When you hire a professional to do a job, you hope they will perform that job to the highest professional standards. Sometimes, however, the people you hire don’t meet those standards and you might be able to sue for malpractice.
Malpractice is when a professional fails to use the appropriate level of care due to negligence or carelessness and it results in loss, damage, or injury. Professionals are held to higher standards than regular citizens, and therefore must be prudent when performing the job they were hired for.
In order for a malpractice suit to be viable, you have to prove:
- The professional had a duty to their client;
- The professional breached that duty;
- The client experienced a loss; and
- The loss was a direct and legal result of the professional’s breach.
You can file malpractice suits against any professional, but here are the five most common types of professional malpractice in Florida.
1. Medical malpractice
The most common type of professional malpractice is medical malpractice. People go to doctors and health care professionals for medical advice and treatment that will hopefully improve – not worsen – their lives. Most medical malpractice suits are caused by negligence due to a professional misdiagnosing a patient, failing to diagnose a patient, making a surgical error such as leaving a surgical tool in the body or operating on the wrong body part, making prescription errors, or because of birth injuries to the mother or baby during pregnancy and delivery.
2. Legal malpractice
When you hire a lawyer, you’re hiring someone to fight for you and your rights. A lawyer is responsible for giving you accurate legal advice and approaching your case in a reasonable way that matches professional standards.
If your lawyer is negligent in handling your case appropriately, you might be able to sue for legal malpractice. According to the American Bar Association, the most common causes of legal malpractice are failure to follow instructions, inadequate discovery of facts or investigation, failure to obtain client consent, and failure to know and/or apply the law.
3. Accounting malpractice
Accountants are supposed to help you prepare and examine financial documents. If an accountant violates a professional standard of care, such as not filing a tax return on time, then he or she could be liable for malpractice. Accounting malpractice suits could be the result of improperly auditing financial documents, not giving suitable tax or accounting advice, or even committing fraud.
4. Pharmaceutical malpractice
People rely on prescription medications to continue living healthy lives. If, however, there are issues with your prescriptions, you might have a pharmaceutical malpractice suit. The most common causes of pharmaceutical malpractice are prescribing the wrong medication or wrong dosage, prescribing drugs that have been recalled, or prescribing drugs with unknown long-term negative side effects. Just remember that simply receiving the wrong prescription isn’t enough for a malpractice suit. Someone has to experience serious injury or death in order to hold someone responsible.
5. Engineering/architectural malpractice
Architects and engineers are responsible for designing structurally sound buildings. If there are major design errors, such as not having the appropriate load capacities, the end result could be serious harm or even death. In these cases, the engineer or architect who signed off on the design could be held liable.
If believe you or a loved one has been the victim of professional malpractice, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today to discuss the details of your case.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.