It's not uncommon for Floridians who have experienced a bad medical outcome and particularly the death of a loved one to consider a medical malpractice suit if they believe that a medical professional was negligent or made an error. However, not all medical mistakes and cases of negligence meet the requirements needed to file a medical malpractice claim.
There are four elements that must be present to support a medical malpractice claim. Your attorney must be able to prove all of them for the case to succeed.
- Breach: The doctor or other medical professional must have provided less than appropriate and reasonable care. This is considered the "standard of care" that patients have a right to expect from health care providers.
- Causation: That breach of that standard must have caused or contributed to a patient's injury or death. For example, if a doctor makes an error but it is caught immediately by someone else and the patient suffers no harm as a result, there are no grounds for a malpractice claim.
- Damages: The actions must have caused some type of harm to the patient. If a mistake was made, but the patient was no worse off for it, there are no damages under the law.
- Duty: This gets back to standard of care. Each health care professional has a duty to provide appropriate and reasonable care to all patients.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered as a result of health care provider's medical malpractice, it's advisable to consult with a Miami medical malpractice lawyer. He or she can determine, based on the facts of the case, whether the necessary elements of a malpractice case have been met. Even if you find out that you have no case, it can help bring closure and possibly assuage some feelings of guilt for a family to know that a loved one did not die as the result of medical malpractice.
Source: Florida Healthcare Law Blog, "What are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim?," accessed May. 05, 2015