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Medical Malpractice

Medical Negligence in Ocala

Injuries and deaths happen every day as a result of medical negligence. When doctors or other healthcare professionals make a mistake, the resulting injury can be very serious or even fatal. However, medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida can be relatively difficult to pursue. Florida has more barriers to bringing these actions than some states, which makes it especially important to find experienced Ocala attorneys for consultation, advice, and representation.

What is the Florida Pre-Suit Procedure?

Florida law tends to favor doctors over patients in the malpractice context. In Florida, doctors may practice medicine without medical malpractice insurance. However, they can be sued only in limited circumstances. Even in those circumstances, plaintiffs still must follow a five-step pre-litigation procedure in medical malpractice lawsuits. These five steps require plaintiffs to: 1) investigate to make sure there are good reasons to believe the medical professional was negligent and that this negligence caused the plaintiff's injury, 2) collect medical records from the injured person's medical providers and review those documents, 3) send the records to a medical expert who is a “health care provider” in the same specialty who can review the conditions that created the injury, 4) ask the medical expert to execute an expert opinion swearing he or she reviewed the records and believes there are reasonable grounds to move forward with a lawsuit, and 5) attach the expert affidavit to a formal notice of intent to litigate that lists the parties' names and summarizes the claim and medical malpractice injury.

The notice and the affidavit must be filed and sent to prospective defendants. The filing of the notice triggers a 90-day investigative period. During this time, the parties can exchange written questions and documents and take unsworn statements. Occasionally, a defendant admits liability or makes a settlement offer, but most of the time the defendant rejects the claim. Only then may a person injured by a health care provider file the medical malpractice lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claim

The statute of limitations is the maximum time that someone can wait before filing a lawsuit. In Florida, the statute of limitations to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years. This is shorter than the four-year limitation period for most negligence lawsuits.

There are certain exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations, depending on when a potential plaintiff discovered the negligence and whether a doctor or other health care professional fraudulently concealed the injury from the patient. The statute of limitations is not how long you can wait to see a lawyer. The pre-suit process takes a significant amount of time, as does a lawyer's own investigation to determine whether to file a lawsuit. Therefore, it is critical to consult a lawyer as soon as you realize it may be necessary to initiate legal action.

Retain the Dean Law Firm in Crystal River

The pre-suit process and the rigorous requirements of proof make medical malpractice litigation in Florida both expensive and time-consuming. This is why it is so important to find a lawyer with experience and knowledge of medical malpractice lawsuits. The Ocala medical negligence lawyers at our firm offer a free initial consultation and accept medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. This means we recover our fees only if we get compensation for our clients. Call us at 352-387-8700 or fill out our contact form for a consultation. We serve clients throughout Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties, as well as the surrounding areas.