The Medical Malpractice Act is a venerable minefield. Doctor’s, hospitals, and their insurance carriers will often rely on technicalities and seek to have otherwise meritorious cases dismissed.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Florida
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions in the State of Florida is two(2) years. In addition thereto, the Plaintiff can file for an automatic ninety (90) day extension. Thus, a notice of intent to initiate litigation must be served within must be served within 2 years and 3 months from the date the Plaintiff knew or should have known of the malpractice. Specifically, Florida Statute 766.106 states:
(2) Presuit notice.–
(a) After completion of presuit investigation pursuant to s. 766.203(2) and prior to filing a complaint for medical negligence, a claimant shall notify each prospective defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested, of intent to initiate litigation for medical negligence. Notice to each prospective defendant must include, if available, a list of all known health care providers seen by the claimant for the injuries complained of subsequent to the alleged act of negligence, all known health care providers during the 2-year period prior to the alleged act of negligence who treated or evaluated the claimant, copies of all of the medical records relied upon by the expert in signing the affidavit, and the executed authorization form provided in s. 766.1065.
in the case of Young v. Naples Community Hospital,the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed a summary judgment granted to defendant Nighthawk radiologists, and held that pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.650(b)(1):
notice of intent to initiate litigation sent by certified mail and received by any prospective defendant shall operate as notice to the person and any other prospective defendant who bears a legal relationship to the prospective defendant receiving the notice.
In Young, the notice of intent was timely served on Naples radiologists with whom Nighthawk radiology services had a legal relationship. Nighthawk moved for summary judgment alleging that by the time they were served with the notice of intent, the statute of limitations had run. The trail court granted the motion for summary judgment, and the Young’s appealed. The 2nd DCA correctly found that notice to Naples radiology was sufficient and binding on Nighthawk.