Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations
Patients receiving medical treatment have the right to expect that they get care comparable to that which would be provided by a similarly trained doctor in the same circumstances. This is referred to as the “accepted standard of care.” If a medical professional fails to deliver the accepted standard of care and an injury develops, a lawsuit can be filed.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Moody Law can fight to get victims in Lakeland, FL, Winter Haven, FL, and surrounding areas the maximum compensation they are due for their losses. However, it is important that people act quickly. Medical malpractice statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time someone has to file a suit, so time is of the essence.
Filing Deadline for Medical Malpractice
Each state has its own statute of limitations, and those timeframes can vary depending on what type of lawsuit is being filed. In Florida, the basic statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years.
Our clients should understand that the two-year deadline does not necessarily start on the day that a patient receives negligent or substandard medical care. Instead, a person has two years from the date that the harm of medical malpractice becomes known (i.e. the date that an illness or injury is discovered), or two years from the date that medical malpractice harm should have reasonably been discovered.
Individuals considering a medical malpractice lawsuit have some extra leniency because the negative effects of negligent medical care are not always immediately known. This is especially true when a patient is the victim of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. It could take months for patients to discover that a doctor failed to properly diagnose and treat their condition.
Even if people are not immediately aware of the harm that medical malpractice has caused, it is important that they act quickly once injuries are discovered. Florida has a blanket statute of limitations policy for medical malpractice lawsuits. No matter when medical malpractice is discovered, or should reasonably be discovered, a person must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within four years of receiving the negligent medical treatment.
Are There Exceptions?
There are only two exceptions to Florida’s medical malpractice statute of limitations. The first is fraud. If fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevent a person from discovering an injury, then they have two years from the time that the injury is discovered to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, even if fraud delays the discovery of harm, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within seven years of the alleged medical malpractice.
The second exception is medical malpractice cases involving minors under the age of eight. If a parent is filing a medical malpractice suit on behalf of a child who is under eight years old, they have until the child’s eighth birthday to do so, regardless of when the medical malpractice occurred.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to act before the statute of limitations runs out. To discuss your case with the lawyers at Moody Law, serving Lakeland and Winter Haven, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call (863) 284-9090.