Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuits – Complete Guide for Victims and Families

Hospital mistakes, doctor errors, wrong drug doses, faulty surgeries. Tragically, preventable medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., causing over 2,740 severe injuries and around 700 deaths every single day.

Florida residents visit hospitals and clinics every day to receive routine treatments and get better. Many of them leave with permanent paralysis, brain injuries and a life forever altered.

That is not to say that ALL healthcare providers are horrible. Many of them are dedicated and caring practitioners.

But in this age of modern medicine and “managed care” it can frequently be difficult for patients to locate and get treatment from competent doctors, nurses and hospitals in their communities. Too often a patient’s care is dictated by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and uncaring medical conglomerates. Too often healthcare is driven by the dollar and administered in a factory-line mentality by hurried practitioners who never take the time to truly listen to or genuinely care about their patient.

If you are reading this post, you probably feel that you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice. You are probably looking for answers and help. I’ve been there myself. I know what you’re going through.

My mother and I both know how it feels to be betrayed by the ever-trusted healthcare system.

My own father died in a hospital he trusted (and where, at one time, he had been the hospital chaplain), as a result of medical malpractice. He went in for minor knee surgery and died a sudden and violent death three days later from a massive pulmonary embolism as a result of a communication failure between the doctors and nurses concerning his medication.

And while financial compensation for medical malpractice can be incredibly helpful in recovering from these tragic errors – paying for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering for years – you can bet that Florida hospitals, insurance companies and negligent doctors with deep pockets pull out all stops to defend themselves from medical malpractice claims. They even cover their tracks in medical records as they work.

In my father’s case, the hospital tried to cover up its mistakes and even tried to conceal crucial evidence from us, but in the end we were able to uncover what happened and the judge was so upset he levied sanctions against the hospital. Winning a medical negligence lawsuit in Florida is far from easy.

But it IS possible. In this post, I explain how you can gain access to renowned medical experts, powerful investigative resources and legal advocates specializing in medical malpractice – without paying a penny until you win your claim.

All Florida Hospitals Have a Duty to Perform the Required Standard of Care

Many wonder whether it is possible to win a medical malpractice case against a well-established practitioner working in a large, successful Florida hospital. Remember, no entity is too powerful to get out of paying for your injuries and losses. In 2016, Florida medical negligence payouts totaled over $248.9 million. You can win a medical negligence claim against even the most credible physicians working in the largest Florida hospitals.

ALERT: Many people are not aware that so-called “public” hospitals are protected by the law of “sovereign immunity” that places ridiculously low limits on how much money patients can recover against these hospitals, no matter how extreme their negligence or how bad the injury.

These hospitals are supported partially by taxpayer dollars yet they also receive millions and millions of dollars in private insurance money every day just like all other hospitals. There is no rational basis for the distinction in the way these “public” hospitals are protected, but patients should be forewarned that if they are mistreated or even killed in these facilities, their ability to obtain justice and hold wrongdoers accountable can be severely limited.

In South Florida, some of these hospitals are:

  • Broward Health Coral Springs
  • Broward Health Imperial Point (f/k/a Imperial Point Hospital)
  • Broward Health Medical Center (f/k/a Broward General Hospital)
  • Broward Health North
  • Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
  • Memorial Hospital Miramar
  • Memorial Hospital Pembroke
  • Memorial Hospital West
  • Memorial Regional Hospital (f/k/a Hollywood Memorial Hospital)
  • Memorial Regional Hospital South

Keep in mind that even if you or a loved one are injured or killed in a “public” hospital that is protected by sovereign immunity that many of these facilities still carry large insurance policies to cover their medical mistakes.

It is often possible to file a claims bill in the Florida Legislature and ultimately recover the full amount of damages awarded by a jury in a medical malpractice trial. This is an expensive and lengthy process, but it can be done provided you retain a law firm that has the expertise and political connections required to prevail in this arena.

