When choosing a doctor, who you pick can affect your entire life. You want to trust that your doctor is safe and competent and that your health is in good hands. So, how can you determine if your doctor has a history of medical malpractice in Florida?
Fortunately, there are numerous ways patients and family members can evaluate physicians and review past lawsuits before choosing them to perform surgery or treat your illness.
Did you know that 75 percent of doctors in low-risk specialties face a medical malpractice claim at some point in their careers? If that doctor is in a high-risk specialty, that number escalates drastically to 99 percent. So there is a good chance that the doctor you’re looking at has faced a medical malpractice claim at least once in their career.
But how can you uncover their past lawsuits, and what can you do with this information?
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical errors are among the leading causes of death in the United States. According to a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins University, roughly 250,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives because of medical errors each year.
If you got hurt while undergoing surgery or in a hospital, you might wonder if you have a medical malpractice claim. However, not all adverse medical outcomes are the result of medical negligence.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care, harming a patient. To prove medical malpractice, you must show that your doctor or healthcare provider’s negligence or recklessness caused harm.
Where to Look for Histories of Medical Malpractice in Florida
According to a 2019 study, only 1% of physicians account for more than one-third of all malpractice claims that are paid out. How do you make sure they’re not your doctor?
When choosing a doctor or surgeon, you should take the time to investigate their past and whether they’ve been a part of a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are several ways you can do that in Florida.
State Medical Boards
The Florida State Medical Board offers patients a way to verify if their doctor has had any history of misconduct or unethical behavior. By simply visiting their website, patients can quickly and easily go through a database and search for information related to their physician. An added bonus is that you can find out if sanctions or disciplinary action have been taken against their doctor over the years. You can also see if your doctor has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor and if they lost any medical malpractice lawsuits.
State Department of Health Services
The Florida State Department of Health Services is a great resource for all Floridians, especially those seeking information about their doctors’ history of medical malpractice or disciplinary actions. The department provides comprehensive reports on these matters, and you can see the case number and what action was taken against your physician at the time.
There is a record of all doctors sued for medical malpractice in Florida. Most of these records are available online for you to review. However, you can also request a copy of all non-confidential reports at your County Clerk’s office.
Sometimes a quick Google search will show you everything you need to know. Simply type in your doctor’s name and the keywords “medical malpractice” or “lawsuit.” Also, remember to type in the state your doctor practices in. So if your doctor practices in Alabama and Florida, you’ll have to do separate Google searches for both locations to identify all medical malpractice lawsuits or complaints against them.
My Doctor Has a History of Medical Malpractice. Now What?
If you find out that your doctor has a history of medical malpractice, you need to think carefully before choosing them to care for you. While some medical malpractice suits are dropped or dismissed, others are more egregious and indicate carelessness and negligence.
Is there a pattern? One of the things to look for is a pattern of cutting corners, taking risks, or acting recklessly. If your doctor has been sued multiple times over the last several years, that may indicate that you’re not in good hands. If you see a pattern of harm, look for another provider.
When it comes to your health, you are the one in control. It’s important to remember that you have the power to make decisions about your care. In fact, being your own advocate may be the best way to avoid potential issues with misdiagnoses, receiving the wrong treatments, or even misunderstandings between you and your healthcare provider that could lead to legal trouble. So, take charge of your health and make informed decisions.
What To Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice?
If you believe that you suffered because of a doctor or healthcare provider’s negligence, you should first speak to an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer. Your lawyer can review your case, advise you of your legal options and determine if filing a claim is the right course of action. Remember that statute limitations apply when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, so it’s essential to act quickly. Additionally, an experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate with insurance companies or directly with the healthcare provider to ensure that you receive the treatment and care you need.
Hire Our Florida Attorneys for Your Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice is a huge problem in the United States, and we are fighting to change that – one patient at a time.
If you or a loved one suffered because of the negligence of a healthcare provider in Florida, learn how our experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA can help protect your rights to compensation.
To better serve you and your family, we offer a FREE case evaluation which you can schedule by calling (305) 694-2676. You can also fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help and look forward to speaking with you.