In laymen’s terms, the statute of limitations means the allotted amount a time a person has to file an action legally. Determining the length of the statute of limitations in a lawsuit is one of the first steps in a case. Every state determines how the statute of limitations works. It is up to the state to decide how long someone has to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations may look different for medical malpractice and premises liability, and these might limitations may look different in California and Florida. It’s essential to keep in mind that the statute of limitations is only for one state and one type of case.
Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
For Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from the discovery of the incident. Discovery means obtaining the initial information that medical malpractice took place. For example, if a doctor amputated the wrong hand accidentally, this malpractice would be discovered the moment the patient woke up. This means the patient would have two years to file a medical malpractice claim from the date of the surgery.
However, other medical malpractice scenarios are not immediately discoverable. Say a doctor forgot to take a medical instrument out before they closed the wound. The patient may not realize they are walking around with a screw in their side for weeks. If the patient comes back and the doctor finds the screw, the patient now has two years from the date of discovery to file the claim.
The only catch here is that no action can be taken later than four years from the initial occurrence of the accident. If the patient did not find the screw for four years, they could no longer file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is even though the initial discovery happened four years after the event.
Click here to learn how you can know if you have a medical malpractice case.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Anomalies
Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations may extend longer. These anomalies include:
- Medical malpractice involving a minor under the age of eight.
Children might not show the symptoms of malpractice for an extended period. For example, brain injuries that result from medical malpractice involving delivery may not be discoverable until the child is older. For this reason, a family may file action from two years of discovery for any medical malpractice that occurred to their child while he or she is under the age of eight.
- Medical malpractice involving intentional fraud or concealment.
A Florida medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed within seven years of the occurrence if a practice gave intentionally concealed or fraudulent information. This means if fraud or concealment was a part of someone’s medical malpractice situation, they gain an extra three years from the date of occurrence to file suit legally.
Determining Your Statute of Limitations
As you can see, determining the statute of limitations is not easy. If you need assistance in identifying if you have a medical malpractice case, we can help. Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. is a Miami personal injury law firm that gets results for those who suffer from medical malpractice. Just recently, our firm secured a $15,000,000 verdict for a minor client who obtained cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice. Our medical malpractice attorneys have secured millions of dollars for clients who had no other option than to fight for their rights.
If you need immediate answers concerning any medical malpractice case, contact our firm now for guidance and peace of mind. Call (305) 770-6335 for a free consultation concerning your case.