Private hospitals are not protected by sovereign immunity, and there is no limit on the amount of money a patient can recover from these hospitals in Florida (even though some of them have misleading religious-themed names like “Sister Emmanuel Hospital” which is really owned and operated by HCA – the Hospital Corporation of America, or “St. Mary’s Hospital” which is really owned and operated by super-wealthy Tenet Healthcare).

Some of the major private hospitals here in the South Florida area (most of which are owned and controlled by out-of-state medical conglomerates), are:

  • Atlantic Shores Hospital owned by Universal Health Systems
  • Cleveland Clinic Florida owned by Cleveland Clinic
  • Florida Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Fort Lauderdale Hospital owned by Universal Health Systems
  • HealthSouth Sunrise Rehabilitation Hospital owned by HealthSouth Corporation
  • Holy Cross Hospital owned by Trinity Health Corporation
  • Kindred Hospital South Florida – Ft Lauderdale owned by Kindred Healthcare
  • Northwest Medical Center owned by HCA
  • Plantation General Hospital owned by HCA
  • University Hospital & Medical Center owned by HCA
  • University Pavilion Hospital owned by HCA
  • Westside Regional Hospital owned by HCA
  • Aventura Medical Center owned by HCA
  • Baptist Hospital of Miami owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • Coral Gables Hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Doctors Hospital owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center owned by HealthSouth Corporation
  • Hialeah Hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Homestead Hospital owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • Kendall Regional Medical Center owned by HCA
  • Kindred Hospital South Florida – Coral Gables – owned by Kindred Healthcare
  • Mercy Hospital – A Campus of Plantation General – owned by HCA
  • North Shore Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Palmetto General Hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Promise Hospital of Miami owned by Promise Healthcare
  • Sister Emmanuel Hospital owned by HCA
  • South Miami Hospital owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • West Kendall Baptist Hospital owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • Fisherman’s Community Hospital in the Florida Keys owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • Lower Keys Medical Center in the Florida Keys owned by Community Health Systems
  • Mariners Hospital in the Florida Keys owned by Baptist Health South Florida
  • Bethesda Hospital owned by Bethesda Health Inc
  • Delray Medical Center owned by Tenet Health Care
  • Fair Oaks Pavilion owned by Tenet Health Care
  • Good Samaritan Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • JFK Medical Center owned by HCA
  • Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Palms West Hospital owned by HCA
  • Pinecrest Rehab Hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare
  • Wellington Regional Medical Center owned by Universal Health Systems
  • West Boca Medical Center owned by Tenet Healthcare

Preventable Medical Mistakes: America’s Third Leading Cause of Death

Are you one of those types that loves to take risks? Do you like to skydive, bungee jump, free climb 100-foot cliffs?

Most of us are not huge risk takers, but if you have had any type of medical treatment in your life, you may be a bigger risk taker than you think. Medical negligence injures over 1 million Americans each year and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. – surpassed only by cancer and heart disease.

Average Cause of U.S. Deaths Per Year

Preventable medical errors claim the lives of an average of 251,454 people each year. That comes to nearly 10% of all U.S. deaths each year and 1 in every 140 hospitalizations. Every six months, U.S. hospitals kill more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam war, and these medical errors cost Americans around $1 trillion each year.

A simple hospital visit is much more dangerous than many activities we consider risky.

Florida Medical Negligence Causes Permanent Brain Damage, Paralysis, Disfigurement

In 2016, medical malpractice payouts surpassed $3.95 billion. A disturbing 30% of the claims involved wrongful death. Aside from the masses of wrongful deaths, the over 1 million Americans injured by medical negligence each year must pay medical bills while attempting to support themselves and their families, often with injuries like paralysis, brain damage or debilitating disfigurement. Major permanent injuries, i.e. physical or mental damage that restricts the patient’s employment and other activities for the rest of their life, made up 33% of medical malpractice claims in 2016. Patient’s whose injuries resulted in lifelong care, quadriplegia or brain damage made up a tragic 16% of claims.

Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice

Profits, Fatigue and Poor Communication Cause Hospital Mistakes and Doctor Errors

What is going on in our American hospitals? Why are these devastating mistakes happening at such an alarming rate?

