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The "4 Ds" of Medical Malpractice in Florida

May 28, 2021

If you were harmed by a physician or another type of medical treatment provider, you could have a valid legal claim for medical malpractice.

Proving malpractice can present a challenge, especially under the strict Florida malpractice laws. The experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyers of Rue & Ziffra know how to get you the justice and financial compensation you deserve.  

To make the strongest possible case on your behalf, we must prove that the doctor in question failed to provide you with a reasonable standard of care, and you were harmed as a result. We achieve this goal by demonstrating what is often called the “4 Ds” of medical malpractice: Duty of Care, Dereliction, Direct Causation, and Damages.

No. 1: Duty of Care in Medical Malpractice

In Florida, doctors and other treatment professionals have a legal obligation to provide their patients with a reasonable standard of care. If the practitioner is not qualified to provide the treatment or care you need, they are obligated to refer you to another medical professional. This obligation begins as soon as you enter into a formal practitioner/patient relationship. A reasonable standard of care is the easiest element to prove in a malpractice action.

No. 2: Dereliction of Duty

This element sometimes called a deviation from duty or breach of duty occurs when a doctor fails to provide a reasonable standard of care. A mistake—even one that causes you significant harm—is not necessarily a dereliction of duty. If another practitioner who had the same background, training, and experience as your doctor would have acted differently on that day, in that situation, you could have a strong malpractice case.

No 3: Direct Causation

Even if the doctor failed to provide a reasonable standard of care, you have a valid malpractice cause of action only if you sustained direct harm as a result. To demonstrate this element, you must provide evidence that had the treatment provider not been negligent, you would not have been harmed.

No. 4: Damages for Medical Malpractice

Finally, you must demonstrate that you suffered actual damages as a result of the doctor’s negligence. Depending on the details of your case, you could be entitled to pursue physical, emotional, and financial damages.

Additional Considerations for Your Florida Medical Malpractice Case

In addition to the four basic elements of making a strong malpractice claim, you should also consider these additional factors.

The Florida statute of limitations for malpractice allows you only two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. Unless you take action within that period, you could lose the right to pursue legal action. Before you can file a lawsuit, however, you or your attorney must notify the medical professional of your intent to pursue legal action, thanks to Florida’s pre-suit period requirement. The practitioner then has 90 days to conduct a pre-suit investigation, during which time you cannot sue. Within this 90 day period, the practitioner must respond to your notice. They can deny the claim, request arbitration, or offer you a settlement.

Talk to a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

At Rue & Ziffra, our Florida personal injury lawyers have almost five decades of experience in protecting the wrongfully injured. We have recovered more than $400 million in settlements and awards for our clients, and we know how to get the job done for you. We handle all types of medical malpractice in Florida. If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, act quickly. Call us now at 1-800-JUSTICE or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation or to speak with one of our Florida medical malpractice lawyers directly.

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  • The staff at Rue & Ziffra are dedicated to assisting our attorneys with personal injury cases. We strive to help our clients stay informed about their cases and give the highest support to our attorneys in winning your case.

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