All medical professionals in the State of Florida—whether they are doctors, dentists, nurses, or other hospital staff—have the obligation to practice their craft with a certain level of skill. When they fail in this obligation, and a patient is injured or becomes ill as a result, that patient has the right to file a medical malpractice claim.
While a medical malpractice claim essentially alleges that a medical professional was negligent, in practice this type of lawsuit is always more complicated than a typical personal injury claim. Plaintiffs in these cases must work with a medical expert who can give scientific reasoning for why the injuries that they suffered were due to medical malpractice.
A Tampa medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you accomplish this. With help from a qualified attorney, you could effectively evaluate the actions of medical professionals, compare those actions to the standards provided by Florida law, and pursue negligent practitioners for appropriate compensation.
How Courts in Tampa Define Malpractice
Plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims have the responsibility of proving that the care provided by their doctor fell below the prevailing standard of care. Florida Statutes §766.102 defines the prevailing standard of care as that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.
In simpler terms, the standard of care is how a competent medical provider would be expected to perform under similar circumstances. As such, medical malpractice suits must evaluate every aspect of the scenario that resulted in injury, including:
- The patient’s overall health at the time of the procedure
- If the care was provided on an emergency basis
- The facilities available to the doctor
- Established medical science on the procedure
- Factors that were out of control of the practitioner that may have led to the injury
If a plaintiff is able to prove that the care they received violated this standard, the medical provider may be required to provide compensation. A Tampa medical malpractice lawyer could be a valuable ally in this regard, as their experience and potential connections with local medical experts could help reinforce such a claim.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Florida
One major barrier to filing a medical malpractice claim in Florida is the requirement to work with an expert. Many other states only require this expert to testify at trial as to how the defendant doctor’s actions violated the standard of care. For Tampa medical malpractice cases, though, Fla. Stat. §766.104 states that the mere filing of a complaint in court requires the plaintiff’s attorney to submit a statement that the complaint is filed in good faith.
This can be accomplished by providing an expert witness affidavit. This affidavit must contain a statement affirming that the expert has reviewed the case and believes there is good faith cause to believe that malpractice did occur. Once the complaint is filed in court, the two parties must meet for a mandatory mediation session within 120 days that is designed to bring a quick end to the claim. Only once this session fails would the case be heard by a jury.
It should also be noted that there is a strict time limit within which a plaintiff must file their case in court. According to Fla. Stat. §95.11(4)(b), Tampa medical malpractice lawyer must file their clients’ cases in court within two years of the alleged malpractice. This is significantly shorter than the statute of limitations for ordinary personal injury cases, so plaintiffs usually must act quickly to protect their rights.
Make Sure to Call a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Filing a medical malpractice claim should never be done lightly, as Florida law strictly controls how these cases must be filed and pursued. In addition, these claims mandate the testimony of expert witnesses and involve complex scientific evidence.
A seasoned Tampa medical malpractice lawyer should possess the knowledge and connections in the medical community to help you pursue your case effectively. After meeting with you to hear about your experiences, they could work to gather evidence that malpractice took place and consult with experts who are willing to testify on your behalf.
A medical mistake does not mean that you must accept the consequences. Instead, let a Tampa medical malpractice attorney help you pursue negligent doctors and hospitals for their negligence. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.