A recent dental clinic failure may have exposed several patients to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Learn more about this story and what you can do if you are exposed to dangerous viruses while receiving any kind of medical treatment – including dental treatment.
Potentially Hazardous Exposure at University Clinic
The Nova Southeastern University orthodontic clinic at Davie recently failed to adequately sterilize equipment, which may have put patients at risk to several viruses. NSU notified patients on Nov. 23, saying that some of the post-doctoral orthodontic dentists in training had not properly sterilized their dental equipment.
The dentists in training cleaned the equipment with surface disinfectant wipes rather than following the protocol of a complete heat sterilization process.
Unfortunately, a surface treatment may not have removed all viruses.
Their error created an exposure risk to 1,152 patients who had brackets repaired, braces put on teeth, or braces taken off teeth.
The clinic has agreed to cover patient costs for doctor consultations and blood screenings, but are they also vulnerable to medical malpractice claims?
Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
If you feel that your rights have been violated due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are, however, certain restrictions under Florida’s legal system that you must follow when you file a medical malpractice claim.
Statute of Limitations
It’s important to file your claim within the time limit mandated by law. In medical malpractice cases, you must file your claim within two years of discovering your injury, or when your injury should have been discovered. You must also file within at least four years of when the malpractice occurred no matter what. If you wait to file after four years, your case will be dismissed.
If the medical provider used fraud to conceal the malpractice, you have a slightly longer time frame. Under these conditions, you must file within two years of the discovery of injury or seven years from the time of malpractice.
This statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases does not apply to a child who has a case that starts prior to his or her eighth birthday.
It’s important to consult with a skilled injury attorney as soon as you suspect medical malpractice. There are several steps to complete in filing a claim, and it can be difficult to determine the date of discovery. An experienced lawyer can help you file your claim within the time limits.
The state of Florida requires that you first serve a notice of intent to sue, which includes a medical affidavit that shows you have a valid claim. After you file this notice, a 90-day process begins and the statute of limitations goes into effect.
The health care provider must let you know whether they wish to settle. If they tell you they do not wish to settle before the 90 days are up, you have either 60 days or the remainder of the statute of limitations to sue, whichever is longer. If you need time to find a medical expert who will investigate your case, you may receive an additional 90 days.
Filing Your Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you have experienced injury due to a dentist’s or doctor’s mistake, you should not be responsible for your medical bills. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit can provide you with compensation for your bills, lost income, and many other damages you have suffered.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.