How Do You Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

How Do You Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Published: February 1, 2021

Medical Malpractice Case PensacolaAs a child of a surgeon, I grew up with a special fondness and admiration for physicians.  In fact, as a child and young teenager, I spent many hours waiting in the staff lounge as my father performed his rounds on patients. Being reared in a home led by a medical doctor necessarily transfers a high level of deference and respect for those in our communities that help others for a living as healthcare practitioners.  Those deep feelings of respect and admiration remain in me to the present day.

As I became more and more experienced as a personal injury lawyer that handles medical malpractice cases, my default feelings of admiration and respect became less and less automatic when I realized like all professions, medicine included those who made mistakes.

Mistakes in the hospital or operating room happen and sometimes they end up causing additional harm to a patient.  This event is generally referred to as a medical malpractice case.

Florida’s Medical Malpractice Laws

Florida Medical malpractice law governs this area of law and generally holds that all physicians must practice medicine in a “reasonable” manner.  Reasonable in terms of that physicians training and experience. For example, Florida medical malpractice law requires that before a physician or healthcare practitioner is accused of medical malpractice there must be an expert who has nearly the same credentials who reviews the records and concludes that the healthcare practitioner failed to use reasonable care.

Many potential clients think that anything that does not go as expected in their medical care must be medical malpractice.  That is not accurate.  Even if there is a medical mistake, there is only an actionable cause of medical malpractice if that mistake actually caused a significant injury or death.  Said another way, a healthcare worker can make a mistake (technically medical malpractice) but if that mistake does not result in an injury or death then there is no case for medical malpractice.

A healthcare worker can make a mistake (technically medical malpractice) but if that mistake does not result in an injury or death then there is no case for medical malpractice.

What Qualifies as a “Medical Malpractice” Case?

So, to have a potential medical malpractice case in Florida, a patient must have had a medical mistake that amounts to unreasonable care AND must have suffered an injury or death from that mistake.  A crazy example may be good to illustrate how these elements of medical malpractice must both be present.  Let’s imagine a situation where someone is having surgery and during the procedure, the surgeon drops a sharp scalpel into the patient’s open surgical site.  Thankfully, the imaginary doctor notices the mistake and carefully removes the scalpel, and inspects for any injury.  There is no injury, and the surgery isn’t delayed, and the patient recovers as expected.  Well, there was a mistake and certainly, one that could be considered less than reasonable care.  The missing element, however, is that the mistake did NOT cause an injury or death.  So, simply being the victim of a medical mistake does not make up a Florida medical malpractice case.

What to Consider in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case

Making this evaluation even more complex is that recommending the pursuit of a medical malpractice case involves an additional consideration:

  • How bad is the injury caused by the malpractice? This additional consideration is due the fact that unlike many other types of lawsuits, Florida medical malpractice cases are quite expensive and involve years of lawyer time. Law firms, like Zarzaur Law, P.A., that accept medical malpractice cases know in advance that these cases will some of the most expensive cases for them to prosecute.
  • The lobbying groups for medical facilities and practitioners have successfully been able to get Florida state laws passed that make it costly to sue a medical provider or hospital. These cases typically cost between $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 to bring. These are the costs that just get you a seat at the trial. These expenses would be carried by the law firm and the firm will place those expenses and its lawyers’ time in the balance.  If the case is lost the firm will have to absorb these costs and if there is a victory there must be sufficient enough recovery to pay these costs, enable the client to recover, and provide an lawyer fee to the firm.

Law firms working on medical malpractice cases are just like any other business.  If their work results in a net loss to the firm, that firm will not be around very long.  This fact mandates that when a law firm is considering a potential medical malpractice case, it must consider not only the merits of the mistake and injury elements but also must determine whether the likely recovery will easily payback all of the expenses and will still allow for a generous recovery for the client and a fee for the firm.

As you can see from this discussion, whether you have a medical malpractice case in Florida involves several considerations which all must come together to make a successful medical malpractice case. If you or a loved one was the victim of a medical mistake and is seeking a law firm to evaluate any potential medical malpractice case can contact Zarzaur Law, P.A. on the web at or call us at 855Hirejoe.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.


