Surviving a serious car or motorcycle accident in South Florida with only minor injuries is nothing short of a miracle. However, in Florida, those responsible for causing car accidents are also legally responsible if the injured subsequently suffers sub-standard medical care. Our Florida car crash injury law firm is currently investigating a potential claim where a young mother who survived a crash with seemingly minor injuries may have been exposed to potentially negligent medical care which led to her sudden death. She leaves behind a small son and many unanswered questions.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1997 in the landmark case of Stuart v. Hertz Corp. that if one’s injuries are aggravated or increased by a medical mistake, the original tortfeasor is liable. The”Hertz Doctrine” has been applied in cases where the defense argues that the care and treatment a claimant received was not reasonable and necessary. In Nason v. Sharanksi, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial judge for failing to give the Hertz jury instruction after the defendant in a car accident tried to allege that the plaintiff’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Tehofilios, a board certified neurological surgeon performed an unnecessary removal of a herniated disc and two spinal fusions.
Accordingly, those who cause injuries in Florida car accidents are now responsible for any additional injury, or even death, caused by the subsequent medical treatment. This is particularly important in terms of signing releases in car accident claims before a person’s injuries are fully diagnosed or treated. Many insurance companies include language in car accident releases that could be used to prevent claims against medical providers for injuries that may not have even occurred yet or for damages that are yet to be diagnosed. We strongly recommend that before signing any release for a car accident that you have it reviewed by experienced and competent Miami car accident lawyer that can protect your legal rights.
The exact language of Hertz is: “Where one who has suffered personal injuries by reason of the negligence of another exercises reasonable care in securing the services of a competent physician or surgeon, and in following his advice and instructions, and his injuries are thereafter aggravated or increased by the negligence, mistake, or lack of skill of such physician or surgeon, the law regards the negligence of the wrongdoer in causing the original injury as the proximate cause of the damages flowing from the subsequent negligent or unskillful treatment thereof, and holds him liable therefor.”
This law protects and applies victims in car, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents throughout the entire State of Florida.