The essential role of jurors at trial is to determine which party to “believe.” Issues of law are handled by the judge, while factual issues and the credibility of the parties are solely for the jury. The more complex the case, the more difficult it can be for jurors to make their important decision. However, when it comes to credibility, there is one constant: the jury will always trust the judge. In cases involving negligence, what could be more effective for the Plaintiff than the judge instructing the jury that the Defendant was negligent?
Suppose you are injured in an automobile collision caused by a negligent driver. You then go to a duly-licensed physician for medical care. You certainly trust your physician and her dedication to the well-being of her patients. Ultimately, your physician provides treatment and even surgery. Down the road of litigation, the negligent driver’s attorney claims that the surgery you underwent was medically unnecessary or unreasonable. Assuming this treatment was “unreasonable,” should you be on the hook to pay for it? Is it your fault if your physician provided unnecessary treatment by mistake or for financial gain? Of course not!
The Florida Supreme Court (Stuart v. Hertz Corporation) established long ago that a negligent party who injures another is liable not only for the resulting injuries, but is also liable for any medical negligence stemming from services of a competent physician. This principle has been reaffirmed many times and even extended by Florida Courts to hold negligent parties liable for improper and unnecessary medical treatment performed by an allegedly unscrupulous physician.