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Florida Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages

UPDATED: June 19, 2018

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When a patient has been injured by the medical negligence of a health care provider, Florida law allows for the recovery of damages through medical malpractice suits. A health care or medical care provider who acts below the industry standard of care and, in doing so, injures a patient, has committed medical negligence. A health care provider that is found to be medically negligent is liable to the injured patient for economic, noneconomic, and sometimes punitive damages. Common actions leading to a medical malpractice suit in Florida are:

  1. Wrongful death of the patient due to medical negligence;
  2. Incorrect treatment or failure to treat;
  3. Harm to the patient due to negligence during surgery or other medical procedure;
  4. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose;
  5. Harm to a patient or infant during birth.

A patient should immediately contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney if they believe that they have been injured by the negligent acts of a health care provider.

Who Can Be Sued in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?

Any health care provider that is negligent may be held liable for medical malpractice. In Florida, a health care provider can include any licensed individual or entity that provides medical treatment or services to patients. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, psychologists, clinics, and medical groups are all examples of health care providers.

Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

In Florida, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies depending on when the injury was discovered, or if the victim of medical negligence is an adult or a minor. If the injury is discovered at the time the negligent act or omission occurs, then a claim must be filed within two years of the act or omission. However, if the injury is discovered after the negligent act or omission, then the claim must be filed within two years of the date of the discovery, or the date the discovery should have reasonably taken place. However, in no circumstances may a claim be filed more than four years after the date of the negligent act or omission. The statute of limitations is further extended if the injured party is a minor. For more information on the statute of limitations for Florida medical malpractice claims, contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney in your area.

Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida

Noneconomic damages, including damages for pain and suffering, are generally limited by Florida statute to $500,000 per plaintiff, unless the negligence occurred in emergency services, in which case the noneconomic damages are limited to $150,000. This is applicable even in cases where there are several defendants. There are exceptions providing for medical negligence resulting in the death of the patient, or the patient ending up in a vegetative state. In these cases, noneconomic damages can reach $1,000,000. There are also exceptions that provide for the negligence of a non-practitioner. If a patient is injured by a non-practitioner’s negligence, damages are elevated to $750,000. A non-practitioner is typically someone who is not licensed to perform medical services but does so anyway. Because each medical malpractice case is different, a Florida medical malpractice attorney should be contacted to determine the value of a particular case.

Filing a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim

Hiring a Florida medical malpractice attorney to handle a claim is extremely important to the outcome of acase. Health care providers will almost always have a team of experienced defense attorneys on their side, and it is inadvisable to defend oneself without an attorney with the same expert knowledge. Further, to show that each medical malpractice claim has merit, Florida requires that the attorney present a certificate showing that a reasonable investigation was performed. Failure to present this certificate could result in the court determining that the claim was brought in bad faith, and therefore should be dismissed. If this happens, the patient is left without an avenue to recover damages. To ensure the best possible outcome for your claim, it's important to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you believe you have been injured.

Florida Medical Malpractice Laws

Florida Medical Malpractice

  1. 2010 Florida Statutes: Torts: Medical Malpractice and Related Matters: Healthcare Providers. Title XLV § 766.1115.
  2. 2010 Florida Statutes: Limitations of Actions: Limitations other than for the recovery of real property. Title VIII § 95.11.
  3. 2010 Florida Statutes: Torts: Medical Malpractice and Related Matters: Determination of noneconomic damages. Title XLV § 766.118.
  4. 2010 Florida Statutes: Torts: Medical Malpractice and Related Matters: Pleading in medical negligence cases; claim for punitive damages. Title XLV § 766.104.

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