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Tampa Personal Injury Blogs from June, 2012

Changes to Florida's Medical Malpractice Presuit Screening Process


Medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida are governed by Chapter 766, Florida Statutes, which sets forth the legal requirements for a claimant to follow in pursuing damages against a healthcare provider. Medical malpractice lawsuits are significantly different than other types of lawsuits because a claimant must first conduct a presuit screening process prior to filing a lawsuit against a healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, hospital or surgery center). Claimants involved in motor vehicle, motorcycle or trucking accidents are not under any such restrictions. Our Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorneys remain dedicated to representing individuals who have suffered harm and/or injury at the hands of a professional healthcare provider.

Sections 766.106 and 766.203, Florida Statutes set forth the requirements of a claimant before they can initiate formal legal proceedings against a medical provider. The Florida legislature passed two (2) changes or additional requirements claimants must adhere to prior to filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice. The first such change is the enactment of Section 766.1065, Florida Statutes, which requires all notices of intent to initiate medical malpractice litigation must be accompanied with signed authorizations by the claimant in specific form thereby giving the prospective defendant access to the claimant's prior medical history.

The second change can be found in Section, 766.102(12), Florida Statutes. A claimant previously was required to verify that he/she conducted an investigation to ascertain that there were reasonable grounds to believe that a potential defendant was negligent in the care or treatment of them and such negligence resulted in an injury or harm. While the claimant is required to corroborate reasonable grounds exist to initiate medical negligence litigation in the form of an affidavit that must be created by an expert of the same specialty as the potential defendant, Section 766.102(12), Florida Statutes, requires all physicians who are not licensed in Florida obtain an expert witness certificate from the Florida Board of Medicine before they can execute a presuit corroborating affidavit or prior to testifying on the standard of care. Both of the new changes took effect on October 1, 2011 and will likely have a significant impact on medical malpractice cases by making it much more difficult to retain qualified out of state experts.

Our attorneys have litigated numerous claims involving medical malpractice. If you have reason to believe you or a loved one may have sustained harm or injury as the direct result of medical negligence, please contact us, your Tampa Personal Injury Attorneys.

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