How Does Florida Tort Reform Affect Medical Malpractice Claims?
If you are not in the legal field or insurance industry, you may not be aware of several new tort reform laws that affect personal injury cases based upon negligence. In March 2023, Florida lawmakers enacted a measure that modifies and adds to several of the statutory sections that typically apply to accident claims. A big change is the statute of limitations, which was reduced from 4 to 2 years. Plaintiffs have less time to file a lawsuit, and the clock starts to run the date of the incident.
Even though medical malpractice is considered a type of personal injury case, these changes do not directly impact claims of negligence by health care providers. The statute of limitations for med mal has been 2 years for some time. However, claims involving misdiagnosis of a medical condition may trigger another law, Florida’s discovery rule. A Tampa diagnosis errors lawyer can explain how it may give you extra time to file a lawsuit in some situations, and an overview is helpful.
Application of the Discovery Rule: The statute of limitations for med mal does not change with the recent tort reform, and neither does a key aspect of the law: The discovery rule. This concept states that a patient can bring an action for medical malpractice within two years after the incident giving rise to the claim is discovered, or should have been discovered through due diligence. With application of the law, it is possible to file a suit up to four years after the occurrence of med mal. The statute also allows up until a child turns 8 years old, an important extension of time for birth injuries claims.
The discovery rule affects all medical malpractice cases, but it is used quite frequently with claims involving diagnosis errors. When a health care provider issues a wrong diagnosis or does not diagnose the condition at all, the patient may not know about an ailment for some time. Having additional time under the discovery rule means a plaintiff can still hold a physician accountable for diagnosis mistakes.
Impacts from Diagnostic Mistakes: An error in the diagnosis process affects every decision, procedure, treatment, and other action health care providers take. The consequences of a misdiagnosis are horrific for the patient:
For a wrong diagnosis, physicians may create a care plan that includes harsh, unnecessary treatment with significant side effects. With a false-positive cancer diagnosis, a patient may undergo radiation, chemotherapy, or invasive surgery.
When a provider fails to diagnose a medical condition, the patient does not get the proper care he or she needs. Some ailments, including cancer, can become terminal without treatment. With other conditions, the trauma to the patient may involve severe, chronic pain and discomfort.
Our Tampa, FL Diagnosis Errors Attorneys Will Assist with Remedies
The effects of misdiagnosis can be devastating, so trust our team at Greco & Wozniak P.A. to pursue your remedies under med mal laws. You can set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Tampa, FL by calling 813.223.7849 or visiting our website.