Being a health care provider is surely one of the most deservingly respected professional pursuits. It requires a tremendous commitment to help others, coupled with many years of education and training. Even with all that – even with the best physicians, and with the best of intentions – bad outcomes can occur. Unfortunately, just when you are already so vulnerable from the fear of the medical procedures you’re undergoing, or otherwise already sick, it can be absolutely devastating to be seriously injured at the hands of your own trusted doctor or hospital. When it does occur, medical negligence can result in the most devastating injuries and losses a person or family can experience.
And it can be very delicate to bring and complicated to sort it all out. According to Florida law, in order to prevail in a medical malpractice case the alleged victim bears the burden of establishing, by the greater weight of the evidence that the actions and/or inactions of the accused health care professional presented a breach of the prevailing standard of care, which is otherwise recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent, similar health care professionals.
And not every bad outcome or occurrence is actionable. The fact that an injury did occur does not raise a presumption of negligence. It is up to the victim through her or his skilled medical malpractice lawyers and their experts to establish that the accused health care professional, breach of the prevailing standard of care. Interestingly, the law does allow a presumption that if a foreign object is discovered inside the victim after a surgery or diagnostic procedure, or examination, that finding shall be considered prima facia (a fact presumed to be true unless it is disproved) evidence of negligence.
In Florida, in order to establish that a health care professional is guilty of medical/malpractice negligence, testimony must be offered by an expert from the same specialty and that the expert has been active in the same area of practice for the proceeding 3 years before giving his or her opinion; or is affiliated with an accredited university; or is involved in a clinical research program in the same or similar specialty.
If the accused health care provider was a general practitioner the standards vary and the expert must have devoted the proceeding 5 years to the active practice, teaching or a clinical research program.
Florida law requires that prior to filing a lawsuit for medical negligence the victim must not only complete a pre-suit investigation, but must provide pre-suit notice within 2 years after the alleged occurrence. Once notice is provided, a lawsuit cannot be filed for an additional 90 days, during which time an insurer for the prospective defendant can conduct its investigation as to those allegations. Thereafter, the prospective defendant (typically through her or his insurer), has the options of either refusing the claim, making an offer to settle, or making an offer to arbitrate on damages only, while admitting liability.
During the pre-suit investigative period informal discovery can take place, in which documents can be requested from either party, unsworn statements can be taken from either party (which cannot be used at trial), and physical and mental examinations can be required.
Obviously, there is a significant body of law that governs malpractice case and one cannot arbitrarily begin to undertake cases of such magnitude and responsibility without significant wherewithal, knowledge and expertise. We at the Schulman Law Group have the ability to evaluate any allegations of significant wrongdoing; as well possess the resources to bring matters of this magnitude to a just and appropriate compensation.
Cases of this nature are extremely difficult and expensive to prosecute and quite frankly, will only be undertaken if we have a very reasonable degree of confidence that it is in the prospective client’s best interests to do so.
Therefore, if you are serious about having a matter appropriately considered to determine what is in your own or your loved one’s best interest, feel free to contact us at any time for an evaluation of your circumstances.
Also feel free to contact us to learn about some of our remarkable prior results.