Can You Sue a Doctor for Negligence?

July 12, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Can You Sue a Doctor for Negligence?

The question, can you sue a Florida doctor for negligence, depends upon many factors, including the amount of time that has passed since the alleged malpractice occurred and whether the doctor breached the applicable standard of care.

Lawsuits filed against a doctor or other health care provider fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. If you think that you sustained injuries or damages as a result of a medical mistake, you may be able to take legal action.

The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have your legal interests at heart when it comes to serious medical mistakes and doctor negligence. Our experienced team of attorneys can investigate the alleged medical malpractice in your case and may be able to support your case with legal representation through settlement or trial.

Types of Doctor Negligence

Even good doctors can make serious medical mistakes, and when they do, they can be held accountable under the law. Common instances of Florida medical negligence include:

  • Ignoring or neglecting a patient
  • Poor communication with other health care providers or with patients
  • Failing to sterilize operating room or surgical equipment
  • Patient misdiagnosis
  • Poorly performing a surgery or other medical procedure (including performing the incorrect medical procedure on a patient)
  • Premature discharge from a hospital or surgical center

Time Considerations

When considering whether or not you can sue a doctor for negligence, you must ensure you bring suit within the deadline set by law, called the statute of limitations. All civil claims and lawsuits must be filed within a certain period of time. In the case of Florida doctor negligence, a patient ordinarily must bring a claim or lawsuit within two years after the patient discovers—or should have discovered—the injury. At the very latest, you must file the lawsuit within four years from the date when the alleged malpractice took place.

With the exception of a small minority of cases, the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations is a hard and fast rule. Consequently, if you fail to file a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice within the allotted time frame, you will be precluded from ever seeking monetary damages in your case. If you suspect that you sustained an injury or illness as a result of doctor negligence, you should contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as soon as possible.

Pre-Suit Investigations

Prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, both the claimant and the medical doctor must complete a pre-suit investigation. During the pre-suit investigation process, the claimant ordinarily must obtain an opinion in writing from another medical doctor who can testify that medical negligence – or malpractice – likely occurred.

At the same time, the doctor or the doctor's insurer must complete a similar investigation in order to determine whether medical negligence actually occurred, and if so, whether the negligence resulted in certain injuries and damages to the claimant. The doctor must also obtain an opinion in writing from another doctor in order to support his or her defense.

Pre-Suit Notice Requirements

Suing a doctor for negligence requires much more than just filing a lawsuit in a Florida court. One of the prerequisites to filing a lawsuit against the doctor requires that you must first provide him or her with notice, indicating that you intend to file a lawsuit in the near future. A 90-day waiting period follows, during which the doctor may reject the claim outright, offer to settle the case, or ask to submit the case to arbitration.

If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit without first completing this very important step, your lawsuit will most likely be dismissed.

The Legal Standard for Doctor Negligence

Once the claimant has satisfied the pre-suit investigation and notice requirements, the claimant may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Florida court system. In order to prevail in a medical negligence case against a doctor, the claimant has the burden of proof. This burden may be difficult to meet, given that there is often a presumption that the doctor acted reasonably and properly under the circumstances.

All medical doctors owe their patients a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. This means that they must act as a “reasonable doctor,” who works in the same geographical area as the defendant doctor, would act under the same or similar circumstances. Doctors who are specialists are usually held to a nationalized standard of care when it comes to medical negligence cases.

The medical malpractice claimant must also be able to connect his or her injuries and damages to the alleged malpractice incident. Expert testimony can be helpful to establish that the doctor's malpractice caused the claimant's injuries.

As part of a medical malpractice claim, an accident victim typically alleges certain types of damages. Monetary compensation – or damages – in a Florida medical malpractice case can include compensation for:

  • Payment of medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of spousal support

Enlisting the help of the right attorney can ensure that you recover full compensation for all damages and losses you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice under Florida law.

Call a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

Medical doctors and other health care providers pay high malpractice premiums every year. Consequently, their insurance companies can spend millions of dollars, if necessary, to defend against medical malpractice cases.

If you believe that your injuries and damages resulted from medical negligence, you should call a Florida medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in any malpractice case. The experienced attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have the legal and medical knowledge and expertise to pursue your case from beginning to end.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer, please call us today at 727-4516900 or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

Learn More