Find Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida for Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants
Practice Area Overview
In simple terms, the standard of care is the legal duty that a health care provider (physician, nurse, medical technician, hospital, clinic, etc.) owes to the patient. That duty or obligation arises from the professional relationship established with the patient. It is axiomatic that without such a relationship the obligation to treat or provide care could not exist. The professional relationship, however, does not always require direct communication between the health care provider and patient may be established indirectly. For example, in addition to a physician who accepts a patient directly, lab technicians, pathologists, and radiologists may not encounter a patient personally but have the legal duty to comply with applicable standards of care.
Most states have enacted legislation which controls this area of specialized litigation and the legal duty of health care providers is largely defined by statute. It is now universally accepted that the duty and, thus, the standard of care, requires a health care provider to exercise the degree of reasonable care, skill, and diligence as would ordinarily be exercised by a similarly situated health care provider for a similar patient under the same or similar circumstances. The primary emphasis in this definition is necessarily placed on the requirement of "reasonable" care.
Frequently the defense of these cases will focus on the fact that the law does not require a physician or health care provider to be infallible in the exercise of his/her clinical judgments for a patient. Indeed, the law does not require perfection on the part of anyone. Important emphasis is also given to the recognition by medical science that there are often unexpected, unfortunate, and even tragic outcomes that will occur, despite reasonable care. So long as the care is found to be reasonable, there is no malpractice.
In a medical malpractice case, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the following elements in order to be entitled to a verdict:
- A duty owed by the health care provider.
- A breach of that duty, i.e., a failure by the health care provider to meet the standard of care.
- Injury or death caused by the breach of duty by the health care provider.
While the law generally imposes no burden of proof on the defendant, the defense, where appropriate, will seek to discredit the plaintiff's theory of liability by a showing of the reasonableness of the care provided & contradictions to evidence offered by the plaintiff. This is done through testimony from the defendant with emphasis on her/his training, education and experience and the basis for the clinical judgment at issue. Additionally, pertinent medical literature may be presented along with qualified expert testimony to further demonstrate the appropriateness of the care provided and, in many cases, to show that the outcome was not produced by negligence, but may be the result of an inherent risk associated with the condition of the patient or the treatment, despite good and proper care.
The law also recognizes that, within the standard of care, there are often alternative methods of treatment which may be employed for a given medical condition and that a physician, for example, must be free to choose and follow the method he deems best for his patient, even though some other physician may later argue in favor of another method. As long as the method selected to diagnose or treat was reasonable within the standard of care and implemented with due care, there would be no liability (even if the diagnosis is later shown to be incorrect or the treatment resulted in an injurious complication).
In selecting counsel for the defense of medical malpractice claims, the health care provider and his/her representative will want to ask a number of important questions such as:
- What is the experience of the attorney/law firm in defending these highly specialized cases?
- What is the rate of successful defense for the attorney/law firm?
- What resources does the firm possess for investigation, medical/legal research, qualified support staff, development of demonstrative evidence, etc.?
- What is the expected time frame to conclusion of the litigation in the jurisdiction/venue?
- What involvement will the defendant have in assistance and preparation of her/his defense?
Jill F. Bechtold practices in the area of civil litigation, where she focuses on medical and professional liability defense, employment disputes, product liability defense, business litigation, trucking litigation, and insurance defense. Jill’s clients include drug and medical device companies, business owners, physicians, hospitals, trucking carriers, and insurers. She represents clients in state and federal court actions as well as arbitrates matters under the Florida Arbitration Code...
Michael has been practicing law for over 35 years, of which the last 20 have been devoted to insurance defense litigation. He tries significant product liability cases where there is catastrophic damage and/or serious injury or death. Michael also defends doctors, dentists, hospitals, and their employees, as well as other professionals such as lawyers, in malpractice suits and claims brought against them. To date, Michael has tried over 300 cases to verdict. Michael has also handled matters i...
Richard E. Ramsey joined Wicker Smith in 1990. He is one of four managing partners within the firm and is located in the Jacksonville office where he is responsible for overseeing office operations. Mr. Ramsey has over 35 years of experience focusing on professional liability including medical and legal malpractice. He has been asked by several legal malpractice carriers to defend their insureds on cases ranging from complex business transactions, personal injury, trust & estate and taxat...
Dion K. Bass focuses his practice on insurance defense, medical and professional liability defense, trucking litigation, employment disputes, and product liability defense. Prior to joining Rivkin Radler, Dion practiced at another Jacksonville firm where he handled a variety of civil litigation matters, including medical malpractice defense, municipality defense, insurance defense, premises and general liability, and employment and labor law. Before practicing law, Dion served in the United S...
Caroline E. Kubovy is an Associate in Wicker Smith’s Jacksonville office where she focuses her practice primarily on matters involving healthcare, licensure, medical malpractice, dental malpractice and Department of Health investigations. In addition to professional liability matters, Ms. Kubovy, who has been practicing for the past 11 years, provides counsel to healthcare providers and vendors, particularly in their efforts to maintain compliance with the Health Insurance Portability a...
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