Under Florida law, there is what is called the statute of limitations for various types of legal actions upon which one can sue. Medical malpractice cases have a specific statute of limitations of exactly two years, for most cases. If you have questions about which legal time-frames apply to your situation, ask a skilled medical malpractice attorney for more information.
Fortunately, there is no concern about a trial going beyond the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations. The biggest concern associated with this legal deadline is simply filing a case before the statute of limitation expires. After a claimant has initiated litigation, adhering to this time-frame should no longer be an issue.
Different Statute of Limitations for Different Cases
Different kinds of cases can have either a longer or a shorter timeframe for filing. In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is gnerally two years, but four years for a personal injury case and products liability cases.
Some situations also entail a statute of repose for certain types of actions. Medical malpractice cases have a statute of repose of four years. This means that the statute of limitations does not begin until the injured party or the estate actually recognizes that the damages have occurred, as long as they do so within four years.
They must also reasonably believe there is a probability or possibility of medical negligence being the origin of their injuries. Those two components have to come together before the statute of limitations actually begins, but no action can be brought after four years from the date of the injury.
Cases Involving Minors
In the state of Florida, the statute of repose is a bit different for medical malpractice cases involving minors. A minor has a statute of repose of seven years because some child or birth injuries may not become apparent until later on in their development. For this reason, the legislature gives them additional time to bring civil claims against negligent physicians.
An Attorney can Help You Adhere to the Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
It is advisable to retain the services of a skilled lawyer for help with meeting these strict legal deadlines. A local medical malpractice lawyer would be familiar with the unique nuances of Florida courts. Legal counsel typically must examine individual circumstances to determine when the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations actually began. Oftentime, the defense will argue that the statute of limitations began on the date of the plaintiff’s injury, but that is not always true. A legal representative would have to look at when their client first started thinking about whether negligent medical malpractice in particular actually caused their damages.
It is an attorney’s responsibility to walk them through their history and determine at what point they thought that medical malpractice caused their injuries in order to discern when the statute of limitations actually began. Of course, having additional knowledge about how the statute of repose works would allow an attorney to advise when a claimant’s complaint should be filed to help them adhere to that time-frame as well.