There are many doctors and other medical professionals who provide adequate or excellent are to the individuals who come to them for care and treatment. However, even a good doctor can make a mistake that has serious, even fatal, consequences. When this preventable medical mistake has occurred, the victim may experience long-term pain and suffering, may require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, may need modifications to the home and vehicle, and may lose the ability to earn a living. All of these things have a devastating impact on a person’s life, as well as that of his family. It is critical to take prompt action to get compensation to pay for all the harm that was done. In the State of Florida, as with every other state, there are limitations on the time in which a medical malpractice case can be brought. If a person misses this deadline, there is nothing that can be done to recover damages moving forward, regardless of how horrific the mistake made by the medical professional.
Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Under Florida law, a person has two years to file a medical malpractice case. (See Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(b)). The clock starts to run on the date that the act or omission that led to the harm was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered based on the facts available to the victim. This is different from many other states where the time period starts as soon as the act or omission happened, with limited exceptions for delayed discovery. In addition to the two-year limitation, there is an absolute time restriction of four years from the time when the act or omission occurred, referred to as the absolute statute of repose. This means that a person who was harmed by a doctor, but the damage was slow to present or difficult to diagnose, will not be able to maintain an action if he learns of the medical malpractice four years and one day after the damage was done. This does not mean that he cannot try, but merely that the first thing that any defendant is going to do is challenge the filing as being untimely as the statute of limitations has run. The court does not have any discretion in dismissing the case based on this legal restriction.
Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations in Florida
Although most cases fall within the general rules that apply to Florida medical malpractice cases, there are some exceptions that do apply and may extend the time period in which to bring a legal action. If the doctor or other medical professional took active steps to conceal or make misrepresentations about the cause of the harm to the individual or committed some other type of fraud concerning the malpractice, then there is an extension of the time period in which to file. The time period that applies in these cases is two years from the time of actual discovery or the date that the injury would have been discovered if the victim had acted with due diligence. There is an outer limit of seven years from the date of the act or omission that led to the harm. The reason that states place absolute limits on these types of actions is that evidence deteriorates or is destroyed and witnesses’ memories fade. This is why it is so critical to get the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
In addition to the fraud exceptions, if the victim of the malpractice is a minor under the age of eight years, there are special rules that apply. When a minor is injured as the result of medical malpractice, the parents or guardian have until the minor child’s eighth birthday to commence the legal action. As with all other medical malpractice cases, the sooner the case is developed and brought to the courthouse, the easier it will be to find the evidence necessary to prove the malpractice.
Stern Law, PLLC Works Hard to Get Justice for Medical Malpractice Victims
There are many different types of medical malpractice that may change the course of a person’s life, but what is uniform to all of these cases is the need to get the right advocate fighting for the rights of the victim as soon as possible. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney has spent more than 30 years honing the skills necessary to get the best results possible for our clients. We know that compensation is critical for medical malpractice victims to get the treatment that they need, pay the bills that continue to accumulate, and provide some relief for the pain and suffering that they endured. In addition to our skilled legal services, we provide answers for anyone who has been harmed, or believes he may have been harmed, as the result of medical malpractice. We have knowledgeable representatives available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.