If you have been hurt by the negligent actions of a dentist, you may have a valid dental malpractice claim that entitles you to compensation. Florida laws on dental negligence can be complex though, and there is a two-year statute of limitations. To protect your right to fair compensation, you should consult a dental malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Understanding Florida’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Dental malpractice falls under the larger umbrella of medical malpractice, so the latter’s laws apply. That means you must prove the same things as a medical malpractice case, you’re eligible for the same types of compensation, and you have the same deadlines.
In the state of Florida, you have two years from a dental negligence incident to file a dental malpractice suit. And as long as your case is started within the two-year mark, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to resolve.
There are of course some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a dentist intentionally hides evidence of an injury and it’s not discovered until much later, you may still have a claim. The statute of limitations also does not apply to a minor if the incident occurred before their eighth birthday. In these cases, tolling the statute of limitations temporarily stops the clock from running to give you additional time to file your lawsuit.
The Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations is discussed in Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Dental Malpractice Lawsuit
Obviously, your dentist is likely to be liable for your damages in a malpractice claim. However, liability may also be shared by dental assistants who provided care or the owner of the facility where you were treated. If your case involves an improper dosage of medication, the pharmacy where your prescription was filled could also share liability.
An experienced dental malpractice attorney knows how to locate all potentially liable parties within the statute of limitations. This is a vital step in maximizing your total compensation.
How to File a Dental Malpractice Suit in Florida
If you are considering filing a suit against your dentist, you’ll want to enlist the help of a legal professional. The laws can get complicated, and there’s a certain order in which things have to be done, like the initial steps of giving the dentist notice of your intent to sue and providing an affidavit from a medical professional that says you have a valid suit.
The purpose of this notification is to allow the dentist the opportunity to settle the case out of court. The dentist will then have 90 days to indicate whether or not they want to settle. If they do not want to, you have 60 days (or what’s left of the statute of limitations) to actually file suit.
While this process seems straightforward, it can actually be somewhat confusing. And if you don’t handle things exactly as they should be, you may find yourself unable to file a suit. That’s why you’ll want to let a dental malpractice lawyer help. They’ve done this process plenty of times before, so they know exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to happen. This way, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake or missing a deadline.