Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in harm or injury.
Legal Standard for Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
In Florida, medical malpractice claims are governed by a legal standard known as the “reasonable person” standard. This means that healthcare providers are expected to provide care that a reasonable person in their position would provide. When a healthcare provider fails to meet this standard and causes harm or injury to a patient, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Victims’ Rights in Florida Medical Malpractice Claims
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical malpractice, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. This may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injuries.
Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida
In Florida, if you are a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses. The types of damages that are available in a Florida medical malpractice case include:
- Economic Damages: These are the actual monetary losses that you have suffered as a result of the medical malpractice. Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost wages or income, and any other expenses related to your injury.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are intended to compensate you for the non-monetary losses that you have suffered, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, punitive damages may be available in Florida medical malpractice cases. Punitive damages are intended to punish the healthcare provider for their reckless or intentional conduct, rather than compensate the victim. However, punitive damages are only available in cases where the healthcare provider’s conduct was particularly egregious.
The caps on damages in medical malpractice cases in Florida have been a subject of ongoing legal debate and have undergone some changes over the years. The Florida Supreme Court has struck down some of the earlier caps on damages as unconstitutional, and as of 2021, there are no specific caps on damages in Florida medical malpractice cases, except for punitive damages.
Overall, the damages that may be available in a Florida medical malpractice case will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. It is important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options and the potential damages that you may be entitled to.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Florida
In Florida, there are strict deadlines for filing medical malpractice claims. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida is generally two years from the date of the injury or from the date that the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, with reasonable diligence. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and it is important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines.
In some cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida can be extended. There are several circumstances that can toll or extend the statute of limitations, including:
- Discovery Rule: If the patient did not discover and could not reasonably have discovered their injury within the standard two-year statute of limitations, then the discovery rule may apply. This rule extends the statute of limitations until the patient knew, or should have known, about the injury.
- Minor Children: If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the child turns 8 years old. This means that the two-year statute of limitations would not begin until the child reaches the age of 8.
- Fraud, Misrepresentation, or Concealment: If the healthcare provider fraudulently concealed the malpractice, the statute of limitations may be extended. For example, if the healthcare provider intentionally withheld information from the patient, preventing them from discovering the injury, then the statute of limitations may be tolled until the patient discovered, or should have discovered, the injury.
- Foreign Objects: If a foreign object, such as a surgical instrument or sponge, was left inside the patient’s body during a medical procedure, the statute of limitations may be extended to one year from the date that the object was discovered, or should have been discovered, with reasonable diligence.
It is important to note that the circumstances that can extend the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida are complex, and it is best to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine your rights and options. If you suspect that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is essential to act quickly to protect your rights and preserve your legal options.
Pre-suit Requirements for Medical Malpractice in Florida
Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida, there are pre-suit requirements that must be met. This includes obtaining an expert opinion from a qualified healthcare provider who practices in the same field as the healthcare provider who caused your injuries. This expert opinion must support your claim of medical malpractice and demonstrate that the healthcare provider breached the reasonable person standard of care. Failure to properly comply with these requirements may result in the dismissal of your case.
Below are the steps to complete the pre-suit requirements for a medical malpractice claim in Florida:
Step 1: Notify the Healthcare Provider
The first step in the pre-suit process is to notify the healthcare provider of your intent to pursue a medical malpractice claim. This notification must be made in writing and must include a brief statement of the facts that form the basis of your claim. The healthcare provider has 90 days to respond to the notification.
Step 2: Obtain an Expert Opinion
After notifying the healthcare provider, you must obtain an expert opinion from a qualified healthcare provider who practices in the same field as the healthcare provider who caused your injuries. This expert must provide a written opinion that supports your claim of medical malpractice and demonstrates that the healthcare provider breached the reasonable person standard of care.
Step 3: Conduct a Pre-suit Investigation
Once you have obtained the expert opinion, you and your attorney must conduct a pre-suit investigation to determine the merits of your claim. This investigation may include reviewing medical records, consulting with other experts, and conducting depositions.
Step 4: Serve a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation
If the pre-suit investigation indicates that your claim has merit, the next step is to serve a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation on the healthcare provider. This notice must include a detailed statement of the facts that form the basis of your claim, a copy of the expert opinion, and an affidavit of counsel stating that a reasonable investigation has been conducted and that there is a good faith belief that the healthcare provider breached the reasonable person standard of care. After the 90-day pre-suit period is over, the potential defendant has three options: reject the claim, make a settlement offer, or submit an offer to arbitrate just the damages question.
Step 5: File a Lawsuit
If a settlement is not reached during pre-suit, the final step is to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is generally two years from the date of the injury or from the date that the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, with reasonable diligence.
It is important to note that the pre-suit process for medical malpractice claims in Florida can be complex and time-consuming. It is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights.
Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice in Florida, do not hesitate to contact a qualified attorney who specializes in medical malpractice claims. With my experience and knowledge in this area of law, I can help you pursue the compensation you deserve and hold healthcare providers accountable for their actions. Contact my office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.
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