When pursuing a claim for medical malpractice in the state of Florida, it is critical to consider the deadlines and procedural requirements for filing a lawsuit. Florida laws affecting medical malpractice claims include the statute of limitations and caps on certain types of damages.
Read more below about the limitations on medical malpractice for OB/GYN negligence. To discuss your case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney, contact our team at Menendez Trial Attorneys for a free consultation.
An obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is a physician who has expertise in various aspects relating to women’s health, including reproductive health, obstetrics (pregnancy and childbirth), menstruation, and menopause.
OB/GYN malpractice involves a gynecological or obstetric healthcare provider’s failure to meet the minimum acceptable standard of care through illegal, improper, or negligent conduct.
Common examples of OB/GYN malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose conditions such as HPV
- Failure to detect prenatal illnesses
- Improper use of forceps
- Inducing labor without a medical reason
- Failure to recognize and address umbilical cord complications
Gynecological and obstetric procedures carry inherent risks, and unwanted outcomes are not necessarily the result of OB/GYN malpractice. However, if an injury is the result of OB/GYN negligence, you need to follow specific steps to seek a legal remedy.
Medical Malpractice in Florida – State Law Overview
Several laws apply in medical malpractice matters, placing limitations on a plaintiff’s claim against an obstetrician-gynecologist. The statute of limitations is a state law setting a deadline by which you must file a lawsuit against the OB/GYN whose negligence resulted in injury.
Before you can sue an OB/GYN for medical malpractice, you have to meet specific procedural requirements that include serving a notice of intent. Failure to take the initial steps can result in a postponement of the filing date, which can cause you to miss the deadline in terms of the statute of limitations.
Many states have medical malpractice caps that limit the compensation amounts plaintiffs can claim for injury or loss. In June 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that statutory limits on compensation for non-economic damages are unconstitutional unless the Defendant admits liability during the pre-suit period and chooses to arbitrate damages.
States have these limitations in place to lower the costs of medical professional liability insurance. At Menendez trial Attorneys, we offer legal solutions to help you navigate these limitations. Let’s look at each limitation in further detail.
The Florida Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
According to the Florida statute of limitations, you have to file an OB/GYN negligence suit within two years from the injury date. This time limitation on medical malpractice claims is in place to protect defendants. In long-dormant claims, defendants typically no longer have the evidence to disprove allegations of malpractice.
Several exceptions to the statute of limitations exist:
Intentional Concealment by the OB/GYN
If the healthcare provider intentionally concealed the negligence, the statute of limitations is two years after discovering the injury or seven years from the date the injury occurred.
Plaintiffs are often unaware of injuries due to negligence for several months or even years after the injury occurred, and they can miss the two-year filing deadline. If this is the case, you can rely on the “discovery rule.”
According to Florida’s discovery rule, you have two years after discovering the injury but no more than four years after the injury occurred to file a claim. If the discovery rule applies, the statute of limitations will start running when you reasonably should have known that you have an injury as the result of malpractice.
The Injured Party is a Minor
If an OB/GYN’s medical malpractice resulted in injury to a minor, the two-year statute of limitations doesn’t apply. In this case, the minor can file a suit at any time before his or her 18th birthday.
Notice of Intent
Before you can file a lawsuit for malpractice, you have to serve the OB/GYN with a notice of intent to sue, along with an affidavit of merit. The latter is a statement from a medical professional that your medical malpractice claim is valid.
After servicing the notice of intent, a 90-day pre-suit period follows, which forms part of the statute of limitations. If the healthcare provider indicates that they are not settling or admitting liability, you have the remainder of the statute of limitations or 60 days to file the suit, whichever is longer.
Seek Legal Solutions from an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
Negligent conduct by an OB/GYN can have far-reaching consequences. Seeking compensation can provide relief from economic damages, emotional trauma, and suffering resulting from medical malpractice.
Navigating the limitations on medical malpractice for OB/GYN negligence can be a challenge, which is why you need legal representation and advice from our experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Menendez Trial Attorneys. Contact us today at 305-445-6500 to schedule a consultation so we can start the process of filing a lawsuit. We serve all of Miami-Dade and South Florida.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.