Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers an injury due to a lack of proper care by a medical provider. In order to file a lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, or another healthcare provider there are specific criteria that must be met that give the case validity.
In Florida, a plaintiff must be able to establish all of the following elements in order to substantiate their medical malpractice claim:
The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
A doctor-patient relationship is proven by the agreement of treatment received. This is important to document as the relationship serves as proof that the medical professional had a legal obligation to provide the patient with a specific standard of care. If you receive regular care from the same doctor, there should be considerable paperwork that demonstrates that relationship. However, not all cases are as straightforward. There is shared consent, meaning a doctor can refuse to treat a patient if there is no existing medical history between them. To better understand if your situation demonstrates a binding doctor-patient relationship, contact a medical malpractice attorney.
A duty to the patient or a standard of care was established
A duty or standard of care is the legal obligation held by a practitioner to provide a reasonable level of care to a patient. This helps hold healthcare professionals responsible for providing the same standards across similar medical situations.
The duty of care was breached or not met
Breaching the duty of care means that the doctor or healthcare professional did not meet the obligations that would be generally expected in any given situation. This can include misdiagnosis, incorrect surgery, or incorrect medication among many other possibilities.
The breach of care was the primary cause of injury
Committing a breach of care cannot alone prove medical malpractice. The plaintiff must also prove that the breach committed by their doctor directly caused the injury. Medical records, chart notes, and eyewitness testimony can be used as evidence.
The injury caused damages
The final element the plaintiff must demonstrate is that the injury sustained by the malpractice was significant and required additional medical treatment, such as surgery, caused measurable pain and suffering, or resulted in death. Damages, or the harm caused to one’s body, are monetized in reparations to the plaintiff following a settlement or verdict.
If you suspect that an injury or illness you sustained is the result of medical malpractice you should seek counsel from an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately. Working with an attorney will provide you with the best information and guidance to make sure all pre-lawsuit requirements are met, all necessary evidence is collected, and help you effectively build your case.
Ted Babbitt has decades of experience fighting on behalf of patients harmed by the careless acts of medical professionals. He will listen to your needs, assess your case, and help you on your path to recovery. Contact the offices of Ted Babbitt today to schedule a free consultation.