For 50 years, the medical malpractice lawyers at Babbitt & Johnson P.A. have aggressively represented victims and their families. Our Florida-based medical malpractice firm has won national media attention both for our cases and for our insistent pursuit of more openness in the medical profession – a quest that has resulted in changes in policies and laws. If you or a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice in Florida, you need to know how long you have to file a lawsuit.
Q. How long do I have to file a medical malpractice suit?
A. The statute of limitations varies from state to state. For example, Florida has a two-year statute of limitations in medical negligence cases. In general terms this means that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the time the plaintiff, (the patient or a family member or guardian) knew, or should have known with reasonable diligence, that the injury occurred and there was a reasonable possibility that medical malpractice caused it. (See more under our Medical Malpractice FAQ’s)
Florida also has a harsh provision in its civil laws called “statute of repose.’ This means that unless there is misrepresentation, fraud, or concealment one can never sue a health care provider more than four years after the actual malpractice incident. So even if the plaintiff does not know, or can’t be expected to know, that an injury occurred, in most circumstances, it cannot bring a claim once four years have passed since the incident. (See more under our Medical Malpractice FAQ’s)
There is one exception to this rule called “Tony’s Law.” Enacted in 1996, this statute specifies that if a malpractice incident occurred after July 1, 1996, the four-year statute of repose cannot cut off a child’s malpractice claim before that child’s eighth birthday. However, the two-year statute of limitations still applies – and can cut off the claim if the child’s parents or guardians knew, or should have known, of the injury and the reasonable possibility that medical malpractice caused it. (See more under our Medical Malpractice FAQ’s)
In all cases, it’s important to keep in mind that the rules on limitations often change, first by the state legislature then get modified by the appellate courts. If you think your potential case could have an issue with timing, it’s important to immediately consult a medical malpractice attorney with experience and a record of success.
Since 1967, Babbitt & Johnson P.A. has aggressively represented victims of medical malpractice in Florida and throughout the United States.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical or hospital negligence, contact us via email or call us at 561-684-2500 or toll free at 888-666-0523 to schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney and get your questions answered.
We are based in West Palm Beach, Florida and represent medical malpractice cases throughout the United States.