Requirements for Medical Experts in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases
Expert testimony is crucial in almost all Florida medical malpractice claims because of the complexity of the subject matter. Experts generally apply their backgrounds and knowledge to the relevant facts in such a case. As a result of their input, it’s easier for an insurance company, members of the jury, and others to understand how a health care provider was negligent in practicing medicine. Plus, your Miami medical error attorney will probably work closely with medical experts as consultants.
Florida law contains the specifics regarding the requirements for an expert witness in a medical negligence case, since these professionals are necessary at different stages of litigation. You might find it useful to review a summary of the statutory requisites, as well as the role these professionals play in your case.
The Purpose of Expert Testimony: There’s a wealth of complicated concepts and technical terminology involved with the practice of medicine. At the same time, the people who will be making a decision in a medical malpractice claim don’t have a background in health care. Medical experts participate in your case by filling the gaps with respect to three important issues:
- Providing a description of what the relevant standard of care would be under the circumstances
- Explaining how your health care provider deviated from the standard of care when treating you
- Establishing a link between the failure to provide proper care and the injuries you sustained.
The standard of care refers to how another qualified doctor would have treated you if he or she was in the same situation as your own physician.
Investigation and Affidavit: Under Florida law, your attorney is required to conduct an investigation into the relevant issues in your medical malpractice case. The point is to protect against frivolous litigation by ensuring there are reasonable grounds to pursue a claim. A med mal lawyer can meet this standard by providing a sworn statement from a medical expert, stating that it is his or her opinion that there is a credible cause of action. This affidavit must be presented before filing a lawsuit, through a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation.
Requirements for Medical Experts: The statute is very specific on the qualifications for an expert to participate in a medical malpractice case. Beyond the obvious – having a medical license – physicians can only offer input on the standard of reasonable care if they’ve practiced medicine for 3-5 years immediately preceding the alleged act of malpractice. An expert may meet this requirement by:
- Engaging in clinical practice
- Instructing students at an accredited medical school
- Participating in a qualifying clinical research program
In addition, the expert must practice in the same specialty area of medicine as the physician who treated you.
Reach Out to Our Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
If you suffered bodily harm because of medical malpractice, the attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. are prepared to handle the legal process on your behalf – including retention and consultation with expert witnesses. We pride ourselves on being able to find the most highly qualified experts who are right for your specific case. Please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to schedule a no-cost case evaluation today. We can provide more information on your rights and remedies after we review your specific circumstances.