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Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations & Laws (2024)

Robert F. Spohrer

Doctors and medical professionals are meant to be trusted experts who provide care for us when we are sick or injured. In some cases, however, they are the cause of injuries and pain instead. In these circumstances, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can make the process easier and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical professionals have a certain standard of care that they must meet when caring for their patients. They must strive to always provide safe, accurate, and professional care. Anytime they fail to reach that standard of care, it is considered medical malpractice. In the same way that there are many different types of medical care that can be provided, there are many ways that a doctor or medical practitioner can commit medical malpractice.

Types of Medical Malpractice

There are copious events and injuries that could constitute medical malpractice. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases are:

  • Failure to Diagnose: In some cases, a medical provider will fail to diagnose their patient properly. If an individual is seeking treatment for a specific ailment or problem that would have been easily diagnosed by another doctor and it is missed, they may have a malpractice claim.
  • Surgical Error: Surgery is always a serious undertaking that needs the utmost attention and care. There are some situations where a surgeon will make a mistake during a procedure and injure their patient. If it can be proven that the doctor is at fault, then there may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
  • Incorrect Medication Prescription: Prescribing the correct medication to treat an injury or ailment is an essential part of effective medical care. There are times when a doctor gives a patient the wrong medication, making their condition worse. This could constitute medical malpractice.
  • Lack of Proper Aftercare: Any major medical procedure requires the correct amount of care once it is completed. If the patient does not receive that care, then their recovery could be hindered. That lack of aftercare could lead to long-term or chronic problems, which could make for a medical malpractice case.

If an individual believes that they have a medical malpractice claim, then there are several things that they will need to prove to receive a settlement.

Proving Medical Malpractice in Florida

When a medical malpractice claim is filed in Florida, the burden of proof is on the injured party. This means that the individual who filed the claim must offer proof that their injury was directly caused by the doctor at fault. There are four primary things that must be proven in a medical malpractice case:

  • Duty of Care: It must be established that there was an existing relationship between the doctor and patient. This is typically proven through medical or appointment records.
  • Standard of Care Was Missed: Once you have established the relationship, it must be clear that the medical provider failed to meet the standard of care. This means that they did not provide the same care that a doctor of the same experience and expertise would have.
  • Damages Resulted From the Injury: If an injury occurred, then the individual must also prove that they suffered damages as a result of their injury. This could be in the form of emotional distress, lost wages, or the cost of medical expenses.
  • The Medical Provider Is Responsible for the Injury: This is one of the more difficult aspects of medical malpractice to prove. It must be clearly established that the doctor’s care, or some error made, was directly related to the damages suffered by an individual.

If all these things are proven, then the medical malpractice case is much more likely to be successful.

FAQs About Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations & Law

How long is the statute of limitations in Florida for medical malpractice?

A statute of limitations means that there is a specific period of time when an individual is able to file any kind of claim against another person. The statute of limitations on medical malpractice in Florida is relatively strict. You must file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the time that you discovered an injury or within four years of the time that the injury took place. If your claim falls outside of that time frame, you will likely not be able to successfully file and argue a malpractice claim, regardless of any injury.

What is the standard of care in Florida?

For a medical malpractice case in Florida, one of the things that must be proven is that a medical provider did not meet the standard of care. This means that the doctor you were seeing had an established relationship with you and had a duty to provide a certain level of care. In malpractice cases, the argument is made that the standard of care was not reached. If you can prove that the medical care you received was less than what you were owed, then you will have a stronger malpractice case.

Does Florida have a cap on medical malpractice settlements?

There is no clear answer to this question. Legally, there are limitations on a medical malpractice settlement. Only certain types of damages can be limited, however. Non-economic damages, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering, are capped at $500,000 in most cases. Economic damages, such as lost wages or the cost of medical treatment, are not capped. If medical malpractice can be proven, then the settlement will match whatever the damages are.

Can I make a claim of medical negligence after 20 years?

Due to the strict laws surrounding medical malpractice and the statute of limitations in Florida, it is not possible to file a medical malpractice claim after 20 years. In most cases, the claim must be filed within two years of the injury occurring. If you were not able to discover the injury during that time, then the claim must be filed within four years of the injury. The only exception to this rule is if a medical provider purposefully conceals their negligence from a patient to avoid a malpractice claim.

Spohrer Dodd: Your Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Navigating medical malpractice claims can be difficult and overwhelming. A patient has been dealing with the aftermath of their injury and now must also deal with a legal battle. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can make the process much easier and provide peace of mind to the client. If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact the team at Spohrer Dodd for assistance.