Florida’s Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases
Each day, doctors across the nation are entrusted to diagnose and treat a variety of problems, ranging from the common cold to complex illnesses or disease and serious injuries. While many physicians take all of the necessary steps to ensure the best treatment possible, others do not provide the necessary standard of care, often unintentionally. The consequences of instances of medical malpractice can be detrimental. If you or someone you know has suffered damages due to medical malpractice, you need to know the time period in which you must file a suit, in order to preserve your claim.
Statute of Limitations Explained
Generally, a two-year statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice claims. The statute of limitations sets forth the maximum time period in which parties who have standing may bring a claim. The statute of limitations may begin to run in the following instances:
(1) the time in which the incident of medical malpractice occurs;
(2) the time in which the medical malpractice is discovered; or
(3) the time in which the medical malpractice should have been discovered.
Although the time periods set forth above may vary, the statute provides that an injured party must bring a medical malpractice action within four years from the time in which the incident occurs. If the injured party did not bring the cause of action within the required time period, there may be limited instances in which the individual may still be entitled to bring a claim.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The state of Florida allows individuals to bring medical malpractice claims if the individual’s case falls under one of the following scenarios:
Child under the age of eight. A party with standing may bring a cause of action on behalf of a child until the child reaches the age of eight, regardless of when the incident of malpractice occurred.
Fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. To extend the limitations period under this exception, the injured party must be able to show that the defendant’s wrongdoing prevented the discovery of the injury. A successful showing of wrongdoing will allow the injured party to bring a claim for up to seven years after the incident of medical malpractice occurs.
Concealment in the state. In the event a defendant conceals their whereabouts so that an injured party cannot serve them with a complaint, the statute of limitations will be tolled. This means that the statute of limitations will not run against the injured party during the time period in which the defendant’s whereabouts are concealed.
Incapacity. If an injured party was deemed incapacitated by a court prior to the instance of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations period will be tolled. However, despite any incapacity, the injured party must bring the action within seven years of the date in which the medical malpractice occurred.
Let Us Help You
The statute of limitations is the most important factor to any medical malpractice case. Although there may be a valid claim for medical malpractice, a cause of action cannot succeed without strict compliance with the statutory time periods set forth in the statute. If you or someone you know believes that there is a claim for medical malpractice, contact the Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. in Port St. Lucie today. Our skilled attorneys are experienced in personal injury matters and are ready to obtain the relief you deserve. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.