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How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Florida: Establishing Negligence and Causation 

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To collect damages for losses and injuries caused by medical malpractice, an injured party must show that the negligent actions of a doctor or hospital failed to meet the normal standard of care and that this negligence was directly responsible for harm to the patient. 

While it may seem apparent to an injured patient and their family that healthcare practitioners made serious mistakes in their treatment or surgery, a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit is rarely that straightforward. That’s why an injured patient needs the advocacy of an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer to establish the negligence and causation that justifies a significant damages award.  

How Can an Injured Patient Prove the Applicable Standard of Care? 

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The patient’s medical injury attorney will use all available facts and evidence to show a direct caregiver relationship between the injured patient and the doctor or medical facility that is alleged to have committed medical malpractice. The existence of that relationship establishes the doctor’s or facility’s unqualified obligation to provide care according to prevailing medical community standards.  

In complex malpractice cases where medical standards are at issue, the patient’s attorney will often elicit testimony and affidavits from experts who have experience in the medical field or specialty that is at issue in the lawsuit. These experts will testify as to the normal, reasonable procedures that a typical doctor would follow in a given case and highlight the ways in which the defendant’s actions fell short of this established standard. 

How Can an Injured Patient Prove a Breach of the Applicable Standard of Care? 

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Hospitals and physicians maintain copious records of their care and treatment of patients. Florida medical malpractice attorneys use those records and testimony from both direct and expert witnesses to prove, for example, that: 

  • A doctor failed to diagnose an illness or condition that was apparent from the patient’s symptoms or test results 
  • A surgeon performed an operation incorrectly or incompetently 
  • A physician failed to fully disclose known risks associated with treatments 
  • A hospital did not monitor a patient adequately, or conditions in a care facility exacerbated an illness or injury 
  • Caregivers gave a patient the wrong or incorrect dose of prescribed medication. 

If questions exist over appropriate diagnoses or treatments for an illness or injury, expert testimony will be necessary to determine whether a doctor or hospital provided appropriate care under the facts and circumstances of the case.  

How Can an Injured Patient Show Causation in a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? 

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To recover medical malpractice compensation for a patient’s injuries, the patient must not only show that a physician or hospital committed a medical error, but also that the error was the direct and proximate cause of the patient’s losses. Causation may be an issue, for example, where a patient has been diagnosed with multiple health conditions and there is a question over whether a medical error or one of the patient’s other pre-existing conditions catalyzed the resulting injury or illness. 

Florida also applies comparative negligence standards to medical malpractice cases. In practice, this means that a patient’s conduct will also be reviewed to determine if the patient partially caused the illness or injury associated with a medical error.  

A patient may be partially at fault for his or her injury or illness if the patient: 

  • Did not take prescribed medications or failed to receive recommended follow-up treatment 
  • Withheld vital information from a treating physician 
  • Used substances or participated in activities that made an illness or injury worse 
  • Delayed seeking treatment for a condition until well after symptoms arose. 

What Else Should a Patient Know About Proving Negligence in a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? 

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Your lawyer will need to procure an affidavit from a medical expert to verify the validity of your claim before he or she files your lawsuit. Your lawsuit will be dismissed if it is not supported by an appropriate affidavit.  

Further, you need to file your case within two years of when the medical malpractice error occurred, or when you first discovered that your injury was the result of malpractice. 

The sooner you contact an attorney, the easier it will be to gather the evidence needed to build a strong case demonstrating that a physician’s or hospital’s carelessness was responsible for your injury or illness.    

Contact Kogan & DiSalvo to Consult with a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer 

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Kogan & DiSalvo offers free assessments of medical malpractice claims and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for patients whose lives have been affected by egregious medical errors

Please reach out at your earliest opportunity to schedule a confidential and complimentary consultation.  

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