Being injured by a medical professional can leave you with long-term injuries and ongoing medical care. In certain cases, your loved one may have died unexpectedly. You may be uncertain about the future and wonder how long a medical malpractice lawsuit takes.
During these times, you need help from our experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Tampa, Florida, whom you can rely on and trust to protect your interests and ensure the responsible party is held accountable for their actions.
Florida’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida is outlined in Section 95.11(4)(b) of the Florida Statutes. According to this law:
- The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the date when the alleged malpractice occurred or should have been discovered
- When the injury was not immediately apparent, there is a four-year statute of repose from the date when the negligence occurred, regardless of whether it was discoverable at that time
- There are exceptions to these deadlines in certain situations involving fraud, concealment, misrepresentation, or minors under the age of eight
What is a statute of repose?
A statute of repose is a legal term that sets an absolute deadline or time limit for a lawsuit, regardless of when the injury or harm was discovered. Unlike the statute of limitations, which typically starts counting down from the date of the injury, a statute of repose provides an outer time limit after which no claims can be brought.
This means even if you discover your injuries beyond two years, as long as it is within four years from the date of the negligence, you may still have grounds to file medical malpractice in Florida.
Medical malpractice lawsuit timeline
The timeline of a medical malpractice lawsuit can vary depending on the specifics of the case. However, here is a generalized breakdown:
- Investigation: This involves gathering evidence to support your malpractice claim. It may include obtaining medical records, consulting with medical experts, and interviewing witnesses.
- Proving standard of care: To establish medical negligence, you must demonstrate that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care
- Proving damages: You will need to provide evidence showing you suffered actual harm as a result of the alleged malpractice
- Written opinion by a medical expert: Before filing a lawsuit, you may be required to obtain a written statement from a medical expert supporting your malpractice claim
- Notifying the defendant: You must formally notify the defendant of your intent to file a malpractice lawsuit
- Response from the defendant’s insurance company: The defendant’s insurance company typically has 90 days to respond to the notice of intent to sue. They may accept or deny liability, propose a settlement, or request additional information.
- Discovery phase: This phase typically includes interrogatories, the production of documents, depositions, expert witness testimony, and requests for admission
- Settlement: Both parties may have the opportunity to negotiate and potentially reach a settlement. Settlement negotiations can occur throughout the litigation process, including during or after discovery or even during trial before a verdict is reached.
- Trial: If a settlement is not reached, the case proceeds to trial before a judge and jury
The average medical malpractice lawsuit time estimate
The duration of a medical malpractice lawsuit can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the case’s complexity, the availability of evidence, whether the negligent party is willing to settle and avoid trial, and the court’s schedule. On average, a medical malpractice lawsuit may take one to three years to resolve.
How long does it take to receive a medical malpractice settlement?
The timeline for receiving a medical malpractice settlement can vary. Generally, once a settlement agreement is reached, it can take several weeks to months to finalize all the necessary paperwork and complete the administrative procedures.
For lump sum settlements, you may expect to receive the full amount shortly after both parties involved sign and process all required documents. Any outstanding liens or claims against the settlement amount are paid, with the proceeds going to you.
If you opt for a structured annuity settlement, the compensation is paid in periodic installments rather than as one lump sum payment. The structured annuity will define the frequency and duration of the payments, which can span several years or even a lifetime.
Have you been injured due to medical negligence or malpractice?
Medical negligence and medical malpractice are related terms that refer to different aspects of a healthcare provider’s actions or omissions in the context of patient care. Here is the difference between them:
- Medical negligence: Medical negligence refers to a breach of duty by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or technician. It involves their failure to meet the standard of care expected from reasonably competent medical practitioners under similar circumstances. In other words, it signifies an act or omission demonstrating a lack of reasonable skill or judgment.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice goes beyond mere negligence and involves legal implications. It occurs when a healthcare professional’s negligent action or omission leads to harm or injury to the patient and gives rise to a cause of action for compensation. Medical malpractice requires the following elements:
- Duty: The healthcare professional has a duty to provide care to the patient
- Breach: The healthcare professional breached that duty by deviating from the applicable standard of care
- Causation: The breach of duty caused harm or injury to the patient
- Damages: The patient suffered damages as a result
Common medical negligence causes
Medical negligence can occur in various ways and in different healthcare settings. Some common causes of medical negligence include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Failure in emergency room care
- Anesthesia errors
- Nursing home neglect
Damages you may be entitled to
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to various types of damages depending on the specifics of your case and Florida laws, including:
- Economic damages: These are financial losses incurred as a result of the malpractice, such as medical expenses and lost wages
- Non-economic damages: These are subjective losses that do not have an exact monetary value but aim to compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible harms
- Punitive damages: In cases where the healthcare provider’s actions are deemed incredibly reckless or intentionally harmful, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future
- Wrongful death damages: If medical malpractice results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and more
Contact Jack Bernstein’s medical malpractice attorneys
If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, do not hesitate to take action. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are ready to listen to your case, provide expert guidance, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
FLA. STAT. § 94.11(4)(b). (2023).
FLA. STAT. § 766.118. (2023).