Do I Need a Medical Expert to Prove a Medical Malpractice Case in Florida?
In short, the answer to whether you need a medical expert for a medical malpractice claim is YES. As with any personal injury matter, evidence is necessary to establish your right to compensation. When that evidence is extremely complex and technical in nature – which is the case for medical subject matter – a professional resource is crucial for proving the essential elements. There is a rare exception when the circumstances make it obvious that a mistake occurred, such as where a surgeon leaves a sponge inside a patient. However, an expert is required in the vast majority of cases.
Still, though your Florida medical malpractice attorney will tackle the primary legal issues, you may benefit from understanding why an expert’s input is so important. An overview can point out the key reasons.
Legal Requirement for a Medical Expert: Almost all medical malpractice lawsuits require input from a qualified health care provider because Florida law requires reasonable investigation before filing. Specifically, the law states that there must be a “good faith” belief that there has been some negligent act when you received care or treatment. Your attorney will meet this good faith requirement by submitting a written opinion of a medical expert that negligence occurred.
The point of the statute is to prevent the filing of frivolous med mal lawsuits, which are expensive and consume the court’s time on an already-busy docket. However, it’s tough for a judge to tell whether a case is baseless due to the technical nature of the subject matter. The medical expert’s written opinion regarding the presence of negligence enables your case to proceed.
Strategic Requirements for a Medical Expert’s Input: From the perspective of developing a strong, credible case for medical malpractice, an expert can support your lawyer by helping answer two key questions:
- Did the health care provider follow the relevant standard of care? To establish your right to compensation for medical malpractice, you need to show that your doctor deviated from what another physician would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
- Did a departure from the standard of care directly cause harm to the patient? Once you get over the hurdle of #1 above, you still need to prove that the deviation from this standard was the reason you suffered harm. There are often many different issues involved with a medical situation, any of which may have been a cause or contributing factor. A medical expert can answer this question to show that your health care provider’s mistake was the reason behind your injuries.
Consult with a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer About the Legal Process
At Freidin Brown, P.A., our Miami medical malpractice lawyers frequently work with highly qualified medical experts in fighting for the rights of our clients. We rely on them for support during our investigations, consult with them throughout the process, and often call physicians to testify on your behalf. To learn more about our legal services in the area of medical malpractice, please contact our offices. We’re happy to schedule a free case evaluation regarding your claim.