Florida courts are already overburdened by the number of lawsuits filed in the state each year. To help curb the number of new lawsuits each year, and to ensure that medical malpractice cases are heard in a timely manner, the Florida legislature has set out a series of rules that limit the time in which a medical malpractice plaintiff can file a lawsuit against a medical provider. Of course, all cases have time limitations, but medical malpractice cases have some of the most stringent.
These rules, called statutes of limitations, can act to completely prevent a victim of medical malpractice from recovering compensation for an act of medical malpractice. In fact, the statutes even prevent the claim from being heard in many cases. Therefore, it is extremely important that anyone who believes they have been a victim of medical malpractice reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible to preserve their right to file a lawsuit and seek compensation.
Indeed, Florida medical malpractice plaintiffs must also comply with other procedural requirements, such as a pre-suit investigation to determine the validity of the claim. A plaintiff’s failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in early dismissal without the ability to refile the case. Indeed, that is exactly what happened to the family of a man who believed that the hospital treating their loved one was negligent in his care and then tried to cover up their mistake.
Christus Health Gulf Coast v. Carswell
The plaintiffs in this case were the surviving loved ones of a man who passed away while in the care of the defendant hospital. Initially, the family brought a medical malpractice claim against the hospital, and then several years later they added a claim that the hospital acted fraudulently in obtaining permission to conduct a private autopsy. The family claimed that the hospital wanted to perform the autopsy to cover up any of the alleged negligence that led to their loved one’s death.
The case went to trial, and the jury determined that the defendants were not liable for any medical malpractice, but they did act fraudulently in obtaining permission for the autopsy. The jury then awarded the family financial compensation. Afterwards, the defendants appealed, arguing that the family filed their claim past the applicable statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.
As it turns out, the applicable statute for medical malpractice cases in Texas was two years. The statute of limitations for fraudulent conduct was three years. The plaintiffs argued that the three-year statute should apply, since this claim was not based on medical malpractice but instead on fraudulently obtaining consent for an autopsy. However, the court agreed with the defendants, holding that this type of claim was indeed subject to the two-year medical malpractice statute of limitations.
Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice in Florida?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of medical malpractice in Florida, you should immediately reach out to a dedicated Florida medical malpractice attorney. As the case discussed above indicates, it is not always clear what will be considered a malpractice claim by the courts, and it behooves plaintiffs to act quickly. Keep in mind, all personal injury cases are subject to various statutes of limitations, even those arising outside the medical malpractice context. Call the dedicated medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers at the South Florida law firm of Cecere Santana at 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable advocate.
More Blog Posts:
Unexplained South Florida Accidents May Be the Result of Distracted Driving, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 3, 2016.
Topamax Birth Injury Case Results in $3 Million Verdict, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 9, 2016.