We want to dispel some of the most common myths:
Myth 1: Too many frivolous lawsuits are filed.
Florida law requires all medical malpractice claims to go through a stringent “pre-suit” investigation before they can be filed with the court. All pertinent medical and hospital records must be collected and reviewed by qualified physician experts. These experts must be licensed to practice medicine in the State of Florida or otherwise be issued a valid expert witness certificate by the State of Florida Department of Medicine. Affidavits verifying that reasonable grounds exist to bring the claim must be executed by an expert physician and provided to the prospective defendant hospital or doctor(s) along with all other documentation and evidence which support the malpractice claim. The hospital, doctors, their lawyers and insurance companies then have 90 days to conduct their own investigation to understand the reasons for and basis for the claim. The pre-suit process and the litigation process are extremely expensive and require intense and detailed research, preparation and execution. Only those claims that merit such extraordinary efforts and investment can be brought and maintained.
Myth 2: Medical malpractice victims just want to get rich.
The great majority of those who bring medical malpractice claims have been catastrophically harmed. Whether they suffered a preventable stroke, were not properly diagnosed, received the wrong medication – these people often are inflicted with severe and debilitating disabilities and physical impairments. They have lost mobility or their ability to be independent or need extensive and continuing medical or nursing care. Many times they are left unable to work. They may be isolated or endangered due to a brain injury, which has left them unable to protect themselves. Florida Law has very strict parameters and guidelines for what a jury may allow in a verdict for harm and losses.
Myth 3: Medical malpractice cannot be avoided by hospitals and doctors.
Hospitals have extensive policies and procedures for the purpose of ensuring patient safety. Likewise, virtually all medical specialties have clinical practice guidelines devoted to ensuring patient safety. Claims for medical malpractice arise when a patient safety rule is violated or a medical judgement or decision is made that needlessly endangers a patient.
Myth 4: Malpractice claims will cause doctors to leave the state.
Statistics from the Florida Department of Medicine have shown a steady increase in the number of physicians applying for licensure over the last 15 years. This rise is commensurate with overall population growth. There is absolutely no truth, nor any evidence to support that doctors don’t want to practice medicine in Florida. All of the evidence is to the contrary.
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