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Upon receiving direction from the Florida Supreme Court to reverse an earlier ruling upholding an arbitration agreement in a medical malpractice case, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal did just that, finding the defendant had not offered just cause as to why the agreement should be upheld. businessmanmodified

The ruling in Brown v. North Florida Surgeons P.A. is important in that it underscores the fact that arbitration agreements between patients and doctors often reflect an imbalance of power, which could result in their being found unconscionable.

Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers know the key is showing the patient either didn’t sign the document knowingly or voluntarily. In many situations, patients are made to believe they have no choice but to sign, or be refused treatment. In other cases, the agreements are lumped in with boilerplate admissions paperwork, with the patient receiving no indication these are legal documents in which they are forfeiting their right to a jury trial, should something go wrong.

In medical malpractice cases, the key point to show is that the physician or health care provider in question acted outside acceptable standards of care. Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys recognize in these complex cases, theories of comparative fault on the part of other doctors or health care professionals are often utilized by the defense in an effort to minimize their own fault. drugscn1

In the recent case of Saunders v. Dickens, the Florida Supreme Court weighed the issue, finding that a doctor is not excused from fault when breaching acceptable care standards simply because a subsequent treating doctor testifies he or she wouldn’t have acted differently regardless.

This is an important ruling because it serves to hold doctors accountable for their actions, no matter what speculation is offered about subsequent care. The health care we receive usually comes from multiple sources, some working in collaboration. Each provider may share fault when something goes wrong, but they can’t be excused for breaching acceptable medical standards simply because another surmises their own course of action would have been the same.

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