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How Florida’s Statute of Limitations Hinders Gynecology Malpractice Cases

A women in a wheelchair suffering from Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice laws exist to allow victims to pursue just compensation for their injuries. But for some sufferers of medical malpractice, making a successful claim is more difficult than others–especially when it comes to gynecology malpractice. 

The Florida statute of limitations mandates that malpractice claims be initiated within two years from when a medical issue is, or should have been, discovered. For many issues–ones that show up promptly–this hardly poses a problem. But for issues that present themselves gradually, over longer than two years, the statute of limitations can make compensation claims difficult, potentially leaving some patients under-compensated for their injuries. This is especially the case for many gynecology conditions. Let’s take a look at malpractice in gynecology: why these cases can be problematic and what the options are for legal recourse.

Malpractice in Gynecology: A Common Problem

Medical malpractice in gynecology is any deviation from the standard of care that results in injury to a patient. This can include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and surgical errors. 

If you’ve potentially been a victim of malpractice in gynecology, you’re not alone. According to the American Medical Association, gynecology cases were the most represented medical liability claim between 2020-2022. 

But despite their prevalence, gynecology malpractice cases can present challenges. 

Why Florida’s Statute of Limitations Hinders Gynecology Malpractice Cases

Many medical conditions take a long time to develop–longer than the two years set by Florida’s statute of limitations. However, for sufferers of malpractice, this problem is alleviated by a legal doctrine that allows claimants to file their case up to two years after their condition should, reasonably have been discovered. Where a medical condition makes itself clearly known, a claimant may make use of this discovery rule to promptly initiate a claim once their troubles begin. But what if the troubles present themselves gradually over time? What starts as a slight discomfort can sometimes develop insidiously, becoming acute before the sufferer takes action. Pinpointing an exact date for the discovery or onset of symptoms can be a complex task. In such cases, application of the discovery rule isn’t straightforward: when should the sufferer have reasonably been aware that something was wrong?

Where gynecology conditions are misdiagnosed or incorrectly treated, many issues can arise that aren’t easy for the sufferer to promptly discover. 

  • Cancer: Many types of gynecological cancer, such as ovarian cancer and cervical cancer, can be slow-growing and symptoms can present gradually.
  • Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause pain, infertility, and other problems. If endometriosis is misdiagnosed or not diagnosed early, it can progress and cause more severe symptoms.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs. If PID is not treated promptly, it can lead to serious health complications, such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
  • Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that form in the uterus. Fibroids can cause pain, heavy bleeding, and other problems. If uterine fibroids are not treated, they can grow and cause more severe symptoms.

These are just a few of the many gynecology conditions that can be difficult to promptly discover. 

The Importance of Legal Representation

For sufferers, bringing a successful case against the medical practitioner’s insurer can be difficult. The insurers that defend practitioners and hospitals are well-resourced, with years of experience in fighting off a wide range of claims; whether justly or not. Their approach will often be to argue that the sufferer should have brought their case to law earlier. But determining when a sufferer should reasonably have been aware of their condition isn’t clear cut. The skill and experience of your malpractice attorney can be a key factor here. 

To ensure you receive the settlement offer you deserve, you need a medical malpractice attorney with:

  • a long and proven track record, 
  • established ties with expert medical witnesses, and 
  • a detailed understanding of Florida malpractice law.

And take note, the stakes are high. Compensation payments for medical malpractice average almost $330,000, with over a quarter exceeding $500,000 and 8% exceeding $1 million

Let Us Protect You

If you believe you may have been the subject of medical malpractice in Florida, talk to us at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein. With medical malpractice settlements of $9.8 million, our track record speaks for itself. From our office in Miami, we serve clients throughout Florida. Call us at 305-371-2692, or schedule a free consultation online.