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.
An employer was displeased with employee’s work, and began circulating an old mug shot of the employee around the office. The employer then hired a private investigator to place the employee under surveillance. Coincidentally, the investigator discovered that the employee was cheating on his wife, took photos, and sent them to his wife. The employee's wife subsequently divorced him. The employee sued the employer for IIED. The Court held that the employee could not sue the employer for IIED because the conduct did not rise to the level of “outrageous.” [7]
First, you must show that the health care provider acted negligently. Medical negligence occurs when a professional violates the standard of care. The standard of care is the professionally accepted method for treating a specific disorder. This standard varies depending on a number of factors including the patient's age, overall health, and specific disorder, as well as geographic location.
Properly illustrating your pain and suffering damages at trial for the jury to understand is essential in order to be adequately compensated for your injuries. As stated above, while juries may have a relatively easy time determining the amount of compensation for economic damages because those are numbers can be seen reflected in medical bills and documented lost wages, they often struggle with placing a monetary value on someone’s pain and suffering because these are admittedly abstract concepts.
"The opinion upholding the judgment recognizes that although not every fiduciary relationship will give rise to a claim for damages, where the specific professional responsibility of an attending physician is to convey accurate information, then failure to do so can give rise to liability if the physician's breach results in unusual and extreme emotional distress on the part of the plaintiff," Raynes said in an email.
In the example above, emotional stress would include the plaintiff’s embarrassment or depression as a result of disfigurement. Likewise, the plaintiff would be compensated if the jury finds that the plaintiff has suffered a permanent loss of function or impairment from the jaw bone injury. The jury would also be permitted to consider the loss of ability of enjoy life’s pleasures such as eating or even kissing. Note that this requires proof of what the plaintiff did and what they enjoyed before the injury. A jury can also consider the expected length of the plaintiff’s life, lifestyle habits, and whether the plaintiff was generally healthy before the incident to determine how much to award.
Did the change in lifestyle trigger disturbing depression or anxiety? If you have never experienced depression before, many describe it as feeling despondent, as if a black cloud were hanging over your head. Sometimes, if the injury is taking a long time to heal, you may feel hopeless, that you will never get better. Examine the differences in your lifestyle to determine the negative impact of your personal injury.
Often, with major cases, focus groups are used to determine these kinds of situations. In a personal injury case focus group, a group of people volunteer to hear the facts of the case and then answer questions pertaining to the case so that the attorneys can get an idea of what the general public (and hopefully the future jury) is thinking. Knowing that a focus group of 20 people all thought the victim should be paid at least $50,000 can help a lot in determining a starting point.
For claims based on negligence, the cases might be barred in various states based on the presence or lack of physical injury. Some states don’t allow emotional distress claims particularly in cases where the suffering is a direct result of physical injury. Conversely, other states require the plaintiff to demonstrate or show evidence of the physical harm suffered or illness that has resulted from the emotional distress. And other states limit NIED claims strictly to emotional distress that is experienced directly or as a bystander within a region of physical danger.
For example, John Smith went to his local doctor because he had a black spot on his foot and his leg was painful.  His doctor sent him to a surgeon who suggested a special procedure using a needle inserted into his leg artery to see whether the veins in John’s foot were blocked.  The surgeon botched the procedure and John’s artery was damaged.  Several weeks later John’s leg had to be amputated.  When John consulted a lawyer and the lawyer investigated his claim, the lawyer found that John’s original foot condition was gangrene and he was always going to have to have his leg amputated, so the surgeon’s negligence in performing the procedure did not leave John worse off than he would otherwise have been and he fails the test of causation.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney or if you do not have an attorney, consult with an attorney.
The settlement a person receives for their pain and suffering depends on many factors. This includes the severity of the injury, type of medical treatment received, the length of recovery time, and potential long term consequences of the personal injuries. In addition to physical pain, claimants can also cite emotional and psychological trauma in their pain and suffering claims. For example, a visible scar on the face can lead to painful feelings of constant embarrassment and insecurity.
The civil tort of assault is premised on the fact that a person says something or otherwise implies that he or she will have some type of harmful or offensive contact with the victim and the victim has reasonable apprehension of this contact occurring. This tort does not require that the contact actually occur, but merely requires that the victim has the apprehension that it will. In the medical context, this may occur if a doctor threatens to take medical action against the patient’s will.