What is a Premises Liability Case?

What is a Premises Liability Case?
Published: January 15, 2015

Premises liability is a legal concept that typically comes into play in personal injury cases where the injury was caused by some type of unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property.

Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. In order to win a premises liability case, the injured person must prove that the property owner was negligent with respect to ownership and/or maintenance of the property. In general, negligence means that the property owner failed to use reasonable care in connection with the property.

It’s important to note that simply because you were injured on someone’s property does not mean that the property owner was negligent. Further, simply because the property might have been in an unsafe condition does not automatically mean that the property owner was negligent. You have to show that the property owner knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were in an unsafe condition, and still failed to take proper steps to remedy the situation.

premises liability

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Many different types of personal injury cases can be classified as premises liability cases, including:

  • slip and fall cases
  • snow and ice accidents
  • inadequate maintenance of the premises
  • defective conditions on the premises
  • inadequate building security leading to injury or assault
  • elevator and escalator accidents
  • dog bites
  • swimming pool accidents
  • amusement park accidents
  • fires
  • water leaks or flooding, and
  • toxic fumes or chemicals.

As you can see, premises liability cases include a wide range of fact scenarios. Even dog bite cases fall under the umbrella of premises liability because they involve an unsafe condition on someone’s property (the presence of a potentially dangerous dog).

The Property Owner’s Duty of Care

While many states require the property owner to exercise reasonable care in ownership and maintenance of the property with respect to all persons who might enter onto the property, other states still apply an old rule that can limit the landowner’s duties depending on the status of the visitor.

In those states, all visitors to the property are divided into three categories:

  • invitees
  • licensees, and
  • trespassers.

An invitee is someone who has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property. Invitees are usually people like friends, relatives, and neighbors. The landowner traditionally owed an invitee a duty of reasonable care to keep the property reasonably safe for the invitee.

licensee is someone who has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property, but is coming onto the property for his or her own purposes. Licensees are usually people like salesmen. The landowner traditionally owed a licensee a lesser duty only to warn the licensee of dangerous conditions that create an unreasonable risk of harm if

  • the landowner knows about the condition and
  • the licensee is not likely to be able to discover it.

trespasser is someone who is not authorized to be on the property. Traditionally, landowners owed no duty to trespassers unless the trespasser was a child. In that case, the landowner owed the duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to children caused by artificial conditions on the land (i.e., swimming pools).

Because these rules can get pretty complicated and they differ from state to state, you should contact an experienced local lawyer if you have questions about a potential premises liability case.

Examples of Premises Liability Cases

Let’s take a look at some different kinds of premises liability cases.

Slip and Fall. These are the most straightforward premises liability cases. They occur when you slip (or trip) and fall on someone else’s property. Some common conditions that can lead to a slip or trip and fall are:

  • defective staircases
  • accumulation of ice or snow
  • wet floors
  • oily floors
  • hidden extension cords
  • unsecured rugs or carpets
  • thresholds, and
  • loose or broken floors, sidewalks, steps, or stairs.

Inadequate Building Security. These cases usually arise in apartment buildings or offices. Owners of those buildings have a duty to act reasonably in securing access to the buildings. That is why large apartment buildings and offices usually have doormen or security guards on the first floor and small apartment buildings generally require the tenants to keep the front and back doors locked. If someone breaks in (or simply walks in through an unlocked door) and assaults or kills someone inside the building, that person may have a premises liability case against the building owner if it can be shown that the building owner did not take reasonable steps to secure the building.

Swimming Pool Accidents usually involve children and an unsupervised and unsecured pool. For this reason, most states and municipalities have laws and ordinances requiring that swimming pools have a fence around them, often with a locking gate. If someone leaves their pool open and unguarded, that person may be on the legal hook in a premises liability case.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola law firm, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

Zarzaur Law Contact

Pensacola Personal Injury Law Firm

11 E Romana Street Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9929


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