If you or a loved one were a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Broward County Medical Malpractice attorney for assistance as you seek compensation for the injuries and financial hardship you are facing as a result of the negligence of a medical professional.
Florida Medical Malpractice and Negligence
When a Broward County medical professional who is responsible for your care exhibits negligence or carelessness, serious injury or even death can occur. There are many different forms of negligence recognized by the State of Florida, including:
- Nursing home
- Other medical negligence
There are a variety of ways Florida medical professionals can be negligent, such as:
- A surgeon who neglects to remove surgical tools from the body cavity of the patient before closing the surgical opening
- Paramedics who do not arrive at the scene of the emergency quickly enough due to negligence
- Hospital staff who fail to clean the patient’s room properly, or who fail to dispose of biohazards properly
- Nurses who fail to give the proper amounts of medication, or give a patient incorrect medication
- Nursing homes who do not provide residents with proper hygiene, resulting in painful bed sores and other health issues
Shorter Statute of Limitations for Florida Medical Malpractice
What is a statute of limitations? A statute of limitations is the maximum time that one can wait before filing a lawsuit or it can become barred. If a lawsuit is not filed within the applicable statute of limitation time period an injured person can be forever barred from taking legal action against those responsible for causing his or her injury. The applicable time period varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for most negligence claims is four years; however, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is much shorter. It is generally two years from when the patient either knew, or should have known, that the injury occurred or that there was a reasonable possibility that the injury was caused by medical malpractice.
There is also a different but related statute of repose for medical malpractice claims; which is four years. This complex issue generally means that unless there is fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation, a healthcare provider may not be sued for medical malpractice more than four years after the actual incident of malpractice, regardless of whether the Plaintiff knew or should have known about the injury. As you can see this area can be complex and difficult and if you suspect you are injured as a result of medical malpractice you should seek competent legal advice.
Pre-suit Requirements for Broward County Medical Malpractice
Florida has requirements that must be complied with in order to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. A possible Plaintiff must first follow these very strict pre-suit requirements. If these requirements are not properly followed, the Plaintiff may be barred from bringing any lawsuit.
A simplified and outlined explanation of the Florida pre-suit requirements are:
- The attorney for the injured party must first conduct an investigation to verify that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a medical professional was negligent and that the negligence resulted in injury to the claimant;
- The attorney must get the medical records from health care providers and review these documents;
- All relevant health records must be sent to a medical expert who is a “similar health care provider” for him or her to review;
- This expert must then execute a “verified written medical expert opinion.” This written opinion is essentially an affidavit in which a doctor swears he has reviewed the records and believes there are reasonable grounds to believe the applicable standard of care was not followed and to proceed with claims;
- The attorney for the claimant must then file a “Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation for Medical Negligence,” and attach the expert affidavit. This Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation for Medical Negligence is a document that contains the names of the prospective plaintiffs and defendants and a summary of the claim and injury. This notice must be sent to each prospective defendant, and in some cases, to state agencies.
- After the “Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation for Medical Negligence” is served there is a 90-day “pre-suit investigative period” during which the parties exchange written questions, requests for documents and items, and take unsworn statements.
- At or before the end of the 90 days, the prospective defendant can either (1) reject the claim, (2) make a settlement offer, or (3) make an offer to arbitrate in which liability is deemed admitted and arbitration will be held only on the issue of damages.
As you can see this is a complex area of the law and if you suspect you are injured as a result of medical malpractice you should seek competent legal advice.
Delray Beach Medical Malpractice Attorney
Personal Injury Attorney, Shane M. Farnsworth is a compassionate, yet aggressive and experienced attorney. He is deeply committed to helping you and your family obtain the justice you deserve.
Contact Shane M. Farnsworth, P.A. now to begin your consultation.