What You Should Know About Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims can be some of the most difficult of personal injury claims to prove. Medical malpractice occurs when a care provider’s negligence causes an injury to one of their patients by not adhering to the standard of care. If you are considering a medical malpractice claim in Florida, a few things to keep in mind are the deadlines for filing a lawsuit in court, and the procedural prerequisites for doing so. The Florida Bar Association lays out a lengthy article that goes over everything there is to know about medical malpractice suits, but the key takeaways are their explanations of the State of Limitations and what exactly constitutes medical malpractice:
The Medical Negligence Statute of Limitations
The strict procedural requirements in the Florida Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Reform Act (“the act”) reflects a legislative determination to curtail frivolous claims, promote settlement, and reduce the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. To this end, the two-year statute of limitations serves as a potential bar to causes of action by claimants of medical malpractice.
Under Florida law, ordinary negligence causes of action are subject to a four-year statute of limitations. However, following an increasing trend among other states, Florida has codified a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice causes of action, with a four-year statute of repose, and a seven-year maximum cap for cases that involve fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation by a prospective defendant health care provider. The only exception to this is when the claimant is a minor age eight or younger, in which case the seven-year period does not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday.
Is it Medical Malpractice?
Pivotal as to whether the act applies is whether the case is even one of medical malpractice, thus warranting the stricter procedural rules. This requires a determination of whether the cause of action arose from the rendering of, or failure to render, medical care or services by a health care provider. I f the prospective defendant is a health care provider, certain presuit requirements are triggered under the act such as a presuit investigation and presuit notice. The statutory classification under F.S. §766.101(2)(b) lists “health care providers” to include licensed physicians, osteopaths, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists, or hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. Although the act does not define “prospective defendants” to whom presuit notice must be given, that term refers to defendants in medical malpractice actions who are health care providers or who, although not expressly included within that class, are vicariously liable for acts of health care providers.
To read the full article, click here.