When you seek medical care, you expect to improve your health, not get worse. Unfortunately, some people become victims of medical negligence when they undergo medical care. But how do you prove medical negligence in Florida?
How to Prove Medical Negligence
To prove medical negligence in Florida, you must prove all of the elements of medical negligence. You must show that the doctor or other health professional had a duty to provide competent care. Then, you must explain how your health professional breached their duty of care and that their work fell below competent, professional standards. You must show how the failure to provide competent care results in harm to you. Finally, you must document your damages and losses.
Elements of Medical Negligence in Florida
A claim for medical negligence is based on rending medical services improperly, or even a failure to render medical services at all. To prove medical negligence in Florida, you must prove four things: Duty of care of your medical care provider, breach of duty, causation between the breach of duty and your injuries and damages:
1. Duty of Care in Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
Proving medical negligence begins with showing that there’s a duty of care. For medical negligence to occur, you must have a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor. When a health care professional treats you, you have a doctor-patient relationship and they have a duty of care to provide competent services. In most medical malpractice cases, the existence of a duty of care is a given. You begin proving medical negligence by showing that the health care practitioner has an obligation to provide professional care in your case.
2. Breach of Duty in Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
Once you establish that the health care provider has a duty of care to you, you show how the health care provider breached that duty of care. That means showing how the care that you receive falls below professional standards of what’s acceptable. There are many ways that a doctor, nurse or other health care provider can breach their duty of care:
- Failing to get a full medical history before they perform a procedure
- Performing a procedure they’re not qualified to perform
- Prescribing medications that are improper
- Leaving a sponge or other object in your body after surgery
- Doing a procedure on the wrong limb or body part
- Puncturing an organ that’s unrelated to the procedure
- Failing to diagnose a condition or disease that should have been diagnosed based on your symptoms
- Failing to warn you about possible outcomes of undergoing a procedure
- Not maintaining a sterile environment
These are just some of the ways that a doctor may breach their duty of care. There are many ways that the actions of a doctor or even the inaction of a doctor may amount to medical negligence.
3. Providing Causation in Florida Medical Malpractice Claims
You must show a link between the doctor’s breach of care and your injuries. For example, a doctor fails to remove a sponge after surgery. You suffer an infection, and you need additional surgery to remove the sponge. In that case, there’s a connection between the negligence and your injury. You must show how the negligence leads to harm.
4. Proving Damages in Florida Medical Malpractice Claims
Finally, to prove medical negligence, you must show what your losses are. In most medical malpractice claims, this is easy. Any additional medical care or even time off work because of the medical negligence counts as a financial loss. There’s a wide range of damages that may apply to the case. In addition to claiming financial damages, you may also claim additional compensation for emotional distress, mental injuries and physical anguish.
Florida Law 766.102 – Medical Negligence
Florida law 766.102 lists the standards for medical negligence. The law says that medical negligence is a breach of the prevailing standard of care. For example, if you have surgery to set a broken bone, the standard of care is based on professional criteria for properly setting a broken bone. The health care professional must be appropriately trained and experienced for the work that they’re performing.
Medical regulations apply. If medical regulations call for a sterile environment and a specific sterilization process before performing a procedure, failing to follow those steps is strong evidence of negligence. In addition, you can show medical negligence by comparing the care that you received to standard, accepted practices in the medical community.
Most often, you rely on expert testimony to prove medical negligence. You secure a medical expert with experience in the field. The expert explains to the jury what the standard of care is and what should have happened in your case. Having the right expert can be critical to your claim.
It’s essential to have an expert that’s qualified to explain the medical testimony in your case. They must be able to explain complicated medical information to the jury effectively. Your attorney for medical negligence can help you find the right expert to pursue your claim.
Bringing a Medical Negligence Claim in Florida
Before you bring a medical negligence claim in Florida, you must provide a pre-suit notice to the defendant. You must send them an official notice that you’re considering filing a medical malpractice claim. You must submit the notice through certified mail with return receipt requested. The notice must contain the information required by Florida law 766.106.
The notice gives the medical care provider time to investigate. If they agree with you, they can offer you a settlement right away. They can also offer to arbitrate the case with you, or they can reject the notice. The insurance company that provides malpractice insurance has 90 days to investigate. You must provide this pre-suit notice before you can file a medical malpractice claim in Florida.
Attorneys for Medical Negligence
At Jack Bernstein, Personal Injury Attorneys, our lawyers specialize in medical negligence claims. With thousands of satisfied clients, we’re ready to help you build your claim to prove medical negligence. See why so many people are satisfied with the personal commitment and attention to detail that they receive from our professional legal team. Pick up the phone or message us today to begin your case.