Studies suggest that many errors occur during routine procedures, when doctors are hit with interruptions or distractions and understaffing leads to multitasking and fatigue. Doctor drug and alcohol abuse is reported in many malpractice claims.

Medical mistakes can also occur in problem-solving mode, in the interpretation of diagnostic laboratory results and planning a course of treatment. Errors in medical diagnosis and treatment can me made while trying to use a cookie-cutter approach to treatment in illnesses that vary with each individual patient. Incomplete knowledge, poor training or insufficient preparation for surgeries are also major causes of medical mistakes.

Faulty record-keeping policies and communication errors between Florida doctors and nurses and hospital administrators are also a major cause of dangerous hospital errors.

One nurse may assume the other gave a medication, so refrain from administering it. Or a nurse might give a drug that another nurse already administered five minutes before, doubling the dose.

Not surprisingly, money is another factor in the unacceptable rate of medical mistakes. Hospitals and surgical specialists urge patients to have risky, medically unnecessary treatment or surgeries simply to increase profits.

A few years ago, I had a case where a chiropractor persuaded a healthy man in his 30’s to undergo a $30,000 controversial and extremely risky chiropractic manipulation under anesthesia (MUA). In that case, a whistleblower nurse testified that she felt doctors ordered the procedure to make money for the surgical center, not out of medical necessity.

The State of Florida eventually shut down the facility, but, unfortunately, my client was deprived of oxygen during the procedure and, to this day, is in a persistent vegetative state.

Diagnostic Errors and Surgical Mistakes Make Up Majority of Negligence Claims

After 30 years of working with Florida medical malpractice claims, I’ve seen medical errors happen in every facet of medicine, from childbirth to dentistry.

Across all fields of medicine, diagnostic errors are a big issue, making up 31% of medical negligence lawsuits in 2016. Surgical errors (23%) and treatment errors (20%) fall close behind.

Sources of Medical Malpractice Claims

Failure to Diagnose

When you visit your physician with a set of symptoms or diagnostic test results, and that physician misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose the underlying cause of those symptoms or test results, they could be guilty of malpractice.

I have seen devastating cases involving failure to diagnose life-threatening infections, sepsis, heart attacks, transitory ischemic attacks (TIAs), ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, vital organ failure and cancer. Florida physicians or nurses may pass off chest pain, sudden anxiety, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or other symptoms as a simple common illness.

Had the health care workers made the proper diagnosis, unnecessary and dangerous treatments, surgeries, amputations, miscarriages, brain damage, further pain and suffering and, in some cases, death, could have been avoided.

Florida diagnostic testing technicians and radiologists can also be liable for malpractice if they conduct diagnostic tests incorrectly or make an error in interpreting laboratory test results or radiographs. Doctors rely on the ability of radiologists to interpret x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, PET scans, CT scans and other diagnostic tests.

When a radiologist is poorly trained and/or makes an error in performing the test or misinterprets test results, the doctor can miss a diagnosis – potentially leading to permanent injury or death. We also see many cases where the doctor diagnoses and provides treatment for an illness the patient never actually had, racking up years of medical bills and even causing permanent organ damage.

Surgery Malpractice

Malpractice during surgical procedures is common in Florida and can include outrageous mistakes like operating on the wrong patient or the wrong body part. Surgeons may accidentally sever nerves, arteries or the spinal cord. Nurses may leave tools or lap sponges inside the incision site. Negligent sterile technique can lead to internal infection and sepsis.

Misuse of equipment like ventilators and blood transfusion equipment can also lead to permanent injury or death.

Partial paralysis and/or temporary paralysis after surgery make up several Florida medical malpractice cases. When a surgeon acts carelessly and damages or severs nerves or tissue, patients can come out of surgery with hemiplegia, paraplegia or quadriplegia – either temporarily or permanently.

