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Florida Physicians and Residents: Medical Malpractice Claims Jeopardize Your License

October 9, 2020
Est read time: 3 minutes

Accused of medical malpractice? If you are a licensed physician or a medical resident in the State of Florida, this accusation of medical malpractice has lasting implications both for your license and your pocketbook.

What a Medical Malpractice Claim Means

In the State of Florida, a medical malpractice claim for a medically licensed physician should be taken seriously. It means:

  1. You have received an administrative complaint from the Department of Health (DOH).
  2. Your medical license is at risk or your license application may be denied.
  3. You are at risk for a lawsuit.
  4. You could face administrative fines of up to $10,000 for each offense (these fines are not covered by your liability insurance).
  5. Your insurance premiums may increase. 

Penalties for Medical Malpractice Accusations

Understandably, the prescribed administrative penalties for malpractice are among the harshest in the Florida Administrative Code.

Medical malpractice is defined as “the failure to practice medicine in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment recognized in general [Florida] law related to health care licensure.”

Medical malpractice aggravating and mitigating factors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exposure of patient or public to injury or potential injury, physical or otherwise: none, slight, severe, or death;
  • Legal status at the time of the offense: no restraints, or legal constraints;
  • The number of counts or separate offenses established;
  • The number of times the same offense or offenses have previously been committed by the licensee or applicant;
  • The disciplinary history of the applicant or licensee in any jurisdiction and the length of practice;
  • Pecuniary benefit or self-gain inuring to the applicant or licensee;
  • The involvement in any violation of Section 458.331, F.S., of the provision of controlled substances for trade, barter, or sale, by a licensee.
  • Where a licensee has been charged with violating the standard of care pursuant to Section 458.331(1)(t), F.S., but the licensee, who is also the records owner pursuant to Section 456.057(1), F.S., fails to keep and/or produce the medical records.

Even if the medical malpractice incident in question occurred in another state or country, the disciplines of the State of Florida still apply.

  • According to Sections 456.50 and 458.331(1)(t), Florida Statutes, the Florida Board of Medicine may discipline your license if you are found to have committed medical malpractice, even if you are never sued by a patient in a court of law.
  • According to Rule 64B8-8.001(2)(t) of the Code, the penalty for even a single violation is anywhere between one year of probation to complete revocation or denial of your license, and fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 for each violation.
  • If you have a prior disciplinary history, the stipulated fines are between $5,000 and $10,000 for each violation.
  • Your disciplinary history is a matter of public record and will be viewable by patients and prospective employers.

How You Can Take Action Against Medical Malpractice Accusations

These penalties are not set in stone. The Board of Medicine can take into account any number of aggravating or mitigating factors to increase or lessen the penalties set down in the rules.

When you have an experienced health care attorney fighting for you, you stand a much better chance of receiving the lowest possible penalty, and even of getting the complaint against you dismissed.

If you are a Florida-licensed physician or medical resident under a licensed physician’s supervision, your best defense is experts who have worked on similar cases and are well familiarized with the Department of Health. 

Need Legal Advice? Let's Talk

Contact the law offices of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation at any one of our locations:

Orlando (407) 717-1773 |Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348

Florida Health Care License Attorneys
We represent licensed physicians statewide, including out-of-state clients concerned about the status of their Florida license.

Have Questions? Let's Talk

Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE no-obligation consultation. Our firm represents physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed professionals statewide.
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