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When a Physician Error is NOT Medical Malpractice


Many people assume that any type of medical mistake is grounds for a medical malpractice claim or, more specifically, that it is enough to show that a physician did not exercise reasonable care in providing treatment. Much of the confusion comes from the fact that med mal cases are a subset of personal injury claims, which are usually based upon negligence. However, not all medical errors give rise to legal liability. In the interests of protecting the integrity of the practice of medicine and to avoid frivolous lawsuits, Florida lawmakers narrowly define what constitutes medical malpractice.

For this reason, it is important to have an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer review your circumstances to determine whether you have a valid claim. Some important information can help you understand when and why an act is NOT grounds for a med mal lawsuit.

Basis for Medical Malpractice Claims: The legal details are complicated, but you should be somewhat familiar with Florida’s statutory definition of medical malpractice. Generally, you need to show that the actions of your physician are a breach of what is considered an appropriate standard of care. The prevailing standard for a health care provider is measured by the level of skill and decision making treatment that a reasonably prudent hypothetical doctor would have applied, and what is acceptable in the relevant practice area. The assessment also requires consideration of the circumstances that were present in your own case.

Acts That Do NOT constitute Medical Malpractice: With the above definition in mind, the following conduct will probably not rise to the level of medical negligence:

  • Worst Case Scenario with Medical Risks: If you consented to a particular treatment after your doctor provided you with a detailed description of all inherent risks and complications, you likely will not have a claim when the worst case scenario comes to fruition.
  • Harmless Errors: In some situations, your physician may make a mistake in diagnosis or treatment, but the end result does not cause physical, emotional, or other injury. You do not suffer any losses because of a harmless error, so you probably will not be able to sustain a med mal case.
  • General Negligence: At times, health care providers can engage in negligent acts that have nothing to do with treatment, diagnosis, or other types of care. For instance, you were consulting with your doctor and he or she spilled hot coffee on your leg, causing a burn. This act may be general negligence, but it is not a situation of medical malpractice.

Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Review Your Case

From this description, you can see that there are many different mistakes a healthcare provider can make, but far fewer are actionable. To learn more about whether you have a valid case, please contact the Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation at our offices. Our team has years of experience fighting on behalf of patients, so we can explain what is and is not medical malpractice. 


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