In addition, more and more Florida surgeons are turning to robotic surgery, robotic-assisted surgery, computer-assisted surgery and laser surgery techniques to help hasten healing and lessen the potential for accidents. Surgeons use the FDA-approved Da Vinci Surgical System in cardiac valve repair, prostate removal and hysterectomies. Yet these advanced techniques aren’t foolproof and require significant training to master.

As with traditional surgeries, Florida patients report severed arteries, nerve damage and other injuries caused by improper protocol and negligence.

Medication Errors

Medication errors cause around one hospital death every day. When a patient receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication, permanent injury or death can result.

Most medication error malpractice cases involve a mix up between drug names, a nurse or pharmacist misreading doctors’ instructions, mislabeling medication bottles, doctors prescribing drugs that a patient is allergic to or drugs that interact with other drugs the patient is taking. Poor training, fatigue and low staffing all contribute to medication errors.

Anesthesia Mistakes

Anesthesia is an established practice, involving the careful and consistent monitoring of the body’s response to anesthetic drugs. While routine surgical procedures, like a child having their tonsils out, are normally safe, anesthesiologists or anesthetist nurses who neglect to review the patient’s medical records regarding anesthesia, deliver the wrong type or dose of anesthesia, or fail to monitor the patient’s response to anesthesia can end up causing severe brain damage, neurological damage or death.

Emergency Room Malpractice

Most people visit a Florida hospital emergency room at least once in their lives, for a sudden, unexplained illness, a car accident, a sports injury, an infection. Unsanitary hospital rooms, beds or equipment can lead to critical nosocomial infections. Hospitals may also be negligent by releasing medical records to unauthorized recipients, breaching HIPAA privacy rules and patient confidentiality requirements.

Florida emergency rooms are common locations for malpractice due to the high traffic, busy environment – understaffed and full of distractions. Negligent doctors who dismiss flu-like symptoms or external injuries without identifying the underlying cause or other potential problems place the patient’s life in danger.

Doctors, EMT’s and nurses can miss symptoms of internal injury, stroke, heart attack, poison ingestion, bacterial meningitis and other issues that can cause death if not identified immediately.

Spinal Cord Trauma

Most Florida emergency protocols require the use of cervical collars and/or backboards to protect the spinal cord during patient transport. Crippling spinal cord injuries can result when EMTs, nurses and doctors do not use proper care when moving injured patients during air lifts, on site at car accidents or within the care facility.

When healthcare professionals ignore this important protocol, permanent nerve damage, paraplegia, quadriplegia and even death can result.

Medical Negligence in Childbirth

Medical negligence during labor or delivery continues to cause tragic, debilitating injuries or death more often than new parents realize. We continue to see cases where Florida doctors and nurses fail to detect high-risk pregnancies, deprive mother or baby of oxygen during delivery, make time-critical delays in emergency cesarean sections, offer poor response to preeclampsia issues or fetal distress, administer incorrect medications or wrong doses and improperly use forceps or vacuum extractors.

Medical malpractice during labor or delivery can result in life-altering birth injuries, including paralysis, brain damage, shoulder dystocia, stroke, bone fractures, brachial plexus birth palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy.

Many Florida obstetricians and midwives feel that water birthing may reduce the risk of birthing complications, but the potential for medical negligence in water births is still present.

Doctors and nurses must carefully regulate temperature to avoid hypothermia. Without proper sanitary conditions, the risk of infection for baby and mother is significant. False certifications and unqualified midwives increase the risks associated with water births. Unmonitored newborn babies may aspirate pool water and drown or suffer permanent respiratory damage. In addition, when OB/GYNs and hospitals do not warn pregnant women of the increased risks and contraindications associated with water birth, they may be guilty of medical negligence.

OB/GYN Malpractice

Other forms of obstetrics and gynecology malpractice are also a frightening reality. For example, Florida OB/GYNs can fail to diagnose cervical cancer and breast cancer. Women make a concerted effort to take advantage of the technology we have today to detect breast cancer and cervical cancer early, get treatment, and live long healthy lives. When OB/GYNs misread mammogram or pap smear results or do not advise a woman of her diagnoses and treatment options, the outcome can be fatal.

