How to Hold Healthcare Providers Accountable for Medical Negligence in Florida?

We place so much blind faith and trust in the medical professionals that do their best to heal us. Most of the time we get better, our conditions improve, and we don’t place much thought into their knowledge and skill. They’re the experts, right?

But what do you do when something goes wrong? Unfortunately, medical malpractice does occur and it happens more often than you think. If you believe you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, you do have certain rights and could be entitled to compensation. Miami-Dade residents who feel they’ve been harmed by a healthcare professional should contact a Miami medical malpractice lawyer at Freilin Brown for more information.

Florida’s Medical Malpractice Act

The Florida Medical Malpractice Act establishes the rules and regulations for medical malpractice lawsuits. This complex law gives patients the right to file a lawsuit against a healthcare professional or entity if they feel they’ve been harmed and did not receive the quality of care they should have. The Act also protects the healthcare industry from frivolous lawsuits. Some important provisions include the following:

  • Mandatory pre-lawsuit investigation – Before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the Medical Malpractice Act states that you’re required to conduct an investigation to determine if your claim is reasonable. This helps to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits filed that clogs up the court system.
  • Limitations on damages – Depending on your specific case, the Act imposes certain monetary limitations on how much can be awarded if you win your case.
  • Statute of limitation – The time allowed for you to file a medical malpractice case in Florida has recently changed from four years down to two years. This means you’ll need to file the lawsuit within two years of discovering that you believe you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare professional or entity.
  • Comparative negligence – If the healthcare professional or entity is found to be partially responsible for your injury or condition, they’ll only be responsible for a percentage of the monetary award.

How to Hold Healthcare Providers Accountable for Medical Negligence?

The burden of proof is upon the plaintiff to provide evidence that a healthcare professional or entity caused you to suffer an injury or condition due to a negligent medical error. The Florida Medical Malpractice Act states you must prove you suffered an injury due to generally accepted treatment and levels of care were not followed properly. Your legal team will need to prove two things for your case to be successful.

Breach of the Standard of Care

Although each medical condition is different, under Florida law, a healthcare provider is legally required to give each patient a medically generally accepted level of care and treatment. This standard of care is what another healthcare provider would have done under the same circumstances. Examples of a breach of standard care include:

  • Failure to properly diagnose an illness or a medical condition
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Lack of proper follow-up care
  • Prescribing wrong medications, prescription errors
  • Misinterpreting lab results

Proximate Causation

To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, your legal team is required to prove proximate causation. This means your legal team will need to prove that the negligent actions of your healthcare professional or entity directly caused your injury or condition. The proof of proximate causation must be clear and directly point to your worsened medical condition.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Florida

After your lawyer conducts an investigation and feels that you have a valid case, they’ll file your lawsuit with the courts and the defendant or defendants will be notified. They’ll have 90 days to respond to your claim either by admitting to liability and offering a settlement or rejecting it. If rejected, your lawyer will request a discovery phase with the defendant. During this phase, each party will present evidence.

Medical Negligence and Your Rights as a Patient

If your legal team feels that you have a legitimate case of medical malpractice, it’s your right to file a personal injury lawsuit and request monetary damages from the responsible healthcare professional or entity. You’re entitled to be compensated for their negligence and by doing so, you’re holding them accountable for their medical error.

Most medical malpractice cases are settled out of court, however, it’s important to work with a lawyer that has experience in these types of cases. Although the responsible party may be quick to offer a settlement amount, it’s in your best interest to let your legal team handle the negotiations. By settling quickly, you could be leaving money on the table.

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