Miami & Florida Statute of Limitations Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Imagine the heartbreaking scenario of having an injury caused by a mishap during a medical procedure and collecting enough evidence to finally prove that a negligent doctor was the source of the injury, only to learn that the time has run out to bring a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the possibility of this scenario happening is all too real when it comes to malpractice claims against medical professionals.
Medical malpractice lawsuits, as with most other lawsuits, are subject to a statute of limitations. If the complaint is not filed within a time specified by law, the party wishing to sue may lose that right forever. This means that, regardless of the harm suffered as a result of the malpractice, the party can never recover any type of compensation if a lawsuit is not pursued within the given time frame.
All states set their own limitations on how long a patient (or other party) has to file a medical malpractice claim. In Florida, per Statute 95.11(4)(b), the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is usually:
- 2 years from the time the incident occurred; or
- within 2 years from the time the patient discovered, or should have discovered with the exercise of reasonable diligence, that an injury has occurred.
Because the date that a patient discovers (or should have discovered) the act of negligence can be months, if not years, after the actual date of treatment, an additional limitation is imposed. This limitation is known as a statute of repose, and must always be considered in a medical malpractice claim. Under no circumstances may a healthcare provider be sued for medical malpractice more than 4 years after the actual date of the incident leading to the claim, unless the patient (or other party filing suit) can show that some sort of fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of a fact prevented the discovery of the injury. If fraud has occurred, the period of limitations is extended an additional 2 years. It is possible then, that a patient could have more than 4 years to discover that he has been the victim of medical malpractice and file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover damages.
Statute of Repose and Children
Florida also has a special provision to the statute of repose that applies to children. The statute of repose cannot cut off a child’s malpractice claim before that child’s 8th birthday. It is important to understand, however, that the 2 year statute of limitations can still cut off the child’s claim if it was known (or should have been known) by the child’s parents (or legal guardian) that an injury likely stemming from medical malpractice occurred.
Understandably, these limitations can be confusing, which makes it all the more critical to contact a reputable Florida medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after the medical incident occurs if a patient or a loved one of that patient believes that injuries have been suffered due to negligent medical care.
The lawyers at Pita Weber Del Prado are knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to understanding Florida’s statute of limitations. If you have a potential medical malpractice claim, do not delay. Contact one of our lawyers in Miami to assist you today at (305) 670-8060.