Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit that arose after the plaintiff fell off an examination table in the defendant doctor’s office. The court was tasked with determining if the plaintiff’s lawsuit should be dismissed because she failed to comply with the applicable statute of limitations. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was not a “medical malpractice” lawsuit as defined by the statute and that her claim need not comply with the stricter statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was seeing the defendant doctor so that he could remove a catheter. When the doctor came into the examination room, he instructed the plaintiff to climb onto the examination table. He then pulled out a stool so that she could more easily get atop the table. The plaintiff safely climbed onto the table, and the doctor performed the procedure without any complications.
After the procedure, the doctor told the plaintiff to go to the front desk and make a follow-up appointment the following week. The doctor then left the examination room without pulling out the stool to help the plaintiff descend off the table. The plaintiff attempted to get off the table but fell as she did so.
The plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the fall and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the doctor, arguing that he created a dangerous condition when he failed to replace the stool to help the plaintiff get off the examination table. The plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, but before the expiration of the statute of limitations for premises liability lawsuits.
In response to the plaintiff’s claims, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s case alleged a theory of medical malpractice and that it was filed after the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff argued that her case was not brought under a theory of medical malpractice, but under the traditional negligence theory of premises liability. The trial court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.
On Appeal, the Case Is Reversed
The appellate court reversed the lower court’s ruling. The court explained that not every case that arises in the medical context is a medical malpractice case. To distinguish between a medical malpractice case and a case involving traditional theories of negligence, the court explained that it considers whether the case presents any issues that may require an expert witness to explain complex scientific or medical concepts. Here, the court concluded that the issues presented in the plaintiff’s case are fairly straightforward and that jurors would be capable of understanding the issues without an expert witness. As a result, the court determined that the plaintiff’s case was filed in accordance with the applicable statute of limitations.
Have You Been Injured on Another Party’s Property?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on another party’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida premises liability lawsuit. As the above case illustrates, defendants in Florida personal injury cases can get creative when it comes to coming up with defenses. To make sure that you are properly prepared for all defenses, be sure to consult with a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney prior to filing your case. At Cecere Santana, we represent clients across South Florida in a wide range of personal injury cases, including slip-and-fall cases. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Car Accident Plaintiff’s Non-Compliance with Contractual Term Not a Basis for Dismissal Due to Defendant’s Failure to Object, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 25, 2017.
Is the Jury’s Verdict Final in a Florida Personal Injury Case?, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 9, 2017.