Pre-Suit Requirements for Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

The Third District Court of Appeal in Florida recently issued an opinion in a defendant’s motion to dismiss a complaint. The plaintiff in the matter filed a lawsuit for injuries he suffered when a surgical table collapsed underneath him while he was preparing to undergo eye surgery. The victim argued that the facility breached a duty of care by warning him about the table. In addition, he contended that the facility failed to maintain and use the table properly. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint contending that the complaint did not meet Florida’s medical malpractice statute. The trial court found that the plaintiff adequately filed the complaint under the state’s ordinary negligence statute.

Under Chapter 766, the pre-suit requirements apply to claims arising out of the medical care or services in Florida. However, Fla. Stat. 766.106(1)(a) further explains that “merely because a wrongful act occurs in a medical setting” does not automatically mean that it falls under the state’s medical malpractice statute. Instead, the wrongful act or omission must directly relate to professional judgment or skills or the improper application of medical services. Under Florida law, there is a two-step inquiry to determine whether a claim stems from medical malpractice first, whether the wrongful act arose out of medical diagnosis, treatment or care, and second whether a healthcare provider rendered the treatment.

In this case, the plaintiff alleges ordinary negligence; however, the court must decide whether the complaint sounds in ordinary negligence or medical negligence. Here, the plaintiff’s allegations relate to the collapsing table and not to anything related to medical judgment or skills. The appeals court found that the mere fact that the table was used for a medical procedure does not amount to a medical malpractice claim. In support of their position, the Court cited similar cases which involved medical settings. For example, a Florida court held that a case involving a nursing caretaker’s restraining hold on an unruly patient did not require medical skill and thus did not fall under medical malpractice. Further, a previous decision explained that a medical provider’s decision to leave a critical care patient unsupervised, causing him to fall out of a bed, did not fall under medical malpractice. As such, the court denied the defendant’s petition to dismiss and affirmed the case in favor of the plaintiff.

Have You Suffered Injuries at a Florida Medical Facility?

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died because of another’s negligence, contact Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at our office have extensive experience handling complex negligence and medical malpractice claims on behalf of injury victims and their families. We have a firm understanding of the various personal injury and wrongful death laws that impact the course of a vicitm’s claim and their recovery. The attorneys on our team have a long history of successfully recovering compensation for our clients. We handle Florida accident cases involving negligent drivers, medical providers, and companies. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.

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