You trust your child’s physicians to provide quality patient care, from supporting your health during pregnancy to delivery and early childhood. Therefore, it is devastating to learn that your child suffered harm because of errors by a health care provider. Whether from birth injuries or negligent treatment during their formative years, the consequences for your entire family can be considerable. It is a comfort to know that Florida’s medical malpractice statute allows you to seek compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complicated personal injury claims, and the concepts are even more complex when the victim is a child. The same basic laws apply, but there are unique factors related to age. You should trust a Miami medical malpractice lawyer to handle details, but a summary is useful.
Florida’s Medical Negligence Statute
The first important law to know involves what you need to prove to recover compensation, and the statute lays out requirements. A health care practitioner may be liable for providing treatment that deviates from the medical standard of care. The benchmark is measured by what a physician with the same skill, training, and experience would do under the same circumstances.
Statute of Limitations
Florida imposes a deadline on medical malpractice claims, so you must file a lawsuit in court within two years after the date that the error giving rise to the injuries occurred. There is extra time if your child’s injuries are such that you did not discover them right away, which may be the case with misdiagnosis. This “discovery” rule gives parents up to four years to initiate litigation.
Settlement and Guardianship Proceedings
Being under 18 years old, a child operates under legal incapacity. As such, a parent must pursue a med mal case on behalf of the child. Under Florida law, parents can negotiate and agree to a settlement, as long as it does not exceed $15,000.
Many medical malpractice claims will be far higher than this amount. The victim and parents sustain losses for the costs of treatment, parents’ lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If settlement exceeds $15,000, you will need court approval; the same is true if you must file a med mal claim in court.
Under such circumstances, you must go through guardianship proceedings. The court appoints a guardian to receive the funds on the child’s behalf, manage them, and make appropriate expenditures. The point of this requirement is ensuring money supports the child’s best interests.
Talk to Our Miami Medical Malpractice Attorneys About the Legal Concepts
You can see how some of these laws affecting a child’s med mal claim focus on timing, so it is important to get in touch with an experienced lawyer right away. To learn how our team can assist with your case, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA at (305) 371-6000 or visit us online. We can set up a complimentary case review at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.