Sending Notice of Lawsuit to Multiple Defendants in Medical Malpractice Cases – Salazar v. Coello

Different types of lawsuits have different procedural requirements in the state of Florida. Among these specialized procedures are the stringent pre-suit notice requirements for medical negligence cases as detailed in Section 766.106 of the Florida Statutes. If you or someone you know has been injured in a medical negligence case, it is imperative to consult a qualified Miami injury lawyer who is well-versed in this area of the law. We will assess the merits of your case and guide you through every step of the legal process.

In Salazar v. Coello, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals addressed the notice and investigation process in medical negligence cases. The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff in the case suffered an injury as the result of a surgical procedure. The plaintiff served a notice of intent to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the surgeon. Some time later, the plaintiff served a notice of intent to the anesthesia providers, a nurse, and the anesthesia group.

The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the anesthesia providers on the grounds that the notice by the plaintiff was provided after the statute of limitations had run. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment due to the tolling provision under Section 766.106.

Under Section 766.106, when any defendant receives a notice of intent to litigate, this tolls the statute of limitations for 90 days against “all potential defendants.” In the case at hand, when the first defendants received their notice, the statute of limitations was tolled for 90 days from that date against all potential defendants, including the anesthesia provider, the nurse, and the anesthesia group that were given notice later. The plaintiff did not have to send notice to each defendant at the same time. Thus, the subsequent notice to the anesthesia providers was timely under the statute.

The notice of intent statute uses the term “prospective defendants” rather than “potential defendant,” but the court found that these terms are used interchangeably throughout the statute, and both terms should be treated as being synonymous because there is no indication that each term should have a different meaning attributed to it. The court explained that medical malpractice statutes are not intended to “deny access to the courts on the basis of technicalities.”

Robert Dixon is a skilled medical malpractice lawyer who has years of experience litigating claims in Florida courts and can handle your case as well. Our firm understands the nuances of personal injury law and can help you achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. We proudly serve clients throughout South Florida. While we aim to settle every case in an effective and efficient manner, we are prepared to go to trial if necessary. Rest assured, we will work diligently in your case. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free case evaluation.

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