Proving Medical Malpractice in Florida
It is a rare person that looks forward to visiting the doctor; rather, many people avoid going to the doctor until something is significantly wrong in order to get some relief. Given all the time and training necessary to become a licensed doctor in the U.S., the rest of us are left to rely on their expertise in diagnosing and treating our ailments. Most people get the treatment they need, and go on their way without issue, but some are left in a worse state than when they arrived at the doctor’s office and start to contemplate filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover for their injuries. Because medicine itself is a complex subject, any claim of negligent care will also be complex to prove. A recent article in the Daily Business Review discusses a medical malpractice case filed against a doctor and midwife in 2004 that finally went to trial at the start of this year. A couple alleged that the midwife improperly delivered their daughter, which led to permanent disability and deformity on the right side of her body. They claimed the doctor’s lack of supervision led to the negligent care. The jury ruled in their favor, in part due to the testimony of the now 14-year-old victim. Florida also has a very complex, time-consuming, and costly process to bring a medical malpractice suit. This is does not mean you should not pursue your claim, but knowing what a plaintiff must prove to be successful may help you better prepare for the road ahead.
Standard of Care
Florida law requires that every plaintiff in a medical malpractice prove that the doctor breached the existing professional standard of care owed to the patient. This standard of care obligates the doctor to act with the level of care, treatment, and skill that other doctors with similar skills would deem acceptable and appropriate in the situation. The plaintiff must prove the breach by showing, through the presentation of evidence, that the likelihood the doctor acted negligently is greater than the probability that he/she did not. To prove this breach, it will be necessary to obtain expert testimony and reports from medical experts who conclude that the doctor in question did not act within the bounds of the professional standard of care with the type of treatment administered in this case. This evidence is crucial to winning a medical malpractice case, but it is time consuming and expensive to gather. Further, the other side will present their own experts to argue the doctor’s care was appropriate, so choosing the right expert to explain your side of the story to jury is one of the most important aspects to any malpractice case.
Did the Doctor Cause the Harm?
Even if you show that doctor breached the standard of care, you still have to prove the breach caused you harm. In other words, the doctor’s treatment must have left you in a worse position than when you first sought medical intervention. Thus, the key is to demonstrate the harm the patient received was not due to an underlying medical condition or action by the patient but solely attributable to the doctor’s substandard care.
Finally, all plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases must show what measure of damages they suffered as a result of the harm suffered. This includes things like lost wages, additional medical expenses, and pain and suffering, and the determination of these can be aided with a skilled lawyer.
Get Legal Advice
If you suffered harm at the hands of your doctor, that person should be held accountable if it is possible under the law. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado handles all types of medical malpractice claims and has the experience necessary to evaluate the strength of your case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.