Medical malpractice cases generally present complex scientific or medical concepts that are beyond the understanding of must jurors. For this reason, nearly all Florida medical malpractice cases require the testimony of experts to explain some of the issues in the case to the jurors. Experts can also offer their opinions about whether the care provided by a defendant doctor fell below the generally accepted standard of care.
Due to the complex nature of Florida medical malpractice cases, Florida law places certain requirements on plaintiffs filing this type of case. One of the most important differences between medical malpractice cases and other personal injury cases is that medical malpractice cases are subject to a shorter statute of limitations. In Florida, a medical malpractice plaintiff must file their claim within two years of the incident (or, if the injury is not discovered until a later date, within two years of the plaintiff’s discovery of the injury).
A recent case presented a Florida appellate court with the chance to decide whether a plaintiff’s slip-and-fall accident should be considered a medical malpractice case.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a patient of the defendant doctor. The plaintiff visited the defendant so that he could remove a catheter. Before beginning the procedure, the doctor asked the plaintiff to hop up onto the examination table. The doctor pulled out a stepping stool for the plaintiff to use. The plaintiff climbed on top of the table, and the doctor performed the procedure without incident.
After the procedure, the doctor instructed the plaintiff that she should make a follow-up appointment at the front desk. The doctor then left the examination room. He did not replace the stepping stool before he left. As the plaintiff descended off the examination table, she fell to the ground, resulting in serious injuries.
After the applicable statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases had expired, but before the statute of limitations for general negligence claims expired, the plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant objected to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, claiming that the plaintiff’s case should be considered a medical malpractice case and was subject to the two-year statute of limitations.
The court disagreed with the defendant. The court explained that not every case that arises in the medical context is a medical malpractice case. The relevant inquiry is whether the case presents any technical, scientific, or medical issues that may require the use of an expert witness. Here, since the issues involved in the plaintiff’s claim were straightforward and within the common understanding of most jurors, the court determined that the plaintiff’s case should not be considered a medical malpractice case. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was filed in a timely manner.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled South Florida premises liability attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience assisting victims with pursuing the compensation they need and deserve from the parties responsible for their injuries. We handle all types of South Florida personal injury cases, and we offer free consultations to victims. Call 877-448-8585 today to discuss your case with a dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyer.
More Blog Posts:
Florida’s Recreational Use Statute, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 27, 2017.
Court Upholds Arbitration Agreement in Recent Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 13, 2017.