4 Florida Laws That Affect Informed Consent Medical Malpractice Cases
Informed consent is a basic principle in the practice of medicine, and it is essentially a process for shared decision-making that incorporates input from both the physician and patient. The point of requiring Florida health care providers to obtain informed consent is that patients deserve autonomy in determining whether to go through with treatment or refuse it. To this end, the patient must have an adequate understanding of the details provided by the physician. Unfortunately, a study published by the National Institutes of Health reveals that comprehension levels are low. Just 7 percent of patients reported that they understood the risks involved with certain procedures, and around half could not name even one risk.
As you might expect, there is a major disconnect when the patient provides consent that is not truly informed. These cases are often the basis for medical malpractice claims, and there are multiple laws that apply. A Tampa medical malpractice attorney will address details, since some statutes impact timing, your rights, and your monetary damages. It is also helpful to review a summary.
- Florida’s Medical Consent Law: Most states have enacted a statute covering informed consent, and the law in Florida serves as a limitation on liability for the physician. A health care provider cannot be held accountable if he or she obtained consent from the patient in a way that is considered acceptable in the medical field AND:
- After being provided with information by the physician, a reasonable person would have a general understanding of the treatment, risks, and availability of alternative treatment; or
- The patient would have undergone the procedure had he or she been advised by the doctor, a factor that typically applies in an emergency situation.
A written consent from the patient on these points creates a rebuttable presumption of informed consent.
- Statute of Limitations: The deadline for medical malpractice claims is shorter than other personal injury cases. You have just two years from the date that the incident giving rise to the claim occurred. In a case in which you allege you did not give informed consent, the statute of limitations would begin to run when you underwent the procedure. If you do not initiate legal action before the two-year deadline expires, your claim is barred.
- The “Discovery” Rule: There is an exception to the statute of limitations if you did not become aware of the harm and could not have discovered it through reasonable diligence. Under the discovery rule, you have two years to file a lawsuit. In no case can you initiate litigation more than four years after the incident.
- Procedural Statutes: Informed consent cases are subject to very strict rules about pre-suit investigations, filings, and obtaining the written opinion of a medical expert. If you do not meet these requirements, your case may be dismissed.
Trust Our Florida Informed Consent Lawyers to Assist with Your Claim
To learn more about the laws and legal concepts that apply to medical malpractice cases, please call 813.223.7849 or go online to reach Greco & Wozniak P.A. We can schedule a no-cost case review to discuss details at our Tampa, FL offices.