Florida Medical Malpractice Laws

States may differ in how they interpret standards of care in relation to medical malpractice or negligence, which is why patients in Florida should be aware about how this matter is defined under Florida medical malpractice laws.

In Florida, the standard of care is the level of treatment given to the patient based on the patient’s condition, according to what is acceptable and reasonable by healthcare providers in the same field, with the same skills and experience, and in similar situations.

If you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice in Florida, be sure to contact the Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo. Read on to know how to successfully file a claim.

Malpractice Under Florida Law

Patients who wish to file malpractice claims can do so under Chapter 766 of the Florida State Code. If it is found that malpractice or negligence resulted in injury, the medical health practitioner can be liable for economic, non-economic, or punitive damages.

Any healthcare provider is liable for medical malpractice or negligence. Under the law, healthcare or medical care providers are licensed individuals or entities that provide medical and health services to patients. This category includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clinics, dentists, and medical groups, among others.

Common Allegations of Medical Malpractice

The most common allegations of medical malpractice in Florida include the following:

  • Wrongful death
  • Failure to treat
  • Incorrect treatment
  • Negligence that resulted in injury
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Harm or injury occurring to an infant during childbirth

Elements of a Malpractice Suit in Florida

Before a successful medical malpractice claim can be made, any allegation must be accompanied by the following information:

  • Compliance with pre-suit notification
  • Expert testimony of a medical witness
  • Comparative negligence
  • Compliance with the statute of limitations
  • Degrees of liability

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal principle where the liability of a negligent provider or damages due to a patient are reduced according to the percentage of fault that can be attributed to the claimant.

This usually applies when a patient or claimant ignored doctor’s advice or neglected to take prescribed medications, which contributed to his or her injury. In cases like this, the claiming patient can be found liable under a counterclaim of comparative negligence.

Statute of Limitations

Florida laws state that victims have two years from the date they gain knowledge that an injury occurred as a result of malpractice or negligence to file a malpractice claim.

Medical workers are also covered under the statute of repose, where they can no longer be sued for medical malpractice when the suit is filed more than four years after the incident in question, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Other exceptions include instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and concealment done by or on behalf of the healthcare personnel involved.

Damages and Compensation

Successful claims make injured patients eligible for damages or the compensation due to an injured patient to cover medical costs, lost wages due to missed work, and the pain and suffering brought by the injuries suffered.

Damages are determined by the court, although injured patients are also expected to relay to the court how much compensation they want to obtain, as long as these are within the state-mandated caps on non-economic damages.

In Florida, the cap for non-economic compensation is $1,000,000. Punitive damages, which are damages meted out to punish the wrong done, are also limited to cases where the claimant is able to prove that the injury suffered resulted from a clear intent to cause harm.

How Long to Resolve a Malpractice Case?

Periods vary depending on the specifics of each case. However, most lawyers agree that malpractice suits take a long time to be resolved, and they are often expensive. The participation of legal and medical witnesses is often crucial, and other parties, such as insurance companies, may also be involved. Therefore, most cases that eventually go to trial take months and even years to resolve.

Should You Hire a Malpractice Lawyer?

Working with a lawyer in West Palm Beach experienced with medical malpractice claims gives you the best chance for filing a successful claim. Your lawyer can ensure that your claims are made within the regulatory periods, and that all essential elements are complied with to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.