3 Facts You Need To Know About Deadlines In Florida Medical Malpractice Cases
Just like criminal charges, breach of contract, car accident cases, and any other type of lawsuit in Florida, there are time limitations on medical malpractice claims. Every US state imposes deadlines depending on the basis of the action, as a way to promote judicial efficiency and ensure disputes are resolved promptly. Florida’s statute of limitations includes a specific provision when the plaintiff is alleging medical negligence, and there are extreme consequences if you fail to initiate litigation within this timeframe: You will be forever barred from recovering any compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
However, the statute of limitations in a Florida med mal case is a somewhat fluid concept that could vary under certain circumstances. Considering the harsh effects of missing the deadline, it is important to understand some basics. You should not delay in retaining a Tampa medical malpractice attorney to tackle essential legal tasks, but a few key facts may be helpful.
- Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
There is a deadline of four years for most personal injury claims, but state law establishes a shorter time limit for cases based upon medical negligence. You have two years to file a court case, and the statute of limitations starts to run on the date that the incident of malpractice occurred. Though rare, one exception to the law is when a health care provider engaged in fraud in an attempt to conceal medical malpractice injuries.
- The “Discovery” Rule in Med Mal Cases
Due to the nature of medicine, it is possible that a patient may not become aware of an injury until some time after the misconduct occurred. Examples include:
- Misdiagnosis, a particular concern with mistakes in diagnosing cancer;
- Surgical errors, including leaving an object inside the patient after a procedure; and
- Negligence in treating stroke.
Florida’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice addresses this factor by providing a “discovery” rule to extend the deadline. You have two years from the date you became aware of the mistake or should have become aware of it through reasonably diligent efforts. Still, the discovery rule cannot extend the statute of limitations for more than four years from the date of the incident of malpractice.
- Birth Injuries
When medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery causes harm to the mother or infant, there is a separate statute of limitations. Florida enacted “Tony’s Law” in 1996, and the statute extends the statute of limitations even beyond the discovery rule in some cases. It is possible to file a lawsuit up to the child’s eighth birthday, but knowledge of the injury and its link to medical negligence is key.
Contact a Hillsborough County Med Mal Lawyer Right Away
Complying with Florida’s statute of limitations is just one aspect of a medical malpractice claim, and there are numerous legal concepts, laws, and procedural rules that are critical to enforcing your rights. To get started on the process right away, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. You can call 813.223.7849 or go online to set up a free consultation at our offices in Tampa, FL.