A patient bringing a failure to misdiagnose case must prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor failed to live up to the standard of care in diagnosing the patient's condition, and that the doctor's failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis actually and proximately caused an actual injury. Most often, failure to diagnose cases involve disputes related to the applicable standard of care and whether the doctor's failure to diagnose caused the plaintiff's injury.
Ensuring that you have the necessary documentary evidence—medical records; witness statements to establish the full scope of your pain and suffering; and expert testimony to verify your injuries and the pain they are causing you—are matters that we have years of experience handling. Before and after witnesses are those individuals who knew you both before and after the incident giving rise to your injuries and are equipped to testify regarding how the accident has impacted you from their perspective. A spouse or significant other is typically an obvious ‘before and after’ witnesses because they live with you day in and out, taking notice of your physical pain and condition.

This website contains general information about legal matters. The information provided by Jacob Regar is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Jacob Regar makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. You must not rely on the information on this website (including Jacob Regar’s response to your question) as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. No attorney-client relationship is created through the exchange of information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

Before every medical malpractice case, Goldfinger Law will retain a doctor or leading medical expert in your field of care to assess the merit of your case. This doctor will give us their opinion on whether or not your case will stand a fighting chance in Court. But these opinions are NOT free. They come at a cost. Only in the most obvious of cases will these medical opinions be free of charge.
In Florida, when someone is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence the Florida law provides that the injured party can ask a jury to compensate them for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those damages that are readily calculable—medical bills, lost wages, or anything with a set dollar amount. Economic damages are typically easily presentable to a jury. Jurors understand hard and fast numbers, like medical bills and lost wages, and are oftentimes readily willing to compensate an injury victim for these types of losses.
Doctors who fail to refer patients to a specialist can also cause a delayed diagnosis. A patient that complains of back pain and is sent home with muscle relaxers and pain medication can be at risk for permanent paralysis that an experienced neurologist could have prevented. For example, patients that go to an emergency room for treatment of severe stomach pain that are not seen by a gastrointestinal specialist could be diagnosed with the flu instead of a serious liver issue.
In most cases, only the primary physician (your doctor) can be sued for misdiagnosis. In rare cases, other health care professionals may also be liable if their negligence caused or contributed to the patient’s harm -- including nurses, lab techs, and any specialists who may have seen the patient. The hospital or health care facility where the doctor practices usually cannot be sued for harm caused by misdiagnosis. That’s because most doctors are independent contractors, not employees of the hospital, so the facility can’t be held legally responsible for the doctor’s negligence.    

In some states, emotional distress claims based on negligence may be barred, depending on the presence, or lack thereof, of physical injury: some states bar emotional distress claims in cases where the distress is a direct result of physical injury, others require some demonstration of a physical injury or illness as a result of the emotional distress. And other states limit NIED claims to emotional distress experienced directly or as a bystander within a zone of physical danger.
Like any profession or job doctors and other medical professionals can make errors of judgement or neglect to carry out their duties to the required standard. Usually this is not the case and the vast majority of medical practitioners do excellent work every day in our hospitals and clinics. When they do occur, however, incidents of hospital negligence and medical errors are often due to the pressure (and fatigue) of working long hours in what is undoubtedly a stressful environment.
The incident that caused the stress must have been due to extreme or outrageous negligence and that the actions caused you emotional harm. For example, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in which a family member was killed, you may be able to file a claim for emotional distress due to the negligence of the driver in getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.
As this article suggests, there is not really a simple answer to whether someone can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis.  There are many variables in the world of healthcare, and every situation is unique.  With that said, as a patient, you do have certain legal rights when it comes to the care that you receive.  Further, you do not have to simply accept that an error occurred without asking questions or learning more about protecting yourself.

For example, insurance companies will most likely consider injuries treated by a doctor or specialist to be more serious than injuries treated by a chiropractor. Insurance companies will also do their own reasoning to negate some of the most concrete concepts, like the length of treatment. If they think you didn’t need to your doctor for that last appointment, they will not include that time in the pain and suffering calculation.


In some states, emotional distress claims based on negligence may be barred, depending on the presence, or lack thereof, of physical injury: some states bar emotional distress claims in cases where the distress is a direct result of physical injury, others require some demonstration of a physical injury or illness as a result of the emotional distress. And other states limit NIED claims to emotional distress experienced directly or as a bystander within a zone of physical danger.
In July 2003, Toney delivered a boy with profound deformities, including partial arms and legs. Toney sued Dr. Goyal and Chester County Hospital in 2005 for negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that Dr. Goyal did not prepare her for the shock of witnessing the birth. Toney said she experiences ongoing grief, rage, nightmares, nausea, hysteria and insomnia. The lawsuit did not include a medical negligence claim.

Medical malpractice is the most common legal claim lodges against doctors. A medical malpractice claim arises when a doctor failed to treat the patient in conformance with the accepted medical standard of care and the patient suffered some injury as a result. The medical standard of care is the type of care that another physician in a similar community practicing in the same type of medicine would have provided within the same circumstances.


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.
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