HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT MY DOCTOR IN FLORIDA? By Attorney, Bonnie Navin, Medical Malpractice/Nursing Home/Dental Negligence
Many people do not realize they can investigate their physicians or health care providers to learn about their education, experience, whether or not they have malpractice insurance and malpractice exposure.
Of course, the first place to learn such information is to directly ask your medical provider. They should not be offended by your request for information.
You can also check Florida’s Healthcare Licensee Lookup page here. Here you will get general information about your doctor. Click “Practitioner Profile” and you will be brought to a new page which lists General Information (staff privileges, other states licensed); Education and Training; Academic Appointments; Specialty Certifications, Financial Responsibility and Proceedings and Actions).
While education and training are certainly important, the Financial Responsibility tab allows you to know if the provider carries malpractice insurance. Keep in mind that if they report they do not carry malpractice insurance but agree to satisfy a judgment it is not the same as insurance. It means you must carry your case for a long period of time through litigation and go through verdict before you can even apply for that money. It is always best to choose providers that have malpractice coverage.
Many providers report that they are an employee of a hospital or medical facility so they don’t carry personal insurance but may be covered by their employer. Do not be shy to ask. Some providers work for entities that are covered by sovereign immunity which means there is a cap under the law on the amount of recovery.
Under this website, you can learn if your doctor has had prior disciplinary action and the results of those claims. However, this website is only as good as the people that report so keep digging.
Thus you may want to also look here at Florida’s Closed Claims page for additional malpractice history. This will tell you if your doctor has been sued and the outcome or resolution.
You can also look at your local courts to learn if active lawsuits exist. You simply Google your county and “clerk of courts”. Example: Broward County Clerk of Courts. You will be allowed to conduct public searches. Simply look for court records online and do your search.
Almost every State has an online license verification system. Simply Google your State with “board of medicine” like Georgia Board of Medicine and inevitably the State Board will pop up and you can conduct a similar search.