If you have suffered injuries receiving treatment from a healthcare provider, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. Possible defendants can include doctors, nurses, technicians, and specialists. A Florida court may hear your case if one of these professionals makes an error that causes you harm.
But when can you sue a doctor in Florida for medical malpractice? How can you file a claim? Here’s what you need to know about filing a lawsuit against your doctor.
While you can sue a doctor in Florida for medical malpractice, it’s important to understand what qualifies as malpractice. While many things can go wrong after treatment, malpractice is only committed when a mistake, error, or misjudgment by medical professionals results in unforeseen injuries. Negative outcomes and even some medical injuries do not necessarily mean you have a medical malpractice claim.
Healthcare professionals are required to meet a certain standard of care when treating you according to Florida law. Here are some examples of when a healthcare provider hasn’t met that standard of care:
- They use defective or contaminated tools or medicines
- They use improper techniques during surgery
- They leave a foreign object inside a patient after surgery
- They don’t timely treat a patient
- They give a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- They prescribe an improper medicine or dosage
Additionally, you’ll need to consider when your doctor is the right person to sue. For medical malpractice, you will always sue the person who has committed the error.
For example, if you go in for surgery, you will probably be seen by several professionals like technicians and nurses. Your doctor is not liable for the errors that someone else commits. So determining who is at fault is essential.
Once you have determined your doctor is at fault and the injury is due to malpractice, you’ll want to hire the best injury law firm in Boca Raton, FL to conduct a full investigation and gather the necessary evidence for your case. During the investigating process, your attorney may discover that your healthcare provider doesn’t have medical malpractice insurance.
Doctors purchase medical malpractice insurance to protect them from the liability of malpractice suits. It will typically cover the costs of lawsuits and the settlements for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
While the state of Florida requires healthcare providers to have this insurance, some doctors will use loopholes. For example, they will put a line of credit or asset as collateral. This is known as “going bare.” So yes, you can sue a doctor in Florida without medical malpractice insurance. You will simply be going after the asset they used.
In Florida, doctors are required to inform patients whether they have malpractice insurance. But this could be in the form of signs in waiting rooms that go unnoticed. So before you are treated, ask and confirm that your doctor has malpractice insurance.
If a doctor commits an error resulting in malpractice while working in a hospital, the hospital may be liable for your injuries as well. This is not always the case, and determining liability can be complicated. If you’re ever unsure if a hospital is liable for your injuries, ask your attorney.
A few examples of when a hospital may be liable includes:
- The surgery was performed incorrectly.
- You had poor care in the hospital, which directly caused your injury.
- The wrong medication or the wrong amount of medication was administered.
Suing a hospital may be the best option if your doctor doesn’t have medical malpractice insurance. If a doctor doesn’t have this insurance, the amount you can recover is likely much lower than if you sue a hospital’s insurance. Whereas a doctor’s funds may be limited, hospitals generally have much better insurance.
While you can sue hospitals instead of doctors, governments owned by the state are not the same as private institutions. This means that the legal process will have some extra steps and be a little more complicated. That’s because you need to file a tort claim to waive the sovereign immunity of government institutions.
This guide on “Can you sue a doctor in Florida for medical malpractice?” should clear up some of your most questions.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, suing your doctor is a necessary step to recover a settlement for your injuries. We can guide you through the process and help you make the best decisions for your case. Schedule your case consultation today!