FAQ's: Your Questions Answered
A statute of limitations is a boundary set by the state’s laws mandating how long an injured party has after the injury occurred to bring a claim. Florida’s statute of limitations have a two-year mandate for medical negligence cases. This usually means that the lawsuit can only be filed within two years from the time the patient, family member, or guardian knew or should have known that the injury occurred, and where there was a reasonable possibility that medical malpractice caused it.
Florida also carries a “statute of repose,” another harsh provision in its civil laws. A statute of repose means that absent fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation, a person cannot sue a health care provider after four years have passed. This law effectively nullifies the injured party’s ability to file a claim regardless of the injured party’s knowledge of negligent wrongdoing. For example, if a person has surgery to amputate a limb and the doctor amputates the wrong limb, the mistake will be apparent immediately. In this case, the patient would only have 2 years to bring the claim. On the other hand, consider a case in which a person walks out of the hospital following a routine surgery with a scalpel still in his abdomen. This person could lead a normal life for the next few years without noticing any issues. Years later, perhaps because of an auto accident or some other trauma, the scalpel repositions and punctures the person’s lungs, causing unbelievable pain and serious injury. Despite the fact that the statute of limitations is only 2 years because the patient was unaware and could not have known about the scalpel left inside, this person would have one year remaining to bring a medical malpractice suit before the 4 years “statute of repose” expires against any parties responsible for the scalpel being left inside after the surgery.
Tony’s Law was enacted in 1996 and is applicable to malpractice incidents that occurred after July 1, 1996. Tony’s law states that the 4-year statute of repose cannot prevent a child’s malpractice claim from being heard before the child’s eighth birthday. Beware! If the parents had prior knowledge or should have had prior knowledge of the injury and the malpractice that caused it, the two-year statute can still cut the claim.
Has your child been injured during or before birth as the result of a surgery, medication, or other medical treatment? Do you believe the injury was a product of medical malpractice? If so, you need a medical malpractice attorney that has experience in dealing with birth injury claims. You need experienced and aggressive attorneys like Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys to help fight for the entitlements you deserve. Call us at 800-257-1822 for a free consultation and we will answer any questions and concerns you have. We are here to fight for you!