Florida Court Discusses When a Case Is Considered One of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims in Florida are treated differently than general negligence claims. For one, plaintiffs in Florida medical malpractice cases have to follow certain procedural requirements before filing a lawsuit. Another difference is that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years, compared to four years for general negligence claims. Whether a claim falls under the definition of “medical malpractice” is not always clear, as a recent Florida Supreme Court case illustrates.

Legal News GavelMedical Malpractice in Florida

In Florida, medical malpractice is defined under Florida Statute § 766.106(1)(a) as a “claim, arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.” Florida courts have decided that to be considered a medical malpractice claim, the negligent act had to “ar[ise] out of medical . . . diagnosis, treatment, or care,” and the diagnosis, treatment, or care had to be “rendered by a provider of health care.”

Florida Supreme Court Defines Medical Malpractice in Lawsuit Against National Deaf Academy

The Florida Supreme Court recently decided a case that considered the definition of a medical malpractice claim. In that case, a woman brought a claim against the National Deaf Academy after she was injured as a resident there. One day, while she was residing at the treatment facility, she threw rocks at the staff and the building and pulled on the building’s cables and wires in an attempt to remove them. A nurse attempted to restrain the resident, and both of them fell, causing the resident to injure her leg.

The injury required the resident to have her left leg amputated above her knee. The resident alleged that the National Deaf Academy, through the nurse, was negligent. However, the Academy argued that the claim was a medical malpractice claim and that the woman failed to follow the requirements to file a medical malpractice claim.

The issue in the case was whether the staff member’s actions fell within the definition of a medical malpractice claim. The court explained that a medical malpractice claim has to arise from an act directly related to medical care or services that require the use of professional judgment or skill.

In this case, the alleged negligent act was the administration of a method of physical restraint, which could be performed by both medical and non-medical personnel at the facility. The court explained that the training on the particular method of physical restraint was given to both medical and non-medical staff. The court further explained that whether the nurse was negligent in administering the restraint did not require expert medical testimony. Therefore, the court held that the claim did not arise out of an act that was directly related to medical care or services that required the use of professional judgment or skill, and thus it was not a medical malpractice claim.

Discuss Your Case With a West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured during a medical procedure or other incident in the health care context, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney. The accident attorneys at Frankl & Kominsky provide dedicated advocacy and representation to people throughout South Florida who have been hurt by the careless conduct of another person or entity. We have helped our clients recover damages for injuries in motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and Florida medical malpractice incidents. Call us today at (561) 708-5461 or complete our online form to set up a free initial consultation.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Florida Court Rejects Nursing Home’s Request to Have Arbitrator Determine Validity of Arbitration Agreement, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, April 11, 2018.

Florida Court Requires Insurance Company to Provide Coverage to Victim of Golf Cart Accident, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, February 7, 2018.