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In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years from when the patient (or a family member, parent, or guardian) either knew or should have known that the injury exists and there is a plausible possibility that it was caused by medical malpractice. For example, for an injury discovered on January 1, 2016, you must file a Florida medical malpractice claim by January 1, 2018.
Medical malpractice law concentrates on, among other things, the liability or responsibility of a hospital, doctor, or other medical personnel in regards to how they provide medical care and treatment. Because a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider's carelessness, or negligence, can cause catastrophic results for the patient, there is no wonder that compensation for medical malpractice cases is some of the largest of all personal injury cases. However, considering the complex nature of these cases, you should act as quickly as possible to increase the chance for success and avoid evidence going stale or having the Statute of Limitations prevent you from bringing a claim.
In the USA, each state has a law known as the "Statute of Limitations", which refers to the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit after an incident happens. In general terms, a Statute of Limitations is like an expiration date since there is only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit after an incident occurs. These deadlines differ depending on the state, the type of case, and other factors; however, what is very important to note is that if you fail to file a lawsuit before the Statute of Limitations expires, you will likely lose your opportunity to sue for that incident.
Under Florida law, the statute of limitations for common negligence causes of action is of four years.
The Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice in Florida states that:
"An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child's eighth birthday."
See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11.
This means that, in general, a person only has only two years from the date of the malpractice incident to file a lawsuit in Florida unless an exception applies to extend the Statute.
The statute of repose is a rule different from the statute of limitations, saying that a healthcare provider may not be sued for medical malpractice more than four years after the date of an actual incident of malpractice.
However, for cases that involve fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation by a prospective defendant health care provider, the maximum cap is of seven years.
Whichever statute expires first, either the two-year statute of limitations or the statute of repose, it will block the claim at that time even if the other statute has not expired yet.
The only exception to the statute of repose is when the claimant is a child age eight or younger, in which case the seven-year period does not obstruct an action brought for a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday.
Having in mind these regulations, it is very important to contact us at our Miami based office to review your case as soon as possible following an incident of alleged malpractice. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer, who can study the applicable law and gather the facts and evidence related to your claim is vitally important to increase your chance for success in Court. This can also help get your case settled in your favor.