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Florida Court Addresses Whether Plaintiff’s Claim Arises from Ordinary Negligence or Medical Negligence

Recently, a Florida appellate court issued an opinion in a consolidated case against a hospital and behavioral health company. The defendants petitioned the court to review a trial court’s orders denying their motions to dismiss a plaintiff’s claim against them. The defendants argued that the court should dismiss the claims because the plaintiff did not comply with Florida’s medical malpractice presuit requirements.

According to the court’s opinion, the case arose after a personal representative of the deceased filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant. The family claimed that the plaintiff was transferred from a hospital to a residential treatment facility (RTF) operated by the behavioral health company. During her hospital stay, the woman received several medications; however, at transfer, the hospital provided the RTF with prescriptions but not the actual medications. The RTF did not administer the medicines, and the plaintiff died as a result of medical withdrawal.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit claimed that both entities were negligent because they knew or should have known that the failure to administer medication would likely result in life-threatening injuries. The defendants argued that the case was not sound in ordinary negligence, but rather medical malpractice. As such, because the plaintiff’s claim did not comply with Florida’s requirements, the trial judge should dismiss the complaint. The trial judge denied the motions; however, they noted that the case was a “close call.”

Under Florida law, courts may engage in certiorari review to ensure that the parties meet the medical malpractice statute’s procedural requirements. A provider may suffer irreparable harm if the presuit statute has not been followed. Medical malpractice claims arise out of a party’s failure to render or to render medical care or treatment inappropriately. These claims involve the use of professional judgment or skills.  As a matter of law, Florida medical malpractice cases must be supported by the testimony of a qualified medical expert. A plaintiff’s failure to obtain an expert affidavit will result in the case’s dismissal.

In this case, the court determined that the plaintiff’s claims arose from medical negligence. They found that the alleged negligent acts resulted from the RTF and the hospital’s failure to render appropriate medical care or services. To succeed on this claim the plaintiff must establish that these facilities breached their professional standard of care. Therefore, the trial court erred in concluding that the claims were based in ordinary negligence instead of medical negligence.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Negligent Medical Provider?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries because of a negligent healthcare provider, contact the attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman, Frank & Estrada. The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at our office understand the importance of abiding by procedural requirements. Our attorneys possess both the legal knowledge and courtroom experience necessary to handle even the most complex, challenging cases. We have recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of Florida injury victims, including payments for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.

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