Probate Court and find helpful resources below.

*Please Note*

Information on this page and contained within individual links can help guide you in the right direction; however, it’s not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you’d like to speak with an experienced lawyer for probate in Miami Dade County, call this number today 954-712-3070

Guardianship FAQ’s

Estate Administration FAQ’s

Incapacity FAQ’s

Guardianship Proceedings

Guardianship For Minors

Voluntary Guardianship

Sale Of Property For Estates

Estate Formal Administration Checklist


Miami Dade County Probate Court Location

Miami-Dade County is the furthest south of any county within the mainland of the United States. It is also one of the three counties that make up the Miami metropolitan area. The county has a total population of over 2.5 million with 19 cities. Major cities within Miami-Dade County include: Miami (proper), Miami City, Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach and Homestead. If an individual resides in one of these cities at the time of their death, the local County Court(s) will be responsible for the administration of their assets.

The court that handles most probate matters within Miami-Dade County is the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. In less common cases where a probate hearing isn’t necessary, the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts may handle the case. You can find the address and get directions to both of these courts below.

Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida

175 NW 1st Ave,
Miami, FL 33128
Get Directions

Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts

73 W Flagler St,
Miami, FL 33128
Get Directions

Miami Dade County Probate Division Judges

Below is information on judges that hear probate cases in Miami-Dade County. This information is publically available on the Judicial Directory of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Florida’s website.

Yvonne Colodny – The Honorable Judge Yvonne Colodny is the Administrative Judge of the Circuit Probate Division. She was elected in November of 2008.

Rosa Figarola – The Honorable Judge Rosa C. Figarola was appointed by Governor Rick Scott on August of 2011. She replaced retired Judge Mary Barzee Flores.

Jorge Curto – There is not a lot of publicly available information on the Honorable Judge Jorge E. Curto. The information that’s available can be found in Section CP 01 on the court’s website.

Mindy Glazer – The Honorable Judge Mindy S. Glazer has been a Circuit Court Judge since 2000. She practiced as an attorney for almost 10 years prior to her admittance to the bench.

Celeste Muir – The Honorable Judge Celeste H. Muir has extensive judicial/legal experience.
Judge Muir was admitted to the Florida Bar in the early 70’s and began her judicial career as a County Court Judge in 1985. She then was elected as a Circuit Court Judge in 1990.

Alvan Balent Jr. – Mr. Alvan Balent, Jr. Esq. is the General Magistrate for Probate Matters. He was appointed by The Honorable Bertila Soto in mid-2018.

The Broward County Probate Court deals with the administration of assets and trusts after an individual passes away. This administration is required by Florida law and can be processed whether or not the deceased individual had a will. It’s important to note that most probate cases in Broward County are handled through The Probate Division of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.

In addition to the administration of trusts/estates, the probate court also handles issues related to adult and child guardianship. Since these issues are often complicated, it is required by Florida law to have an attorney present at probate hearings. As a result, it’s recommended to consult with an experienced Broward County probate attorney that understands both state law, and the local court system.

Probate Court Overview

As previously discussed, most matters related to probate in Broward County are handled through the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. This includes cases involving: incapacity, appointment of guardian advocates, estate administration, trusts, mental health, and more. You can learn more about the court’s individual processes within the links below.

*Please Note*

Information on this page and contained within individual links can help guide you in the right direction; however, it’s not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you’d like to speak with an experienced attorney for probate in Broward County, call this number today 954-712-3070

Black gavel on top of a book in the Broward County Probate CourtProbate Division Overview

Probate and Guardianship Forms

Guardianship and Guardian Advocacy

Probate Filing

Probate Administrative Orders

Guardianship Application

Intestate Estate Formal Administration

Broward County Probate Court Location

Broward County is one of three counties that make up the Miami metropolitan area. The county has a population of just under two million and consists of 24 cities. Major cities within Broward County include: Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Coral Springs, and Pompano Beach. If an individual resides in one of these cities at the time of their death, the local County Court(s) will be responsible for the administration of their assets.

The court that’s responsible for most probate matters in Broward County is the Probate Division of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. In rare circumstances where a probate hearing is unnecessary, the Broward County Clerk of Courts may handle these matters. Both of these entities are located at the same address. You can obtain the address and specific directions below.

Seventeenth Judicial Court of Florida

201 S.E. 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Get Directions

Broward County Probate Division Judges

Below is information on specific judges involved with probate cases in Broward County. This information is publically available in the judiciary list and category located on the Seventeenth Judicial Court’s website.

Kenneth L. Gillespie – The Honorable Judge Kenneth Gillespie was appointed to the 17th Circuit Court in 2009. Judge Gillespie was appointed as a Juvenile Court judge; however, he hears probate cases as well. Here’s an interesting video of Judge Gillespie being interviewed and discussing his personal/professional experience as a judge.

Charles M. Greene – The Honorable Judge Charles M. Greene is a probate administration and civil division judge at the 17th Judicial Circuit Court that was elected in September of 1990.

Mily Rodriguez Powell – The Honorable Judge Mily Rodriguez-Powell is a Civil Division judge that also hears probate cases. She was appointed by the previous Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush in December of 2005.

Speak With An Attorney Today

This information was prepared on behalf of Di Pietro Partners, an experienced law firm for probate and trust cases. Our law firm is dedicated to helping clients with both standard probate administration as well as complex litigation cases such as contesting a will, and trust disputes, all throughout the State of Florida. The main office of Di Pietro Partners is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL; this is the same city as the Broward County Probate Court. As a result, our lawyers are very familiar with this court and its processes. If you have an issue related to probate in Broward County, or another area in Florida, contact us today.

 

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