What is a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim
In Florida, a medical malpractice claim is essentially a negligence action against a medical doctor or other “health care provider,” as that term is defined by Florida Statute § 766.202. While Florida Statute § 766.202 does not include all medical professionals, it does include the following: medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, podiatrist, optometrist, and dentists. Therefore, Florida’s extensive medical malpractice laws govern lawsuits against these types of professionals.
Florida’s medical malpractice laws are largely found in Chapter 766, Florida Statutes. But, there are also rule(s) of civil procedure and appellate case law that govern medical malpractice actions in Florida. Medical malpractice actions are some of the most complex, time-consuming, and expensive forms of personal injury litigation. Many Florida lawyers who practice personal injury law simply will not handle medical malpractice cases due to the time and resources required to properly litigate and prepare these cases for trial. Because of the complicated and technical nature of the statutory framework governing malpractice claims in Florida, anyone considering a medical negligence action in Florida should seek an attorney with extensive experience handling these claims.
In order to prove negligence in a Florida medical malpractice case, the person or family suing must prove that an injury or death was more likely than not caused by a heath care professional’s “breach of the prevailing professional standard of care.” Florida Statute § 766.102 states, “The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider shall be that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” It sounds more complicated than it is. A plaintiff in a Florida medical malpractice case must simply show that a doctor failed to exercise reasonable care. That can mean doing something that a reasonably prudent health care provider would not have done or failing to do something that a reasonably prudent health care provider would have done.
Finally, a person suing for medical malpractice in Florida must not only prove by the greater weight of the evidence that a doctor or other health care provider was negligent, but also that the negligence caused or contributed to an injury or death. Defendants oftentimes argue “no harm, no foul,” taking the position that even if the defendant health care provider was negligent, the patient’s outcome was no worse than it otherwise would have been. For example, if a doctor is sued for failing to timely diagnose a stroke, he or she may defend the case by arguing, “even if the stroke was timely diagnosed, the treatment and outcome would have been the same.” Again, because of the many complexities of medical malpractice cases (both legal and factual), individuals interested in pursuing these cases should seek counsel from an attorney who is well-versed in Florida medical malpractice law. For years, attorneys at our firm have handled these types of cases. We would be more than happy to speak with anyone who might have questions about filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida. At our firm, initial consultations are always free and confidential. You can call us directly at (305) 372-3650 or send us a message by contacting us here.