Requirements For Medical Experts Under Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
Aside from the parties and their respective lawyers, one of the most crucial roles in any Florida medical malpractice case is played by medical experts. The input from these professionals is essential because of the highly complex subject matter, as well as the need to apply technical concepts to the relevant facts in a way that people without a medical background can understand. Because this role is so important, Florida has established strict requirements for an expert witness in a med mal case. The specifics vary depending on how this individual is involved at different stages of litigation.
Fortunately, your Tampa medical malpractice attorney will handle the details when working with medical experts during investigations, settlement discussions, and litigation. It may be useful for you to understand some basics on how these professionals support your rights.
The Role of Medical Experts
To expand upon the description above, input from a medical expert makes it easier for a med mal insurance company, jurors, and others to understand how a health care provider was negligent. These professionals fill the gap between complex medical topics and the non-medical people who will be deciding your claim. Specifically, a medical expert:
- Analyzes what standard of care should apply to the circumstances giving rise to the med mal claim, which is measured by what another health care provider would have done;
- Evaluates how your physician breached the applicable standard of care; and,
- Establishes the causal link between the breach and injuries to the patient, such that the individual would not have suffered harm but for the breach.
In addition to advising you on the standard for a med mal case, a medical expert helps your attorney meet the statutory requirement of conducting a pre-suit investigation. This rule is in place to prevent frivolous lawsuits and ensure there are grounds indicating negligence. A lawyer can comply with the law by obtaining a written opinion from a medical expert, stating that the claim is credible.
Requirements for Medical Experts
Part of the reason for imposing rules is due to the important role of medical experts. However, law also seeks to ensure physicians do not earn a living by participating in med mal litigation. Having a valid medical license is an obvious requirement; plus, health care provider cannot offer an opinion unless they have practiced at least 3 of the 5 years preceding the negligent act. A medical expert meets the practice requirement by:
- Engaging in clinical practice;
- Teaching classes at an accredited medical school; or,
- Participating in a qualifying research program.
Get Additional Details from a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer
As you can see, it is almost impossible to succeed with a med mal case unless you have a medical expert who complies with the requirements under Florida law. At Greco & Wozniak P.A., our firm maintains relationships with practitioners that we rely on for help supporting your claim. To learn more about the role of medical experts, please contact us to schedule a no-cost case review. Individuals in Hillsborough County and the surrounding area can call 813.223.7849 or go online to reach a knowledgeable attorney.