Mistakes in providing healthcare sometimes happen, but medical providers must do their best to prevent mistakes. If you have suffered an injury because a healthcare professional in Florida was negligent, you may have a potential lawsuit for medical malpractice.
However, just because you suffer an injury at a doctor’s office, hospital, or other health facility does not necessarily mean a healthcare provider committed medical malpractice. The medical professional must have acted below the standard of care for the industry. Otherwise, there can be no recovery for medical malpractice.
This post examines what constitutes medical malpractice in Florida. In Florida, medical malpractice can occur when a healthcare or medical professional who owes you a duty breaches the relevant standard of care and causes an injury that results in damages.
What Qualifies for Medical Malpractice in Florida?
In Florida, a medical malpractice claim has four basic elements:
- Causation, and
A healthcare professional’s duty depends on the standard of care. To identify the standard of care, Florida law instructs us to look to other similar professionals in the industry to determine what was expected. For example, we may ask if the healthcare professional took the necessary precautions that others in the industry take.
If a healthcare professional did not act as carefully and prudently as expected, given what other professionals in the field are required to do, they may have breached their duty.
Additionally, the breach of duty must have caused your injuries. For example, you may not recover from surgery as quickly as you expected and may have worsened. But if this outcome was not caused by a healthcare professional’s breach of duty, it would not be considered malpractice.
Finally, you must have suffered damages. If your physician made a mistake, but the mistake did not cause you harm, you won’t be able to prove medical malpractice. These four elements combined are what constitutes medical malpractice in Florida.
What Are Some Examples of Actions That Could Be Medical Malpractice?
There are many types of mistakes that can result in a claim for medical malpractice in Florida. Remember that there must be an injury and damages for medical malpractice to occur. Some examples of a healthcare professional’s care falling below the predominant standard of care are:
- Failing to assess a patient’s history. A medical professional should assess a patient’s health history when evaluating them for medical problems. This includes understanding past and current medical conditions.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Physicians must take appropriate steps to accurately diagnose your condition, using procedures that are generally accepted in their profession. They should also take steps to make the diagnosis in a timely fashion.
- Surgical errors. While surgery always has its risks, there is still an expectation that the surgeon, staff, or facility will adhere to the appropriate standard of care. Errors such as anesthesia mistakes or wrong-site surgery are examples of surgical errors.
- Birth injuries. These are injuries resulting from the birthing process. Such injuries can result from mistakes on the part of the medical staff or the medical facility.
- Misinterpreted lab and test results. The expectation is that your healthcare professional will correctly interpret lab and test results. Misreading lab and test results could potentially lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Medication prescribing and dispensing mistakes. Pharmacists are expected to dispense the right medication in the appropriate amounts and at the correct dosage. Other healthcare professionals are expected to prescribe the correct dosage and medications and should be aware of the medications that you are taking and the potential for interactions.
This is not an exhaustive list of medical malpractice injuries, but it should give a good idea of the types of injuries that could support a medical malpractice claim.
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you have reason to believe that you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit, the first thing you should do is contact us to discuss your injury. We can give you a better idea of what constitutes a medical malpractice lawsuit and what evidence you’ll need to prevail in court.
Statute of Limitations
The first factor to consider is whether you have passed the deadline to file your claim. This deadline is known as the “statute of limitations.” In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is generally two years from the date you discover the malpractice, with some important exceptions that can change the duration. For an injury caused by a healthcare provider, it is essential to bring your potential case to us as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss the deadline and to give us enough time to gather the facts surrounding the incident.
Burden of Proof
It is important to understand that you, as the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, must establish all four elements of negligence with evidence to show that medical malpractice occurred. This means the healthcare provider does not need to disprove the elements; proving the elements is the responsibility of your attorney. This can be difficult—especially proving the standard of care—so it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who knows what qualifies as medical malpractice in Florida.
Expertise and Experience with Medical Malpractice
At James Horne Law PA, we have the expertise and experience to secure medical malpractice settlements and lawsuit victories for injuries you have suffered. James “Jay” Horne has obtained six- and seven-figure awards for medical malpractice clients. Jay also stresses client service and promises prompt communication. Please contact us to discuss your medical situation and whether it may constitute medical malpractice in Florida.