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Do I Need a Certificate of Merit for Heart Attack Medical Malpractice in Florida?


The majority of health care providers will be diligent in diagnosing and treating acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but there are some that make critical errors when you present with symptoms of heart attack. If a medical mistake caused you harm under such circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Though they are a type of personal injury case, these matters proceed very differently under Florida’s statute on medical malpractice. The procedural rules are strict, and your case could be dismissed if you’re not in full compliance.

One requirement under the law is that you provide a document signed by a qualified medical professional, which your Florida medical malpractice lawyer will arrange. As a practical matter, you might want to know what’s involved.

Florida’s Statute on Pre-Suit Investigations: Even before you file a cause of action for mistakes in treating heart attack, your attorney is required to conduct a reasonable investigation into the claims of medical malpractice. He or she must have a good faith belief, based upon various factors, of negligence by a health care provider. There are various methods of complying with the statute, but the law provides that you’ll meet the reasonable investigation standard by obtaining a written opinion from a medical professional. This document is often termed a “Certificate of Merit.”

The point of this statutory requirement is to avoid frivolous lawsuits being filed by patients and legal professionals who don’t grasp the complicated, highly technical medical concepts. A health care provider does have the knowledge to spot an alleged error and determine whether a doctor’s conduct deviates from the applicable standard of care when treating you for a heart attack. 

Requirements of the Certificate of Merit: The law imposes certain rules regarding the written opinion, such as: 

  • It must demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds for bringing the lawsuit, which generally means that there was negligence that resulted in injury to the patient.
  • The medical professional who drafts and signs the Certificate of Merit must qualify as an expert under the definitions section of Florida’s medical malpractice law. The language requires the health care provider to be in the same specialty area as the physician you allege made mistakes in treating your heart attack. Examples might be a cardiologist, emergency doctor, interventional cardiologist, internist, or others.
  • The Certificate of Merit must be attached to the lawsuit when you – through your attorney – file it with the court. If it’s not included, your claim may be dismissed and you could recover nothing.

Call Now to Speak to a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney 

The written opinion from a medical professional is just of any components of a medical malpractice case. Other elements of your claim are equally – or more – complicated. When you’re recovering from a heart attack, you need legal counsel you can trust to take on such challenges. At Freidin Brown, P.A., our Miami medical malpractice attorneys are prepared to take on the legal burdens, enabling you to focus on the healing process. Please contact our Miami or Fort Myers, FL offices today to set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer.


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