Medical professionals usually try their best to take care of their patients. Even so, medical malpractice contributes to thousands of injuries and deaths every year. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s negligent actions, you may be interested in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Compensation may be awarded includes economic losses and pain and suffering. Instances of medical malpractice may be egregious, such as that of Allan Navarro, a Florida man who suffered after doctors misdiagnosed him in the emergency room. The misdiagnosis led Navarro to be in a coma for three months and suffer from life-changing brain and spinal cord injuries that rendered Navarro permanently disabled. Navarro received over $100 million for lost wages and pain and suffering.
There may be a range of consequences for the patient after an instance of medical malpractice, which may be temporarily or permanently life changing. It is important to hire an experienced trial attorney so that you receive the full compensation that you deserve, as well as hold the medical professional(s) accountable.
The Medical Negligence Statute of Limitations
The strict procedural requirements in the Florida Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Reform Act reflects a legislative determination to limit frivolous claims, promote settlement, and reduce the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. To this end, the two-year statute of limitations serves as a potential bar to causes of action by claimants of medical malpractice. Under Florida law, ordinary negligence causes of action are subject to a four-year statute of limitations. However, following an increasing trend among other states, Florida has codified a two year statute of limitations for medical malpractice causes of action, with a four year statute of repose, and a seven year maximum cap for cases that involve fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation by a prospective defendant health care provider.
Is It Medical Malpractice?
Pivotal as to whether the act applies is whether the case is even one of medical malpractice, thus warranting the stricter procedural rules. This requires a determination of whether the cause of action arose from the rendering of, or failure to render, medical care or services by a health care provider. If the prospective defendant is a health care provider, certain pre-suit requirements are triggered under the act such as a pre-suit investigation and pre-suit notice. The statutory classification under F.S. §766.101(2)(b) lists “health care providers” to include licensed physicians, osteopaths, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists, or hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. Although the act does not define “prospective defendants” to whom pre-suit notice has to be given, that term refers to defendants in medical malpractice actions who are health care providers or who, although not expressly included within that class, are vicariously liable for acts of health care providers.
Pre-Suit Requirements: Investigation and Notice
The first step for counsel facing a potential medical malpractice claim is to conduct a pre-suit investigation. The purpose of the pre-suit investigation is to determine which defendants are truly liable for negligence as health care providers. During this phase, petition should be made to the relevant court and for statute of limitations purposes, an automatic 90-day extension will be granted during this pre-suit investigation. The petition for the 90-day extension need not specifically name a prospective defendant. Counsel otherwise may be encouraged to name every potential defendant whether remotely meritorious or not, and then drop those clearly not indicated or keep them, in hope that some liability will be found in effectively advocating for the client. The 90-day period is also intended to encourage settlement prior to initiating litigation if possible.
Once the pre-suit investigation is underway, counsel for the plaintiff must give each prospective defendant notice of intent to initiate litigation before filing suit in court. Once the notice of intent is mailed to a potential defendant, no lawsuit may be filed during this 90-day period. During this pre-suit investigation period, the defendant’s insurer also must investigate and determine any liability of its insured. Parties must conduct informal discovery as well and cooperate fully and in good faith with their insurer. If either party fails to follow the pre-suit notice, investigation, and discovery procedures, the court may dismiss any claims or defenses.
Why hire Clayton Trial Lawyers for your Medical Malpractice lawsuit
Many families have trusted Clayton Trial Lawyers with their medical malpractice claims. During your case evaluation with Clayton Trial Lawyers, we will provide you with personalized guidance regarding which damages you’re entitled to recover, as well as how we can ensure you and your family receive the full compensation you deserve.