Florida Birth Injury Lawsuit

Florida’s lawsuit regulations are much more complex than many other states across the nation. For families whose child suffered a birth injury, filing a lawsuit may be a complicated procedure. In order to have a lawsuit heard by the Florida courts, first the lawsuit must be filed within the right timeframe.

Statute of Limitations

There are four deadlines involved with the statute of limitations in Florida for birth injury cases. The first covers the majority of cases, and states that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the injury occurring. The second states that if the injury could not have been detected within the first two years of the child’s life, then the family has up to four years total, or two years from the date of discovery, to file the lawsuit.

The third deadline allows exceptions for cases in which the medical care provider willfully concealed medical information so that the family could not possibly discover the malpractice. In these cases, the family has two years from the date of discovery to file the birth injury lawsuit, up to a total of seven years from the date of injury.

Finally, if a minor files a lawsuit on their own behalf in the case of birth injury, they have until their eighth birthday to do so, regardless of when any injury occurred or was discovered.

Damage Caps

In 2015, Florida state courts voted to uphold the caps placed on malpractice damages that were established in 2012, following a case in which a family, which was awarded over 30 million dollars for the future care of their severely brain damaged child, was only able to collect a small percentage of the award due to cap laws.

The caps on damage awards in Florida state that an individual medical professional can only be held liable for 500,000 dollars in non-economic damages. For lawsuits brought against a facility, such as a hospital, the cap for non-economic damages are capped at 750,000 dollars. If the birth injury resulted in death or a vegetative state, the cap for economic damages is one million dollars.

Non-economic damages are items that cannot be quantified, such as pain and suffering or loss of life enjoyment. For birth injuries that resulted in disorders like cerebral palsy or delayed mental development, this could also include retribution for the loss of income the child will face as an adult who cannot work in the standard workforce. Economic damages cover quantitative items like medical bills and legal fees.

Validity of Malpractice Claims

Before a birth injury lawsuit can be brought before a Florida court, there must be a statement from a medical professional, who has reviewed the case, and can verify that a case of malpractice did indeed happen from a medical standpoint.

In order to file with the court, the notice of intent to sue, including this statement marking the validity of the malpractice suit, must be sent to the defendant, who then has 90 days to begin a settlement process. It is only after that process that the case will go on to be seen by a court. Florida courts do have the right to dismiss caps on damages and award higher numbers, but as the 2015 upholding proved, appeals can result in lower damages collected overall.

An attorney who specializes in birth injury lawsuits in Florida can set the validity review in motion, and help determine economic and non-economic damages to approach the court for in the lawsuit. They can also ensure that the lawsuit is filed on time according to the state’s laws.

Sources:

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/laws-florida.html

http://www.floridainjuredbaby.org/advice/filing-birth-injury-lawsuit/

 

 

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