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What is the Standard of Care in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?


When you go to the doctor’s office for treatment of a medical issue, you expect to receive nothing but the top quality care from your physician. However, this is not always the case when dealing with medical professionals, and if a doctor, surgeon, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider injures you when they are supposed to be providing you care, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. But how does the court determine whether a medical professional committed malpractice? In Florida, the courts look at the healthcare provider’s standard of care.

The Elements of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases are a form of negligence, and as such the victim of the case must prove that certain acts or omissions took place to prove liability. When filing a lawsuit against a medical professional for medical malpractice, the victim of the claim must prove the following elements occurred:

  • The healthcare provider owed you a duty of care through a doctor/patient relationship
  • The healthcare provider breached that duty of care through negligent, reckless, or intentional acts
  • As a direct result of the breach, the victim was injured
  • The injuries caused actual damages

To determine whether a doctor or other medical professional breached their duty of care, the courts lest the facts by comparing it to the reasonable standard of care.

What is the Standard of Care?

Because every patient, medical issue, and treatment is unique, courts look to the standard of care to determine whether a doctor or other medical professional breached their duty of care in your case. The standard of care is defined as the level of skill, care, and treatment which, in light of all relevant circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent medical professionals. In short, the court looks at the what the healthcare provider did in your case and compares it to what a reasonable medical professional, with the same training and skills, would do in the same situation. If a reasonable doctor would do the same thing, there is no breach; however, if a reasonable doctor would have done more in your situation then you have proven a breach in the duty of care.

It is important to note that a reasonable medical professional does not need to do everything exactly as your healthcare provider did when comparing the standard of care. So long as the actions of your doctor fall within the realm of acceptable care for that situation, there is no breach. The question comes down to whether your healthcare provider’s actions during treatment were reasonable given the accepted standard of care for that situation. Expert witnesses are often critical to proving whether or not a breach in the duty of care took place during a medical malpractice case, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you prove your case.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

If you have questions about a medical malpractice claim in the West Palm Beach area, call or contact Gary Roberts & Associates today.




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