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COVID-19 and Medical Malpractice in Florida

August 23, 2022 |
COVID-19 and Medical Malpractice in Florida

Medical practitioners do their jobs faithfully, regardless of the severity of the situation. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s doctors, nurses and hospital staff have worked around the clock, treating patients and saving as many lives as possible. Unfortunately, this work can take an extreme toll, creating situations where patients are not receiving the best care possible. Long hours, high levels of stress, and massive caseloads are not uncommon and in rare scenarios, this added pressure can lead to error and negligence. Florida’s medical malpractice law offers legal guidelines in the case of personal injury due to malpractice. If there’s sufficient evidence to support a claim, patients or family members may receive compensation for the harm caused by negligence at the hands of medical professionals or other healthcare providers. Understanding the conditions of the law is an excellent way to investigate whether your case is eligible for a COVID-19 medical malpractice suit.

According to the 2021 Florida statutes on medical malpractice, you can sue a health care provider for malpractice related to COVID-19 if they cause you or your loved ones medical-related injuries out of negligence. COVID-19 affects the respiratory system and other essential organs and should be handled promptly with care. Some doctors and medical practitioners may become overwhelmed in the line of duty, failing to deliver their best to diagnose or offer treatment. A delay of patient care due to negligence can result in severe consequences. Patients and family members may sue for medical negligence if there is sufficient evidence to provide a claim. In order to file a claim, some specific conditions must exist, including:
  • Incorrect treatment of COVID-19 case
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a person infected with COVID-19
  • Virus transmission to previously unaffected individuals
  • Delay in diagnosis or cancellation of necessary medical procedures
If any of these conditions apply to your case, it may be eligible for a COVID-19 medical malpractice suit. That said, tangible evidence must exist to prove these claims before a court will consider your request for compensation. According to section 766.104 of Florida law: “No action shall be filed for personal injury or wrongful death arising out of medical negligence, whether in tort or in contract, unless the attorney filing the action has made a reasonable investigation as permitted by the circumstances to determine that there are grounds for a good faith belief that there has been negligence in the care or treatment of the claimant.” Florida statutes acknowledge medical practitioners as persons licensed to practice medicine. They include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and physical therapists. In addition to doctors, healthcare providers and practitioners are also liable under medical malpractice. Per Florida law, healthcare providers include laboratories authorized to perform testing, hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory surgery centers, home health agencies, and residential treatment facilities. By following the conditions outlined by state laws, those pursuing a COVID-19 medical malpractice suit must have solid evidence of negligence from a registered and recognized healthcare provider or practitioner.

Liability Protection Laws for Doctors and Other Healthcare Providers

Patients and family members have the right to file a suit for COVID-19 related malpractices; however, filing a suit does not imply that a case will rule in favor of the plaintiff. A new Florida state law provides COVID-19 liability protection for doctors and healthcare providers in the case of unmerited COVID-19 lawsuits. This liability protection law means that plaintiffs must provide convincing proof for COVID-19 related claims, including:
  • A specific complaint against a defendant
  • An affidavit from a medical professional
  • Proof of gross negligence
  • Evidence showing the defendant intentionally failed to make a “good faith effort”
  • Timing filing status within the first year of the malpractice incident
Claims must satisfy the above requirements before they are considered in the state of Florida. Proving these cases can be very difficult to navigate independently. Seeking professional legal help is often the best route to ensure a fair chance at compensation. A knowledgeable attorney can help plaintiffs collect the necessary requirements for a strong case, improving the chances of winning. The new Florida state laws help protect healthcare businesses and healthcare practitioners by minimizing their liability. Holding them accountable for malpractice can be a hassle without sufficient evidence. Therefore, working with a qualified personal injury attorney is crucial when pursuing a medical malpractice claim. A dedicated Florida medical malpractice lawyer will help you collect sufficient evidence and negotiate an appropriate settlement. While there are many options available for legal representation in the state of Florida, finding the right lawyer does not have to be a daunting process. Ward Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in both South and Central Florida that can help victims of medical malpractice. Our cases include patients who suffer from physical injuries and emotional trauma due to the negligence and wrongful action of doctors and healthcare providers.

Medical Malpractice Representation in Florida

At Ward Law Group, we strive to provide the best legal representation for our community. We work tirelessly to offer our clients the best chance at a fair settlement. If you believe you have a COVID-19 related malpractice claim, reach out to us to learn about your options.