Can a Loved One File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Imagine this scenario: a cherished family member has experienced a substantial injury due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. Your heart sinks as you grasp the scope of the damage – all a direct result of a professional’s misjudgment. It’s in these trying times that you may question, “Who can sue for medical malpractice in Florida?”
This article offers a comprehensive look at Florida’s medical malpractice law, particularly in cases involving loved ones. We will discuss how you, as a family member, can file a lawsuit, the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations, and how Florida malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group can provide indispensable assistance.
Who Can Sue for Medical Malpractice in Florida?
To understand who can sue for medical malpractice in Florida, it’s essential first to define the term. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the accepted standard of care, resulting in patient injury or harm.
When a medical malpractice incident occurs, the person directly affected by the healthcare provider’s negligence is typically the one to initiate a lawsuit. However, the question of “Who can sue for medical malpractice in Florida?” is not always so straightforward, especially when the patient is incapacitated or has passed away.
If the patient, or victim, is alive and competent, they are the person with the legal right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida. But, there are circumstances where others may be able to file on their behalf.
In the Case of Minor Children
If the patient is a minor, a parent or legal guardian has the right to initiate a lawsuit on their behalf. While the minor may legally initiate the lawsuit themselves upon reaching the age of majority, given the state’s statute of limitations, it is usually in the best interest of the minor for parents or guardians to pursue legal action as soon as the malpractice is discovered.
In the Case of Incapacitation
Should the patient be physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to file a lawsuit themselves, a legally appointed representative, such as a power of attorney, can file on their behalf.
In the Case of Death
The most complex scenario arises when the patient has died, either due to the malpractice itself or from unrelated causes. In such cases, Florida law allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This representative may be named in the deceased’s will or estate plan, or appointed by the court. They can sue on behalf of the estate or the survivors, which often include the spouse, children, or parents, and sometimes other relatives who were dependent on the deceased.
Lastly, in certain cases, loved ones may have the standing to sue if they have suffered direct harm or financial loss as a result of the victim’s injury or death.
Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Understanding the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations is a key factor in the lawsuit process. Generally, the victim or their representative has 2 years from the date they knew, or should have known, about the injury to file the claim. However, no suit can be filed more than four years after the actual date of the act, with certain exceptions for minors and incapacitated individuals. Timely filing is crucial to prevent the dismissal of a potentially valid claim.
Filing Medical Malpractice Claims
Filing a Can a Loved One File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?is a complex process. Before even filing the lawsuit, you are required by law to conduct a pre-suit investigation and notify each prospective defendant. This includes acquiring an affidavit from a medical expert, attesting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that medical negligence occurred.
It’s at this stage that many find the services of Florida medical malpractice attorneys. A qualified attorney can assist with the investigation, provide guidance, and ensure compliance with Florida’s strict legal procedures.
Consult Our Florida Malpractice Attorneys
In the wake of a medical malpractice incident, you need a strong, reliable ally to guide you through the legal labyrinth. As experienced Florida malpractice attorneys, Shapiro Law Group stands ready to provide that support.
If you’re grappling with the question, “Who can sue for medical malpractice in Florida?” don’t hesitate to reach out. Shapiro Law Group can help you understand your rights and options, providing the support needed to face these challenging circumstances.