Chiropractor Malpractice

Florida chiropractors offer relief from pain for many patients and help keep the spine healthy and free from injury. But we have seen several cases of malpractice among Florida chiropractors who cause injury to their patients. Chiropractor malpractice can cause permanent nerve damage, ruptured arteries, fractured ribs, herniated disks (aka ruptured disks or slipped disks) and chiropractic-induced stroke.

Chiropractors may also fail to diagnose a condition or relay it to the patient’s primary care physician. Chiropractors can also be liable for malpractice if they fail to warn a patient of the potential risks associated with chiropractic treatment.

Orthopedic Malpractice

Florida orthopedists and orthopedic surgeons who handle injuries of the musculoskeletal system can make several mistakes that may constitute medical malpractice. Surgical errors leading to excessive bleeding or nerve damage, surgery on the wrong body part, or the incorrect placement of medical implants, prosthetics, pins, screws or plates could mean potential medical malpractice liability.

Incorrect or defective anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repairs, bone fracture repairs or tendon repairs are also potential cases of medical malpractice for orthopedic surgeons.

Dentist / Orthodontist Malpractice

While most of us have a slight fear of going to the dentist, that fear is usually based around the potential for a temporarily painful experience. Yet dentist, periodontist and orthodontist malpractice presents a very real chance of severe and permanent injury.

A Florida dentist’s negligent use of anesthetic, tools, drills or scalpels during dental extractions, dental implant procedures and placement, root canals and other dental surgeries can cause decalcification, tooth loss, root resorption, infection, periodontal ligament damage, permanent nerve injury, dental caries, facial paralysis, tongue paralysis, sinus damage and jaw fractures – leading to chronic pain, loss of taste, chewing and speech difficulty, disfigurement or death.

Psychiatrist Malpractice

Florida psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners are responsible for the health and safety of their patients. When a patient is at high-risk for self-harm, suicide, or harm to others or is taking medications that may increase these risks, the psychiatrist must take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of this patient and those around him or her.

Florida psychiatrists must also practice due care in keeping medical records private and keeping patient conditions confidential. Improper handling of privileged medical information or failure to take due care in keeping a patient safe could constitute a medical malpractice case.

Nursing Home Malpractice

Florida nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care homes are also susceptible to medical malpractice. When doctors, nurses and care staff make errors in medication dose or drug type, or otherwise fail to provide the proper standard of care, and that negligence leads to injury, you may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Several signs of medical malpractice may exist in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, including poor hygiene, frequent infections, bedsores, weight loss, dehydration, frequent falls or fractures or overmedication.

Sexual Abuse by Doctors

Sexual abuse is another form of medical malpractice. When medical professionals take advantage of trusting patients by submitting them to unwanted sexual contact while under sedation, or by deceit or force, they cause injury that victims can collect compensation for.

Even when a patient has a consensual sexual relationship with a Florida therapist, OB/GYN, general practitioner, nursing home caregiver or other medical professional, that relationship could constitute medical malpractice.

Millions Available for Victims of Florida Medical Negligence

Winning a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit can mean collecting financial compensation to cover both economic damages and non-economic damages. In cases where the medical malpractice causes a patient’s death, the family and/or legal heirs may be able to recover significant damages.

While there is no limit to the amount of economic damages an injured patient can recover, Florida Statutes place a $500,000 cap on the amount of non-economic damages an injured patient can collect from a practitioner.

Injured parties may collect up to $750,000 in pain and suffering damages due to non-practitioner negligence. If the injury leads to a permanent vegetative state or death, the cap is increased to $1 million.

You may wonder, why do these arbitrary statutory caps exist? The answer is simple. You don’t have the lobbying power in Tallahassee that the insurance companies, HMOs and hospitals have, and so they are able to get special laws passed to protect their pocket books. Never forget that healthcare is America these days is driven by the bottom-line and profits of these huge conglomerates.*

Punitive damages (money paid to punish the misconduct) may also be awarded when the patient can prove that the healthcare professional intended to cause harm.

