In Florida, negligence and medical malpractice are two distinct legal concepts. Understanding the differences between these two concepts is essential for individuals who want to pursue legal action against healthcare providers.
Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. Negligence can occur in various settings, including healthcare. For example, if a hospital fails to maintain a clean and safe environment, resulting in a patient acquiring an infection, the hospital may be found negligent.
Medical malpractice, on the other hand, is a specific type of negligence that occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, resulting in harm to a patient. The standard of care refers to the level of care that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would provide under similar circumstances. To establish medical malpractice in Florida, a plaintiff must prove the following elements:
- The healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient.
- The healthcare provider breached the duty of care by failing to provide the appropriate standard of care.
- The breach of duty caused the patient’s injuries.
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the injuries.
The main difference between negligence and medical malpractice is that medical malpractice involves a breach of the appropriate standard of care. In Florida, medical malpractice claims are subject to strict procedural rules and limitations on damages. For example, Florida law requires that plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases obtain an affidavit from a medical expert stating that there is a reasonable basis for the claim before filing a lawsuit.
Additionally, Florida law limits the amount of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that a plaintiff can recover in medical malpractice cases. The cap on non-economic damages varies depending on the circumstances of the case, but in general, it is $500,000 per claimant.
It’s important to note that not all medical errors or unfavorable outcomes are considered medical malpractice. Healthcare providers are not perfect, and not every mistake or unfortunate outcome is due to negligence or a breach of the standard of care. In order to establish medical malpractice, there must be evidence of a deviation from the appropriate standard of care that directly caused harm to the patient.
One common example of medical malpractice in Florida is a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis. If a healthcare provider fails to diagnose a condition or makes an incorrect diagnosis, and the patient suffers harm as a result, this may be considered medical malpractice. Other examples of medical malpractice may include surgical errors, medication errors, or failure to properly treat a condition.
If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Florida, it is important to act quickly. Florida law imposes strict time limits, known as statutes of limitations, on how long a plaintiff has to file a medical malpractice claim. In most cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Florida is two years from the date of the injury, or two years from the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, through the exercise of due diligence.
Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A. is a law firm that has been serving clients in Southwest Florida for over 50 years. Our attorneys have experience handling a wide range of legal issues, including cases involving negligence and medical malpractice.
If you have been the victim of negligence or medical malpractice in Florida, our attorneys can help you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve. We understand that these types of cases can be complex and emotional, and we are committed to providing compassionate and personalized representation to every client.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of negligence and medical malpractice cases, from gathering evidence and working with medical experts to negotiating with insurance companies and advocating for our clients in court. We are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients and will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected.
At Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
If you believe you have been the victim of negligence or medical malpractice in Florida, contact Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A. today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.