Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida medical malpractice case that required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case was timely under the applicable statute of limitations. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s case was properly filed within the applicable statute of limitations, and a lower court’s finding to the contrary was reversed. As a result, the plaintiff’s case will be permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.
The plaintiff was a patient of the defendant radiologist. In 2008, the plaintiff underwent a mammogram, and the defendant interpreted the results. Despite finding a nodule that he knew at the time was likely to be cancerous, the defendant did not inform the plaintiff or her primary care doctor.
Later that year, the defendant’s office called the plaintiff, requesting she come in for a follow-up. Again, no mention was made of the nodule and the possibility that it was cancerous. It was not until 2010, following a subsequent mammogram, that the plaintiff realized she had breast cancer. By that time, the cancer had metastasized and spread to her bones. The plaintiff’s breast cancer was successfully treated with chemotherapy, but the metastatic cancer in her bones continued to progress.
The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant in October 2012. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s failure to diagnose and treat what was likely a cancerous nodule resulted in her diagnosis of metastatic cancer in her bones.
The defendant argued, however, that the plaintiff’s case was filed too late, citing the two-year statute of limitations in Florida for medical malpractice cases. The defendant claimed that any alleged negligence occurred back in 2008, and the plaintiff had knowledge of the issue because she was experiencing pain throughout the time of her treatment.
The court determined that the plaintiff’s case was properly filed. The court explained that the plaintiff’s alleged injury was not the breast cancer but the metastatic cancer, and it was undisputed that the plaintiff was unaware of this condition until 2010, placing her filing within the two-year statute of limitations.
The Statute of Limitations in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases
As noted above, the statute of limitations in Florida medical malpractice cases is generally two years from the date that the injury is discovered. Importantly, even if an injury is not discovered until later, all claims must be filed within four years of the alleged act of negligence, or they will be dismissed. The four-year rule does not apply to minors if the alleged injury occurred before their eighth birthday. However, once discovered, these claims must be brought by the child’s eighth birthday.
Have You Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of negligent medical care, you may be entitled to compensation through a Florida personal injury lawsuit. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana have extensive experience helping South Florida residents pursue claims for compensation from the medical professionals responsible for their injuries. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time or services unless we are able to assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries.
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Cecere Santana can Help with Hurricane Irma Claims, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 5, 2017.
South Florida Hit-and-Run Accidents, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 3, 2017.