Negligence Or Medical Malpractice: Florida Supreme Court Discerns A Difference
The Florida Supreme Court had a task to determine when a personal injury that arises due to providing or failure to provide medical care or service can be classified as “negligence” rather than “medical malpractice.”
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June 2, 2018

“Do I have legal grounds to sue the health provider for medical malpractice or should my personal injury case be classified as negligence?” is the question medical malpractice lawyers, juries, and judges in Florida and all across the U.S. have struggled with for ages.

Finally, the Florida Supreme Court has offered clarity on the matter, providing guidance on how this determination should be made before bringing a claim or lawsuit.

Vague distinction between medical malpractice and negligence

“Previously, in order to sue a healthcare provider for medical malpractice in Florida, the injured party (plaintiff) could bring a claim against any medical professional and would have to secure an affidavit from an independent qualified medical professional attesting to the negligent doctor’s failure to abide by the standards of care,” explains our Cooper City medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Bradley Hartman.

However, there have been way too many cases when medical malpractice was classified as negligence even though the plaintiffs safeguarded their claims with an affidavit from a qualified medical professional. Needless to say, a medical malpractice lawsuit can bring a much bigger financial compensation to the injured party as opposed to a negligence-based personal injury suit.

After years of conflicting verdicts and settlements in Cooper City and all across Florida, the Florida Supreme Court has finally discerned a difference between negligence and medical malpractice.

Negligence or medical malpractice: how to determine?

The Florida Supreme Court had a task to determine when a personal injury that arises due to providing or failure to provide medical care or service can be classified as “negligence” rather than “medical malpractice.”

Our best medical malpractice lawyers in Florida have reviewed the case of National Deaf Academy, LLC v. Townes, and here is what the Supreme Court had to say about this.

According to the lawsuit, a patient was injured during a restraint, which, the court held, could have been performed by any member of the hospital staff and was part of the healthcare plan for that particular patient. The patient was injured when a registered nurse performed the restraint. The Supreme Court held that just because the restraint was performed by a nurse did not automatically turn this case into a medical malpractice claim.

Even though the patient was injured as a direct result of medical care, which required the rendering medical professional to adhere to the highest standards of care and use professional judgment, the key element in determining whether the negligent act constituted medical malpractice was to determine whether the act required expert testimony from a qualified medical professional.

Expert testimony in medical malpractice cases

Expert testimony in medical malpractice cases is required when jurors cannot independently determine whether or not the actions or failure to act on the part of a physician, doctor, nurse, surgeon or any other medical professional constituted a breach of standards of care.

Furthermore, expert testimony is mandatory when (a) the actions or lack of action arose out of medical care, diagnosis, or treatment, and (b) these medical services were rendered by a medical professional.

“In other words,” our Cooper City medical malpractice attorney explains, “Just because a negligent act or omission to act occurs in a medical setting does not necessarily turn your claim into a medical malpractice case.”

It is vital to let an experienced legal practitioner determine whether your particular case amounts to medical malpractice or negligence. If medical malpractice was involved, you can recover a much bigger monetary compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley Hartman for a free case evaluation. Call at 954-438-1000 or complete this contact form.

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