Economic Damages (no limit)

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses

Non-economic damages (up to $1,000,000)*

  • Pain and suffering
  • Future medical expenses
  • Future lost wages
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium (companionship)
  • Disfigurement

Punitive Damages (requires intent)

  • Amount to punish wrongdoer

*Fortunately, The Florida cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages may not always apply. In a series of cases, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the cap on non-economic damages outlined above is unconstitutional. The court has found that the non-economic damages cap violates the equal protection clause of Florida’s constitution, offering full compensation to individuals with less serious injuries and only partial compensation to patients with more serious injuries. While the lobbyist-controlled Florida legislature may not be on your side, the judicial system made up of impartial judges and juries is still there to protect you and your family.

The dollar amount of damages for Florida medical negligence is calculated based on the specific circumstances of the injured party’s case, the age of the injured patient, the extent of injuries, the permanence of the injuries, estimates of lost earning capacity and the level of negligence of the medical professional or facility.

Your best bet for achieving the maximum available financial compensation for your medical malpractice case is to hire an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer who knows how to construct your case using powerful evidence and negotiate against powerful entities for a strong settlement amount.

How to Prove a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim

Florida medical malpractice cases are among the most difficult to win, requiring extensive knowledge of malpractice law, high-level investigative resources and medical expertise. Victims of medical malpractice are often up against powerful, multi-million-dollar Florida healthcare facilities and reputable practitioners with little to no history of negligence or medical error.

These powerful defendants have deep pockets and can afford prominent legal teams willing to put up a serious fight against your claims.

Injured Patients Must Prove Four Elements of Medical Negligence

A brief review of Florida medical malpractice law can help you understand what you need to prove to win your case and the defense strategies your doctor or hospital may use to fight your claims.

Under Chapter 766 of the Florida State Code, the term “medical malpractice” refers to negligence on the part of a healthcare provider that causes injury to a patient. In Florida malpractice law, “negligence” is healthcare professional’s failure to exercise a specific “standard of care.” This standard of care is the level of care, skill and treatment that would be considered acceptable and appropriate by a reasonably prudent similar healthcare provider under similar circumstances (Fla. Stat. §766.102).

Malpractice cases involving emergency room care are a bit more challenging to prove. The law protects emergency room physicians at an increased level, and ER doctors are only liable for malpractice if they are guilty of “reckless disregard,” rather than mere “negligence.”

For an injured patient to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, they have the burden to prove all four elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. The four elements required to prove liability include:

  1. Duty: a doctor – patient relationship existed, so the doctor had a duty to provide a proper standard of care.
  2. Breach: the doctor failed to provide the proper standard of care.
  3. Causation: the breach caused injury to the patient.
  4. Damage: the patient incurred actual damages as result of the breach.

In general, a doctor-patient relationship exists if a doctor has agreed to provide treatment for you or has participated in your treatment. When this relationship exists, the doctor assumes a duty to provide a proper standard of care. There is very often also an implied duty that arises in situations where a patient never meets the doctor involved in his or her care – pathologists, radiologists and others.

Know How to Counter Florida Doctors’ Aggressive Defense Strategies

While these four elements may seem simple to prove in your specific situation, the real challenge comes when the Florida physician or hospital fights back to disprove your claims of negligence.

The defense may try to show that your statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim has expired, that they used an alternative but accepted form of treatment, that they were trying an experimental form of treatment or that you knew of the risk of injury and signed a waiver.

Florida doctors and hospitals also will try to blame the patient for the injury, arguing that you did not follow pre- or post-operative instructions, had undiagnosed underlying medical issues, used drugs not listed in medical records, did not follow proper treatment directions, did not attend a follow up appointment or signed a document accepting risks involved with a certain procedure.

Doctors may also use the third-party immunity defense, saying they are not liable for the negligence of referring or other physicians involved in your care.

