Personal injury cases always involve significant investigation activity and numerous tasks before suing in court, but Florida medical malpractice cases take things to another level with pre-suit requirements. At one time, there was a spike in frivolous lawsuits against physicians, prompting lawmakers to enact Florida’s medical negligence statute. The law requires claimants to take certain steps before initiating litigation to ensure that the case actually has merit and can be supported by medical evidence. Failure to comply with the statutory requirements could result in a dismissal of your case.
If you or a loved one was affected by medical negligence, it is wise to get legal representation to manage the complicated tasks. You are up against an insurance company with experienced employees and a skilled legal department, so level the playing field by retaining a Miami medical malpractice lawyer. For some background, you can review the different pre-suit requirements that your attorney will address.
Reasonable Investigation: It is always essential to conduct an investigation and gather detailed evidence for a personal injury, so Florida’s med mal law does not change this strategy. However, it imposes strict rules on the focus of the probe. Your lawyer must make a reasonable investigation as allowed by the circumstances, and the facts need to support a good faith belief that the health care provider was negligent. Medical negligence occurs when a physician deviates from the standard of care that applies to the practitioner and situation.
Obtaining an Expert’s Written Opinion: Your complaint to start the med mal lawsuit must include a sworn certificate regarding the good faith requirement, stating that the case has merit. The most common way to meet these criteria is through the written opinion of a medical expert, in which a physician attests that there is evidence of medical negligence.
Notification to Health Care Provider: Another task before filing a lawsuit is sending a pre-suit notice to all potential defendants, which may include physicians, hospitals, and healthcare facilities. The notice alerts the defendants to your intention to sue for med mal, and it must include information on the physicians who have treated you since being injured by medical negligence.
Discovery Period: There is an additional requirement before suing in court, forcing you to wait up to 90 days while the potential defendants conduct discovery. The physician and/or insurer must reply by:
- Rejecting the claim, which will make it necessary to pursue litigation;
- Making an offer to settle out of court; or,
- Requesting to arbitrate the case on the basis of damages only, in which liability is admitted.
Our Miami Medical Malpractice Attorneys Will Handle Pre-Suit Filing Requirements
These pre-suit requirements are just the beginning of your case, and the proceedings only get more complicated during the litigation process. To avoid putting your rights at risk, rely on Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to pursue your claim. You can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL, by calling (305) 371-6000 or checking us out online.