Because medical malpractice claims can turn into high-dollar lawsuits that can end up tied up in court for a while, Florida has instituted several steps in the claims process that are designed to limit how many cases end up in front of a judge.
One of those steps is the Notice of Intent that must be filed.
This is a notice to the medical provider or providers involved of your intention to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Your Notice of Intent must include an affidavit of merit, which is a statement from a qualified medical professional that states the veracity of your claim.
The main purpose of the Notice of Intent is to give you and the opposing parties a chance to settle your claim without going into court. Once submitted, this begins a 90-day stay on the statute of limitation for the case so that the opposing parties can review the evidence and affidavit submitted with your notice.
While the law encourages settlements, it doesn’t demand it. If the opposing party doesn’t offer a reasonable settlement, you don’t have to take it. You can pursue your claim in court.
Similarly, if the provider refuses to settle entirely, you have either 60 days or the remainder of the 90-day stay to file your lawsuit, whichever is longer.
Florida law is constantly changing in regards to medical malpractice claims, and the rules are exceedingly complex. That’s why it’s smart to speak to an attorney as soon as practical when you suspect that you or your loved one suffered irreparable damage by a negligent doctor or hospital.