Some Crucial Things You Should Know Before Filing A Medical Malpractice Claim In Florida
Medical malpractice arises when a healthcare professional acts in a negligent manner while rendering healthcare services and causes harm to the patient. While we like thinking that when we visit a health institution, healthcare professionals will do their best to treat us with the utmost care, the reality is that there are times when healthcare professionals fail to abide by the set standard of care. There are times when healthcare professionals make negligent mistakes that result in severe injuries and even death. Errors can occur in diagnosis, treatment, or other medical-related services. Unfortunately, medical malpractice can leave a victim with long-lasting consequences. Medical malpractice can leave you struggling with substantial medical expenses.
Fortunately, after suffering injuries due to the negligence of a healthcare provider in Florida, you can file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent party and recover compensation for your injuries and damages. You should contact a qualified attorney if you believe you have a valid medical malpractice claim. But even before you contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney for help with your case, the following are some crucial things you should know:
Statute of Limitations
Under Florida’s statute of limitations, there is a time limit for filing medical malpractice claims. According to Florida Statute 95.11, you have two years from the date you discovered or should have reasonably discovered the harm to file your medical malpractice claim. If an injury was not immediately discoverable, you have up to four years from the date of the medical malpractice to file your Florida claim. This means that if your injury could not have been discovered within four years, your case may be barred if you initiate it more than four years after the date of the medical malpractice.
There are exceptions to this general rule, but these exceptions are limited. For example, your medical malpractice case may be considered if you initiate it after more than four years have passed since the malpractice occurred if the medical professional fraudulently concealed the malpractice. Also, medical malpractice cases involving minors can be heard after four years.
Notice of Intent
If you suffered an injury due to the negligence of a healthcare professional and are considering filing a medical malpractice claim, you are required to serve the negligent party with a “Notice of Intent at least 6 months before the expiration of the statue of limitation.” This is a notice informing the healthcare provider involved in the case of your intention to file a medical malpractice claim against them. This requirement can be found under Florida Statute 766.106. Usually, the Notice of Intent is served after the completion of the presuit investigation. A presuit investigation is an investigation aimed at ascertaining that there are reasonable grounds to believe a defendant was negligent and the defendant’s negligence led to the plaintiff’s injury.
In your Notice of Intent, you must include an affidavit of merit. An affidavit of merit is a statement a qualified medical professional prepares stating the authenticity of a medical malpractice claim. After you provide the Notice of Intent, the negligent healthcare professional has an opportunity to settle your claim without going to court. After the healthcare provider is served, you will undergo a three-month settlement process that will temporarily halt the statute of limitations for your case.
If the defendant refuses to settle, you have sixty days or the remainder of the ninety days to file your case in court, whichever is longer. You also do not have to accept a settlement offer from the defendant if the offer is unreasonable.
Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
Damage caps are laws that have been put in place to limit how much money a plaintiff can recover for their damages. Therefore, damage caps for medical malpractice claims are laws that limit how much money a plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim can recover for their damages. However, in January 2022, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that caps on non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional. Non-economic damages include damages intended to compensate for, among others, pain and suffering, disfigurement, or disability. So while damage caps on non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice claims might exist in statute, they do not exist in practice. There are also no caps on economic damages for medical malpractice cases in Florida. Economic damages include damages intended to compensate for, among others, medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro
If you suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical professional in Florida, contact an experienced Naples personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro. We can help you prepare your case, file your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve. You can contact us by calling 239-329-8577 or filling out our online contact form.