Florida Appeals Court Dismisses Pro Se Medical Negligence Case Due to Statute of Limitation Issue

In a recent case, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida issued an opinion in an appeal involving a medical negligence complaint between a pro se appellant, the plaintiff, and the appellee, South Lake Hospital, Inc. (South Lake). The plaintiff later amended her complaint to include two employees of South Lake. The plaintiff filed a pro se complaint for negligence against South Lake following a car accident she experienced in 2016 and a subsequent misdiagnosis of injury by the South Lake emergency room staff. The trial court made a final order dismissing with prejudice the plaintiff’s amended complaint for damages against South Lake

On March 27, 2016, the plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in excruciating back pain and visible bruising on the left side of her chest. She was transported from the site of the accident to South Lake’s emergency room. The plaintiff would later allege that in the emergency room, after around two hours, she was discharged after being told that her pain was due to arthritis. The plaintiff then sought medical treatment three days later at a different medical facility, where according to her, it was discovered that she had sustained numerous fractures in her back.

In February 2020, the plaintiff filed a pro se complaint against South Lake. South Lake moved to dismiss the complaint, and following a hearing on the motion, the plaintiff was given leave by the court to file an amended complaint. In December 2021, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, adding an emergency medicine physician and a diagnostic radiologist as parties to the suit, asserting that both were employed by South Lake “when the negligence occurred.” Following a brief, the trial court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s actions “based upon expiration of the statute of limitations.”

On appeal, the plaintiff argues that the trial court erred in dismissing with prejudice her amended complaint for damages against South Lake and the emergency medicine physician, as well as a separate final order dismissing the same amended complaint with prejudice against the diagnostic radiologist. The appeals court found that the plaintiff’s amended complaint for damages against South Lake and the emergency medicine physician did fall outside of the statute of limitation, ruling that the nearly four years between the incident and the complaint fell well outside of the two-year statute of limitation required to bring a medical negligence claim. Additionally, the appeals court found that the trial court correctly dismissed the plaintiff’s action against the diagnostic radiologist. The opinion states that the radiologist was a completely separate party that was added five years and nine months after the initial incident, falling outside of the statute of limitations period.

Have You Been the Victim of Medical Negligence in Florida?

If you or someone you love has suffered medical harm in Florida, the lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada can help you understand your rights and the remedies available to you under Florida law. Our team of attorneys has successfully advocated for injured individuals throughout Florida for 46 years. Expenses from medical injuries or harm can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced roster of attorneys by your side can make a world of difference for your claim. Make sure that you make the most out of your medical claim and get the award that you deserve. Contact our team at 305-448-8585 to schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Florida personal injury lawyer at our office.

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