Four Elements Of A Florida Medical Malpractice Case
Though every US state has enacted laws covering medical malpractice claims and the legal process, there are subtle differences among the jurisdictions. Under Florida’s medical malpractice statute, a patient who suffered harm has the burden of proving that a health care provider was negligent in delivering treatment. The law requires proof by the “greater weight of the evidence,” which generally means that the allegations are more likely true than not. Common forms of medical negligence include diagnosis errors, birth injuries, surgical mistakes, and many others.
However, negligence has a precise definition in the practice of law and a very specific application in med mal cases. To recover compensation, you must establish the essential elements of your claim. Evidence is crucial, so it is wise to trust a Miami medical malpractice attorney for assistance with gathering proof. You may also benefit from reviewing the four essential elements in a med mal action.
- Duty: A medical malpractice claim depends upon the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, at which point the duty of a healthcare provider attaches. A physician is required to provide care in similar fashion to what another practitioner with the same level of skills and training would offer, under the same or similar circumstances. This element is usually the easiest to prove, since anyone who performs medical services has a duty of care to you.
- Breach of the Standard of Care: This second element is often the most difficult to prove, because it is necessary to assess what your own provider did and how this compares to the hypothetical physician. You need evidence showing how your doctor deviated from what another practitioner would have done. Examples include your medical records showing diagnosis, treatment, your medical history, and other factors. Medical experts are also useful in establishing breach of the standard of care.
- Harm to the Patient: Not all medical errors or forms of negligence actually manifest in injuries to the patient. If you did not suffer harm, there are no losses for which you should be compensated. However, the definition of “harm” is rather expansive to encompass a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional implications.
- Causation: The final element requires you to prove that the physician’s negligent acts were the direct cause of your injuries, such that you would not have suffered harm but for the misconduct. Doctors often defend med mal claims on this basis by saying that there were other intervening causes and contributing factors. Causation is an especially challenging element in misdiagnosis cases.
A Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Will Assist with Proof
Proving each of these elements requires solid evidence, so trust our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. to thoroughly investigate. We take advantage of all forms of proof to ensure you receive fair compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL today to set up a free consultation. A med mal attorney can advise you after reviewing your case.