Those who may be sued are those medical professionals whose actions contributed to a patient’s injuries or death. Florida statutes apply toward any private individuals or medical institutions under the subject of medical malpractice. As these statutes may be updated on a frequent basis, people will need to consult them before filing suit.
The medical facilities operated by the government and the medical professionals who work for them will be treated differently. In Florida, patients may sue government facilities under the Florida Tort Claims Act. Under this act, patients have less restrictive guidelines for proving their cases, but they also face restrictions on the amount of money they will be awarded if they win. If a Florida resident is going to bring a lawsuit against a federally owned medical facility, such as the Veterans Affairs, they will need to do so under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Statute of Limitations
In these cases, patients must bring their lawsuits within two years of the injury. The beginning date is the day that the patient, family member or person charged with caring for the patient would reasonably have been aware that there was an injury and that this injury could possibly have been due to medical malpractice.
A second statute that Florida residents have to consider is the “Statute of Repose”. Under this statute, absolutely no medical malpractice lawsuit can be initiated if there is no evidence that a fraud, a misrepresentation or concealment took place.
One exception in Florida is “Tony’s Law”, which does not restrict a child’s right to sue for medical malpractice under the statute of repose before the child reaches his or her eighth birthday. It may, however, be subject to the two-year statute of limitations if the parents or caregivers were expected to have known about the injury and the possibility that the cause was medical malpractice.
The fact that the legislature often changes the rules and the court of appeals often alters these statutes, before people can determine that they have a case, they need to consult an attorney.
Expected Malpractice Case Results
Because each individual medical malpractice lawsuit will receive its own review – and even though a case may appear to be similar to another – people cannot automatically expect to receive the same results.
In order to prove a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff’s evidence must show that:
- Negligence has occurred.
- The injury occurred immediately after the negligent action, proving the action caused the injury.
- That there were damages to the patient.
All three must be proven for the plaintiffs to win their cases.
In Florida, it is practically required that anyone setting out to prove medical malpractice will need to have an expert witness testify on their behalf. This expert will be a medical professional who has been licensed and was practicing medicine at the time of the incident or is currently practicing. The qualifying expert is someone who can testify that the standard level of care was not met.