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Appealing a Medical Malpractice Case in Florida

If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to the improper care received at a hospital, or by a doctor, or other healthcare worker, you know how life-changing it can be. Surgical errors, birth injuries, delayed diagnoses or misdiagnoses, drug interactions, and other harms happen when medical professionals engage in medical malpractice. Read on to learn more about what you must prove in a medical malpractice case and how a Ft. Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney or Orlando Medical Malpractice lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm can help you appeal a case you feel has reached the wrong conclusion.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Case

There are four elements to proving a medical malpractice case. 

The first element is showing that a duty of care was required. That is, you must prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship. This fundamental relationship is what creates a doctor’s legal obligation to act in your best interest and to provide you with the standard of care that meets the medical community’s recognized standards. Your doctor or other healthcare professional must treat you with the same level of skill, knowledge, and care as a reasonably competent practitioner in the same medical specialty. 

Once a duty of care has been established, the second element is that you must prove that the doctor breached that duty. Specifically, you must prove that the doctor deviated from the accepted standard of care. The breach could be negligence, carelessness, or omission. For example, the doctor may have offered a delayed diagnosis or engaged in a surgical error that failed to meet the standard of care, leading to harm. 

The third element is that you must prove a direct link between the doctor’s breach of duty and the harm, which is known as causation. It requires proving that the patient’s injury, worsening condition, or death, was the direct result of the healthcare provider’s negligence, carelessness or omission.

The fourth element is that you must prove that you have suffered compensable damages. This can include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages include lost wages, medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the harm. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. 

Why You May Lose Your Medical Malpractice Case

You will not prevail on your medical malpractice case if you fail to prove all four elements. While each of the elements presents evidentiary difficulties, causation is often the most difficult element to prove in a lawsuit because you must show a direct link between the medical professional’s action or inaction and your injury. The body is complex, and bodily systems interact in many ways. Medical conditions are often not straightforward, and may be influenced by genetics, pre-existing conditions, lifestyle choices, as well as a doctor’s actions or inactions. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to explain to a jury how a specific action or omission was the cause of an injury. In many situations there is a significant time period between the negligence and the symptoms, or the worsening of a condition complicates the establishment of a direct link. Therefore, proving causation may be as much of a legal challenge as a medical one. If you lose your case, how do you appeal? 

Appealing a Medical Malpractice Verdict

It’s critical to understand the grounds on which a medical malpractice verdict can be appealed in Florida. These include:

  • Legal Errors – Where the trial court made mistakes in interpreting or applying the law, such as allowing improper jury instructions or failing to admit admissible evidence.
  • Procedural Errors – Such as improper jury selection or other mistakes that could affect the case outcome.
  • Constitutional Violations – Such as due process violations.

Florida requires that a Notice of Appeal be filed within 30 days of the trial court entering the final judgment. The next steps will be to draft an appellate brief, which outlines the grounds for the appeal and includes your legal argument and case law precedent. Once this has been filed with the appellate court, an oral argument may be scheduled. 

The court’s decision will either affirm the original verdict, reverse it, remand it for a new trial, or modify the judgment. The appellate court’s decision is final, and there is limited recourse beyond this point.

Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Attorney

Appealing a Florida medical malpractice verdict is a complex process that requires careful attention to detail and legal acumen. If you believe that the initial verdict was unjust or erroneous, it is crucial to act promptly and seek the assistance of a skilled appellate attorney. At Haliczer, Pettis and Schwamm, we know how medical malpractice can profoundly impact and change your life and the lives of your loved ones. We have many years of experience in this area and take pride in our commitment to helping those who have suffered due to medical malpractice. If you believe that you or your loved one has been impacted by a medical mistake, contact us for a free and confidential legal consultation at 1-800-693-4465 or fill out our CONTACT FORM.