Medical malpractice generally occurs when, through negligence or omission, a hospital or medical care provider causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice claims can arise for a variety of reasons, including misdiagnosis or failure to treat. Injuries from medical malpractice can cause significant and lasting injuries, often altering a person’s life forever.
Victims of medical malpractice can file a lawsuit to recover financially for their injuries. If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be wondering how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida.
It is crucial to note that you do not have forever to file your claim, and there is a strict time restriction placed on your ability to file your lawsuit.
When you are ready to file your medical malpractice lawsuit, Grossman Attorneys at Law is here to help you every step of the way.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law imposing a specific time restraint on a plaintiff’s ability to file a lawsuit. While you may still be able to file your lawsuit after the time has run, it is unlikely your claim will succeed.
In most cases, you might file your claim, but upon discovering the statute has run, the defense will bring this to the attention of the judge. The judge will then dismiss your claim.
Generally, if a plaintiff fails to file their claim within the specified time, they forfeit their right to compensation for their injuries. To avoid losing your right to recovery, it is essential that you speak with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you begin working on your claim, the better.
The Florida Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
The statute of limitations in Florida for medical malpractice is two years from the date of the malpractice or discovery of the injury. Medical malpractice can be evident right away, but in some cases, the injury may take some time to reveal itself.
For example, if a patient was set to have their right hip replaced but the doctor instead replaced the left hip, the malpractice would immediately be known. But for instance, if a patient’s medical testing indicated cancer and the doctor failed to diagnose it before the cancer spread, the malpractice may not immediately be known.
Medical malpractice cases are unique, and every case is different. Be sure to discuss your case with a qualified medical malpractice attorney right away.
The Medical Malpractice Statute of Repose
The typical statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years, but Florida also has a statute of repose.
The statute of repose states that unless there is fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation, a medical professional may absolutely not be sued for medical malpractice more than four years from the date of the malpractice, even if it is not discovered until later.
The statute may be extended for up to seven years only if the plaintiff can prove fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation. Therefore, even if a plaintiff had no way of knowing of the malpractice or their injuries within the four years, once the four-year timeframe has passed, they will likely be unable to recover financially.
Claims Involving Minor Children
If a child under the age of eight is the victim of medical malpractice, the usual statute of limitations does not apply.
In these cases, medical malpractice may take years to discover, and the injury may not be apparent until the child begins to get older. Thus, the limitation periods applicable to medical malpractice cannot bar a claim brought on behalf of a child before their eighth birthday.
Florida Medical Malpractice Caps
Florida law once imposed caps on damages for medical malpractice claims, including a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages for claims against medical professionals and a $1 million cap on non-economic damages involving death.
However, these caps have now been deemed unconstitutional, and there are no longer caps for damages in medical malpractice claims.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
Determining which statute of limitations applies to your case can be extremely confusing.
Additionally, it is important to act quickly to avoid the running of time and the unintentional forfeiture of your right to recovery. If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, discuss your case with a proficient Florida medical malpractice attorney.
Your lawyer will be able to review the details of your case and answer any questions you may have. If you have a claim, your attorney will begin working on your case right away, aiming to get you the best possible outcome.
Consult with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
We are advocates for patients and their rights. We are here for you night and day. We’ll help you get the care you need in addition to handling your legal claim.
We take medical malpractice claims on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay upfront or hourly fees. Instead, we don’t receive payment until we obtain compensation.