Gathering Evidence To Support A Florida Medical Malpractice Claim
Though the majority of Florida health care providers adhere to their duty to deliver treatment in accordance with applicable medical standards, there are some who fall short. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to medical negligence, you may be able to pursue legal remedies through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under Florida’s medical negligence statute, you must prove that a health care provider’s actions departed from the prevailing standard of care. The standard is measured by the level of care, skill, and training that would be considered appropriate by medical professionals under similar circumstances.
Therefore, evidence is essential for showing both what the standard of care is and how the health care provider deviated from it. Medical experts are a useful resource for your Miami medical malpractice lawyer, but proving your claim starts with medical records. To better understand how evidence works, you can review basics on the role of this information and how to gather it.
Medical Records to Support Med Mal Claims
“Medical records” is an all-encompassing term used to describe any documentation generated by health care providers during a patient encounter. In terms of timing, records prior to the incident of medical negligence will be important for showing your state of health before you were injured. Documentation created by your treaters at the time of the error and pursuant to treatment for your injuries is also crucial. Essential medical records may include:
- Physician’s notes
- Lab screenings and test results
- Nurse progress notes
- Operative and post-operative reports
- Medical history
Requests by Personal Representatives
With certain medical malpractice cases, a patient’s representative must gather evidence on his or her behalf. For instance, if your minor child has suffered injuries, you may obtain medical records as a parent or guardian. When the patient completed a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, the person appointed as an agent may do so. In medical negligence cases leading to wrongful death, the executor of the decedent’s will or personal representative appointed by the court can access medical records.
Steps to Request Medical Records
Patients and their representatives are entitled to access and make copies of all medical records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, health care facilities have policies in place for seeking documentation, and the process typically involves completing certain forms.
In your request for release of medical records, you will usually be required to supply your name, Social Security number, contact information, and a description of the paperwork you want to access. It may take the hospital, clinic, or other provider some time to assemble the documents. Note that there may be a fee for accessing copies of your records, but there are limits on these charges under Florida law.
Our Florida Med Mal Attorneys Will Assist with Collecting Evidence
Though it is helpful to grasp the basics on gathering evidence for a med mal claim, you can rely on our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. to handle the details. For more information on your rights and remedies, please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to set up a free consultation. Once we review your circumstances, we can explain the relevant laws.