The short answer is probably yes.
When we talk about a “surge”, what we really mean are two things.
First, more existing medical malpractice cases will start to go to trial after the courthouses re-open. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court all but confirmed that this will happen when it entered an administrative order requiring the circuit courts to get things moving with case management orders and anticipated timelines for trials. We fully expect that ongoing cases, which have slowed or stalled due to courthouse closures, will regain significant momentum in the next half of this year.
Second, more cases will probably be filed for a couple of reasons. Patients are now seeing their physicians more frequently for regular visits, and they are also undergoing elective procedures at hospitals and surgery centers now that COVID cases are not taking all of the time and attention of the front-line workers in our healthcare system. This means more “opportunities” for medical mistakes to happen. Additionally, patients who have been injured during the pandemic will be willing to venture out to seek competent legal counsel to investigate their claims and represent them if litigation ensues.
As things start to ease back into a “new normal” it is likely, unfortunately, that some of the common mistakes that have plagued our healthcare system for so long (including the failure to timely diagnose conditions in the emergency room, failure to timely diagnose cancer, failure to timely diagnose life-threatening heart conditions like stroke or heart attacks, improper discharge from hospitals, negligent care of women during pregnancy, and a multitude of surgical errors) will reemerge as the continued hot topics in medical malpractice litigation.
As a medical malpractice firm handling these cases on behalf of patients and their families, we expect the hospitals, doctors, and their insurance companies will soon realize that old litigation that had stalled in the court system will begin moving again in earnest.
The courts will be focused on giving injured plaintiffs in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases the opportunity to have their day in court. It also appears highly unlikely that those hospitals, doctors, and their insurance companies will be able to seek continuances absent extraordinary circumstances. This should lead to many more mediations, settlements, trials and jury verdicts over the next 12 to 24 months. At the same time, we expect new cases to increase and, given the new mandates by the Florida Supreme Court, future litigation should also move through the courts with more momentum than we have seen in the past.
We remain ready, willing and able to work with our referring attorneys and clients to get ahead of this surge. We are actively preparing our ongoing cases for trial and would encourage our referring attorneys to bring any new potential cases to our attention as soon as feasible so we can be prepared to take advantage of the new case management practices and hopefully push those cases to a prompt resolution.
If you believe you have a qualifying case that needs immediate attention, please contact any of our HPS attorneys: