The time limit that is placed on your right to go to court and file a lawsuit is set by a law called a “statute of limitations.” Every state has these laws on the books, and different kinds of lawsuits have different deadlines.
You can find Florida’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits at Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(b). This law says that in Florida, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the date on which the harm resulting from the malpractice was -- or should reasonably have been – discovered.
There is also a blanket deadline of four years from the date of the alleged medical malpractice, regardless of when you actually (or when you should have) discovered the harm, unless there was some sort of fraud in connection with the malpractice, or the prospective plaintiff is under the age of eight.
Here is what Florida law says about the “fraud” exception to the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case:
If “fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of the injury, the period of limitations is extended forward 2 years from the time that the injury is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but in no event to exceed 7 years from the date the incident giving rise to the injury occurred.”
So, an instance of fraud will extend the deadline another two years from the date that the injury was discovered, but no medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed in Florida if more than seven years have passed since the alleged medical error occurred.
Finally, in Florida, a medical malpractice lawsuit that is brought on behalf of a minor under the age of eight must be brought before that child’s eighth birthday.