Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s actions or inactions cause a person harm or death. Medical malpractice encompasses failing to maintain professional standards, failing to deliver an acceptable standard of care, or delivering the wrong care. Examples include failing to order tests to confirm the source of a patient’s symptoms, doctor errors, hospital injuries or infections, or giving patients the wrong type or amount of medication.
Florida’s medical malpractice laws allow victims to file a civil lawsuit against the medical professional whose negligence caused harm. In some cases, victims can sue a medical facility, such as a hospital, when the facility’s actions or inactions result in inadequate treatment, inappropriate care, illness, or injury.
You may wonder if you have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice case and how long you have to file a claim. Florida’s medical malpractice laws explain who has grounds to sue and how long you have to sue after experiencing medical malpractice.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time victims have to take legal action. It establishes a deadline for pursuing legal action. States set the statute of limitations for criminal and civil matters.
For example, Florida requires car accident injury victims to file their cases no more than 48 months after the accident. In comparison, Florida gives victims of breach of contract 60 months to file a suit but sets the statute of limitations for a first-degree misdemeanor as 24 months.
It can be challenging to address legal matters long after an incident occurs. Witnesses may move or pass away, and evidence may be tainted or destroyed. Lawsuits can damage reputations and consume the court’s time. The statute of limitations ensures every person has a reasonable amount of time to pursue legal action and gives them a better chance of locating witnesses and evidence to support their case.
Florida’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice applies state-wide, from Pensacola to Jacksonville, down to Tampa and Miami, and everywhere in between. Suppose you’ve suffered because of medical malpractice, or you’re the parent of a minor child who was the victim. In that case, Florida gives you two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The 24-month time limit begins when the victim learns of the medical malpractice. This window begins when the malpractice is discovered instead of when it occurred because the victim may not be aware of the malpractice until several weeks or months have passed.
Suppose you have to have surgery. The surgeon accidentally leaves an instrument inside your body. You have limited mobility following your surgery, and assume the pain you feel is normal. However, your recovery doesn’t progress as expected, and your pain doesn’t subside. Tests eventually reveal you have a medical instrument inside your body. Depending on the instrument’s size and location, you may need emergency surgery to remove it.
Timing the statute of limitations from when you discovered the malpractice instead of when it occurred gives you time to learn about the malpractice and receive treatment to correct the injury, if possible, before taking legal action.
The statute of limitations time limit usually begins when an incident occurs. For example, the deadline for filing a personal injury claim for car accident injuries begins counting down on the accident’s date.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice doesn’t follow that rule. The statute of limitations gives medical malpractice victims two years from the date they learned about their injuries. In some cases, medical malpractice isn’t immediately evident, which is why the discovery rule adjusts the deadline.
Two deadlines apply to Florida medical malpractice cases. Victims have two years from the discovery date but must also file no more than 48 months from the date the medical malpractice occurred.
The statute of repose prevents claimants from filing medical malpractice cases more than 48 months after the malpractice occurred unless the cases involve one or more of the following exceptions:
The amount of time victims have to file medical malpractice cases involving concealment, fraud, and misrepresentation extends from four to seven years from the date of the incident and from 24 to 48 months from the discovery date.
Claimants must initiate a lawsuit no more than 24 months after the date they discovered the medical malpractice or 48 months from when the malpractice occurred unless their case involves one of the exceptions to the statute of repose.
Once the statute of limitations expires, claimants cannot take legal action against the medical professional or facility.
Health matters are often severe and stressful. Legal matters can also be complex and frustrating. Since dealing with a health crisis can be overwhelming, the last thing you need is to feel like you have to figure out your legal situation on your own.
When you contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, you can be confident you’ll receive expert legal advice from medical malpractice attorneys with years of experience. Our medical malpractice attorneys are your allies. You can prioritize your physical recovery while our team gathers evidence and builds your legal case.
We’re here to answer your legal questions, explain your options, and fight to get you a fair settlement. We’ll help you calculate how much compensation to seek to ensure you get the maximum amount available.
You won’t have to worry about legal fees while we work on your case. We offer free consultations, and you won’t have to worry about paying a legal bill until we win your case.
Bieber, C. (2023). Florida Medical Malpractice Statute Of Limitations.
Goguen, D. (2023). What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Florida?
Mikulic, M. (2021). Medication error reporting revenue globally 2016-2026.