Doctors must follow a set of standards when caring for their patients. Unlike some professionals, when doctors make mistakes or act negligently, the outcome can be costly and can potentially ruin a patient’s life. Medical malpractice refers to medical negligence committed by doctors, nurse practitioners, specialists, and other healthcare providers that results in serious injury to the patient.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to the carelessness or negligence of a doctor, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. If you are considering filing suit against a medical professional, a skilled St. Petersburg medical malpractice lawyer who has the medical knowledge and legal expertise necessary can evaluate your case.
Key Procedural Requirements in Medical Malpractice Cases
There are often special requirements a plaintiff must fulfill before a lawsuit can be filed. Failing to adhere to any requirements could postpone the suit or cause the plaintiff to miss the statute of limitations deadline.
Under Florida Statues section 766.106, the plaintiff must notify each healthcare provider of the intent to file the lawsuit. Also known as a Notice of Claim, the notice must include:
- All healthcare providers that treated them for the injuries stemming from the alleged malpractice
- Copies of all medical records relied on by the plaintiff’s expert medical witness
- All healthcare providers seen by the plaintiff in the last two years prior to the alleged malpractice
The plaintiff must wait at least 90 days after sending the notice before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. During this 90-day period, they can conduct a “presuit investigation” into the claim if they choose to do so. At the end of the 90-day period, the defendant can choose to reject the claim, make a settlement offer, or admit liability.
Statute of Limitations in St. Petersburg
The statute of limitations imposed by Florida State Law is a deadline before which a victim must file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional or healthcare provider. In Florida, a person must file a lawsuit or claim within two years from the date of the injury. If a person does not file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit within that two-year period, they may have lost the opportunity to seek compensatory damages for their injuries.
Florida enforces another time restriction in medical malpractice claims called a statute of repose. Under this law, the injured plaintiff may not sue a medical professional more than four years after the injury occurred. This means that, if an injured plaintiff does not realize that they were the victim of medical malpractice after four years, the law may prevent them from filing a claim or lawsuit.
There are certain exceptions to Florida’s time restrictions including cases where concealment, misrepresentation, or fraud were perpetrated on the medical professional’s behalf. In these cases, the plaintiff may file suit even after the statute of limitations or statute of repose deadlines have expired.
How a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
Compared with other types of civil cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida can be especially complicated. An expert St. Petersburg medical malpractice lawyer who has the experience and skills to navigate these complex rules can help protect your legal rights and fight to obtain just and fair compensation.
To learn more about how an attorney could help you pursue your case, call to set up a free consultation. A compassionate lawyer could listen to your story to help you determine whether you have a viable claim.