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Medical Malpractice Cases limited in Florida by the Florida Legislature and passage of a new bill

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Medical malpractice claims are part of personal injury law and allow a patient, who has been injured, to file a medical malpractice claim if they are treated by a medical professional who fails to meet the standards of their profession and this failure or negligence causes personal injury to the patient.

Medical malpractice generally occurs when a doctor, nurse, surgeon or any other healthcare professional behaves in a way or does something that another doctor in their same situation would not have done. Serious medical malpractice injuries can cause severe injury or wrongful death.

In efforts to curb medical malpractice claims and to make it more difficult for injured Floridians to get justice for their personal injuries, the Florida Senate, on May 4, 2011, passed the House of Representative's bill, number 479. This new law requires out of state doctors who do not practice law in Florida to get expert witness certificates to testify in medical malpractice cases in the state of Florida.

Why don’t victims of medical malpractice cases find doctors from the state of Florida to testify in their medical malpractice cases? As you might imagine, plaintiffs may have difficulty locating willing experts to testify because Florida doctors may be unwilling to offer testimony against other Florida doctors, even in the cases of extreme medical malpractice.

Additional provisions of Bill number 479 include:

• It may eliminate as evidence a doctor or hospital's failure to comply with federal requirements for certain medical malpractice cases.
• It requires a patient to execute an authorization form for the medical professional’s insurance company
• Defendants may be allowed to interview the plaintiff’s doctors without the plaintiff’s attorney or the plaintiff present

Unfortunately, due to the increased legal obstacles faced by injured patients, victims of medical malpractice in Florida and their families may have to fight even harder to get the compensation they need for their medical malpractice injuries. New legislation offers protection for hospitals and doctors but has not added additional protection for patients or new policies and procedures to eliminate many of the medical malpractice errors which are occurring throughout the state of Florida.

No one is perfect and regardless of the profession, individuals will make mistakes. Doctors who make mistakes due to negligence or inattention can be held responsible, but if you were injured by a doctor who was reckless or who attempts to mislead the investigation with misleading or false information can face serious professional and criminal penalties. Regardless of how you were injured, contact a medical malpractice lawyer for help.

Tips for filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Even if the law sometimes seems to be against you, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim and get compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. What can you do to improve your chances of winning your claim?

• Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer who understands Florida medical malpractice claims and find out if it is worth your time to pursue legal action.
• Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. If the attorney you have consulted about your medical malpractice case wants money up-front, find another medical malpractice lawyer.
• Make sure your medical malpractice lawyer has successfully used board certified medical experts and investigators to successfully process medical malpractice claims.
• Find a medical malpractice lawyer who is able to take your case to trial if necessary, but understands how to reach a settlement if this is best for your case.
• Do not try to handle your medical malpractice claim alone. Hospitals and doctors may have their own medical malpractice lawyers who are paid by their insurance companies, and they may able to use their skill and expertise to eliminate your chances of getting the help you need.
• Let an experienced medical malpractice lawyer provide advice and information about how to successfully negotiate with insurance companies. Do not negotiate with the insurance company by yourself and fall for their strong-arm tactics.
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