In many cases, the blame game can get so out of hand that a jury may apply Florida’s comparative negligence rule (Fla. Stat. §768.81) to divide the percent blame between doctor and patient. The patient then collects an amount of damages based on the doctor’s assigned percentage of fault.

Use Prominent Florida Medical Experts for Powerful Evidence of Negligence

While medical records can serve as evidence to help prove your case of negligence, Florida doctors are very careful to protect themselves when making notes in patient documents. Notes of mistakes are rare in medical documents.

Your lawyer will need access to experienced medical experts who can help determine exactly what the physician did and exactly what the physician should have done.

Medical expert testimony is also an important component in proving the breach element of medical negligence, since the “proper standard of care” depends upon the level of care, skill and treatment that a reasonably prudent, similar healthcare provider would consider acceptable and appropriate under similar circumstances.

Medical expert testimony is also extremely valuable in proving the causation element, as extensive medical knowledge may be needed to prove that the doctor’s actions (or inactions), and not some extraneous factor, led to the patient’s injury.

A good Florida medical malpractice lawyer knows the defense’s case as well as his own. Your medical experts must also have solid track records and high credibility within the medical community, important when the defense tries to attack their expertise or credibility.

How Long Do You Have to File a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Under Fla. Stat. §99.11(4), most medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years of the time the patient (or guardian) knew or should have known (with reasonable diligence) that an injury occurred and was possibly caused by medical malpractice. This deadline can be extended for minors.

In addition, Florida malpractice law has a statute of repose that says healthcare providers may not be sued for medical malpractice after four years of the date of the incident, unless fraud, concealment or misrepresentation is involved. Florida’s statute of repose does not apply to claims made by children under eight years of age.

If you can prove that fraud, concealment or misrepresentation is present in your case, the four-year limit may be extended to seven years.

Calculating your statute of limitations and statute of repose can be difficult and there are always exceptions. Don’t just give up with the thought that your case has expired.

A lawyer can help you determine the time limits placed on your specific case, and you should not rely on this booklet for making a decision as to whether your statute of limitation has expired. Consult with a trained medical malpractice attorney as soon as you think something went wrong. Don’t delay or rely of the general information in this booklet for specific information in your case.

How to Find the Best Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer

It is essential to have a skilled advocate on your side in a Florida medical malpractice case. Because of the complex Florida medical malpractice claims process, potential procedural obstacles and the aggressive opposition, victims of medical negligence need a Florida medical malpractice lawyer with the specialized expertise, investigative resources and extensive track record required to win these important and difficult cases.

Access to prominent, established medical experts is vital to winning these cases. A top Florida medical malpractice lawyer is going to have these medical experts already lined up and ready to examine your case. In addition, medical experts are expensive. Experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyers know this and are prepared to pay for these services in advance. In fact, our firm pays our clients’ legal expenses up front, with no payment requirements until they win their claim.

How do you find an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer? Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Medical malpractice expertise: Florida medical negligence cases require years of experience with malpractice cases, a specific understanding of the law and access to established, credible medical experts.
  • Industry recognition: A good Florida medical malpractice lawyer will be recognized for their accomplishments. Awards like Best Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and Florida Super Lawyers are good examples of peer reviewed recognition. Look for membership in the American Association for Justice and Florida Justice Association.
  • Trial experience: A powerful Florida medical malpractice attorney will be willing to support you through trial. Look for experience that includes large jury verdict wins in medical malpractice cases.
  • Track record of success: An experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer will have multiple multi-million-dollar wins against America’s largest corporations under their belt. They know how to negotiate with big players and can fight for their clients against some of the strongest opponents.

Hopefully, you will never need a Florida medical malpractice lawyer. If you do, I hope you find the information provided here helpful.

If you have more questions about Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, feel free to call and speak with me or any of our Kelley Uustal Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at 954.522.6601 or Email me at

Our Kelley Uustal Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers represent clients located in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Dania, Miami, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, Coral Springs, Naples, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Cape Coral, Port Saint Lucie, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Cooper City, Sunrise, Weston, Marathon, Key Largo, Key West, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and across the state of Florida.


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