Florida Medical Malpractice Notification Requirements

Medical malpractice is a complex area of law. Incidents of medical mishaps depend heavily upon having significant and concrete evidence to show a medical institute’s or doctor’s malpractice. Establishing accountability is no easy task. This is precisely why it is important to consult a qualified Miami injury lawyer if you are dealing with a potential medical malpractice claim. We can help assess the merits and validity of your case.

In the case of Young v. Naples Community Hospital, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals outlined certain procedural requirements that an individual suing for medical negligence must meet before initiating a lawsuit.

Ms. Young was taken to Naples Community Hospital (NCH) in 2006 after experiencing extreme abdominal pain and vomiting. The staff did tests on the patient, including a CT scan that was analyzed by Dr. Grennan, who stated that the results were “unremarkable.” Ms. Young was still checked in to the hospital due to other tests that were conducted. A later rest revealed a problem in the patient’s mesenteric artery.

At that time, the CT scan performed earlier was re-analyzed by other physicians who concluded that the patient had a blood clot in the artery. An hour later, surgery was done to remedy this issue. However, the patient had to stay in the hospital for about four weeks because of problems from the operation.

In the state of Florida, an individual bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit has to first have an “investigation” to ascertain if there is a reasonable basis to believe that the individual’s injuries arose due to medical negligence. The plaintiff is also required to tell possible defendants of his or her intention to sue before bringing the matter to state court. The plaintiff should include an expert opinion showing that there are reasonable grounds to bring such a claim. The notice has to be given to defendants within two years of the occurrence.

In the case at hand, Ms. Young’s lawyer gave pre-suit notice to Naples Radiologists. which is the establishment that administers NHC’s Radiology programs and services. A few months later, Young’s lawyer later gave pre-suit notice to Nighthawk Radiology, which gives overnight radiology services for Naples Radiologists. The notice was also given to Dr. Grennan, who works as an independent contractor for Nighthawk. The notice, however, was provided after the two-year window required by Florida law.

Ms. Young and her husband later filed their medical malpractice lawsuit against the parties mentioned above. The complaint accused Dr. Grennan of lacking care in looking over her CT scan. Also, the plaintiff stated that Dr. Grennan was responsible for the delay in her surgery and the problems during the operation. A trial court granted summary judgement to Nighthawk and Dr. Grennan by taking in to consideration that Ms. Young did not inform Dr. Grennan and Nighthawk Radiologists within two years after the malpractice.

This decision was reversed on appeal by the Second District, which reasoned that Ms. Young had given a pre-suit notification to Naples Radiologists, and this also applied to Dr. Grennan and Nighthawk Radiologists because all of them are legally connected. Thus, the pre-suit notification was on time.

The court explained how Ms.Young showed that Dr. Grennan, Naples Radiologists, and Nighthawk Radiologists have a legal relationship. Naples Radiologists and Nighthawk had a contract stating the latter would provide services for the former. Also, Nighthawk had a contract with Dr. Grennan to do certain services on behalf of the company. The court thus said that these parties all have a legal relationship through the contracts they have with one another.

If you are dealing with a medical malpractice issue, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Robert Dixon has helped countless South Florida clients resolve their medical malpractice cases and can help you too. To learn all your legal options, you can contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.

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Florida’s Medical Negligence Damages Cap, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, December 12, 2014

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Your Legal Rights After an Airplane Accident, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, November 19, 2014

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