How Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida?

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“Statutes of limitation” are laws that define the timeframe for when a claim can be filed in court. Their purpose is to ensure that claims are brought within a reasonable amount of time and also to protect defendants from the indefinite threat of a lawsuit.

Statute of limitations push the plaintiff to take action and decide whether they want to press a lawsuit. In Florida, most civil cases have a statute of limitations of five or four years, depending on the circumstances and the type of case.

Medical malpractice cases under Florida law, however, have two-year statute of limitations. This means that plaintiffs must investigate their claim and file suit within two years from the date the medical malpractice is discovered or should have been discovered by the plaintiff.

A four-year “statute of repose” also applies to medical malpractice cases under Florida law.  This means that, at most, a medical malpractice claim must be brought within four years from the date in which the medical malpractice or negligence occurred.  But there are two exceptions to the four-year statute of repose:

  • Fraud: There is a seven-year maximum cap for cases where a prospective defendant has committed fraud or made an intentional misrepresentation that has prevented you from discovering the medical malpractice. So, if a healthcare professional has covered up his or her medical negligence such could not possibly have discovered it, you will have an extended statute of repose
  • Minor Child: Parents or legal guardians of a child under the age of eight have until the eighth birthday of the child to bring a medical malpractice claim on their behalf.

Because of the two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, it is important to act as soon as you suspect medical malpractice or negligence has occurred. If you or somebody you love has been affected by medical malpractice, Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen’s medical malpractice attorneys can help. Fill out the form at the bottom of our home page, or call (888) 296-1681 for a free case review.