What Constitutes Medical Malpractice In Florida?
Medical malpractice (also sometimes referred to as “medical negligence”) occurs when a medical professional’s negligence injures a patient. However, It is important to note that not all medical mishaps are the result of negligence (i.e. failing to act with the level of care that an ordinarily prudent person would have exercised under similar circumstances), and that only those injuries that are the result of a negligent or wrongful act can be the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, the following medical mistakes often form the basis of medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida when they result from a medical professional’s negligence:
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part,
- Failure to timely treat a patient,
- Delayed diagnosis,
- Improper medicine or dosage prescribed or administered,
- Preventable birth injury, and
- Foreign object left inside a patient after surgery.
The Elements of a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim
In order for a Florida medical malpractice claimant to win their case they must prove certain elements. Essentially, they bear the burden of proving (by the greater weight of evidence) that the alleged action(s) of the defendant health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing standard of care for that health care provider, that this breach was the proximate cause of their injury, and that consequently they suffered compensable damages. Each of these elements is briefly explored below:
- Breach of the Applicable Standard of Care
All health care professionals are legally required to treat their patients with care. Under section 766.102 of the Florida Statutes the prevailing standard of care that a medical professional owes to his/her patent is defined as the “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.” In order to prove that this standard of care has been breach the claimant will generally present evidence from medical experts indicating what a prudent and similarly situated medical professional would have done given the circumstances, and then illustrate how the defendant’s actions deviated from the prevailing professional standard of care.
- Proximate Cause
Next, the claimant must show that the defendant’s breach of the applicable standard of care was the proximate cause of his/her injury. In other words, the claimant must demonstrate that if it were not for the defendant’s negligence the injury at issue would not have occurred.
- Compensable Damages
Lastly, the claimant must establish the damages that they have suffered as a result of the defendant’s malpractice. The claimant does this by providing evidence of the monetary amount necessary to replace what was lost (known as economic damages), plus any applicable non-economic damages that they suffered (for example, pain and suffering, inconvenience, etc.).
Contact Us for Professional Help
If you have questions about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida the Mander Law Group is here to help. Medical mistake cases come in a variety of different forms but our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys handles them all. From birth injuries to misdiagnosis and wrongfully performed surgeries we are committed to holding medical professionals responsible for their negligent mistakes and fighting for the compensation that our clients are legally entitled to. To discuss the possibility of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit during a free initial consultation contact our Dade City office today at (800) 557-0411.