How long after malpractice can a suit be filed?

I was 32 weeks when my son had to be delivered due to having pre-eclampsia. I had been calling my doctor for 3 weeks complaining of swelling and how I was feeling. I kept being told to put my feet up and drink more water. On my 32 week visit the doctor sent me to the hospital and told me I was having my son that day. We wanted to sue since both mine and my baby’s lives were in jeopardy because my doctor hadn’t taken my calls seriously. However, we decided against suing. Now my son’s 6 and he developed a lazy eye, has had to have surgery, has poor vision and now has ADHD. We where told this all can be linked to premature birth/trauma at birth. Is it too late to try and sue? How too much time lapsed?

Asked on March 14, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

While you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney IMMEDIATELY, before any more time goes by, to see if you can still bring a case, I believe it is too late. Normally, in Florida, the statute of limitations, or time to sue, is only 2 years from the date of the malpractice. In the event that the injury cannot be immediately detected, the plaintiff has more time, but not more than 4 years. So it would normally seen that with a birth-related injury, it would be too late when your son is 6.

However, sometimes special circumstances will allow additional time. For example, if there is evidence that the medical care provider tried to hide or conceal the malpractice in some way, I believe you can get up to 7 years. Therefore, while you have to prepared for the worst, it is worthwhile consulting with a malpractice lawyer to see if there are any special circmstances which would grant you additional time.


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