Steps In The Legal Process For A Florida Medical Malpractice Case
The vast majority of Florida physicians are professional and responsible in delivering quality patient care, but there are some that fall short. State medical malpractice laws aim to alleviate the devastating losses victims suffer by providing a legal remedy for recovering compensation. The Florida medical negligence statute spells out a very specific process for holding health care providers accountable for misconduct, and plaintiffs have the burden of proof. To recover compensation in a med mal case, you must show that the physician’s actions did not conform to the standard of medical care that applies to his or her practice area.
However, beyond this burden, you must still comply with the rules established by the statute. They are procedural in nature, but errors or omissions could still lead to dismissal of your case. You are in a better position to succeed with your claim when you retain a skilled Tampa medical malpractice lawyer to assist with the following steps in the legal process.
It is always important to meticulously investigate and collect solid evidence in a personal injury case, but med mal is one area where there are specific requirements. The statute states that a lawsuit cannot be filed unless the lawyer has conducted a reasonable investigation to determine that there are grounds to claim medical negligence. It is sufficient to meet this requirement if the attorney obtains a written opinion from a medical expert that there is evidence of misconduct.
After completing the investigation, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must provide notice to the health care provider against whom the claims are being made. The presuit notice must:
- Be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested;
- Be forwarded before filing a lawsuit; and
- State the intent to initiate litigation for medical negligence.
Upon receipt of the presuit notice, the defendant and/or med mal insurer must conduct its own investigation to determine whether there is evidence of negligence leading to injury. The defendant is allowed 90 days to do so, and you cannot file your lawsuit until this time period expires.
On or before the end of the 90-day period, the defendant is required to forward a response to the allegations. The response may:
- Reject the claim;
- Make a settlement offer; or
- Offer to go through arbitration regarding damages.
Many claims against health care providers do settle, but litigation may be necessary when the insurer refuses to pay a fair amount.
Proceeding with a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
With the proper groundwork in place, you can move forward by suing in court. Filing the complaint against the healthcare provider is the official initiation of a lawsuit.
Our Florida Medical Negligence Attorneys Will Guide You Through Every Step
This basic overview of the steps in a med mal case is useful, but it should also convince you that legal representation is crucial. For more information about your rights and remedies, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A at 813.223.7849 or via our website. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Tampa, FL to advise you.