Before a person files a medical malpractice suit in Florida, he or she must provide notice to each prospective defendant of the intent to file suit. The notice must be set by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice must list all healthcare providers the person has seen for the injuries in question since the alleged negligence, all of the healthcare providers who treated or evaluated the person in the two years prior to the alleged negligence, and copies of all medical records relied upon by the injured person’s medical expert. Section 766.106, Florida Statutes.
The injured person cannot file suit for 90 days after mailing the notice to any prospective defendant. During that time, the prospective defendant or his or her insurer is to conduct a pre-suit investigation. The statute of limitations is tolled as to all potential defendants during the 90-day period.
The question then arises as to whether the injured person must serve all prospective defendants at the same time, or if he or she may serve other defendants during the tolling period, thereby extending the statute of limitations. The Third District recently answered this question, finding that a plaintiff may provide notice to another prospective defendant during the tolling period and extend the statute of limitations as to all defendants.
In Salazar v. Coello, the plaintiff allegedly suffered an injury as a result of a surgical procedure. She first gave notice to the surgeon and the hospital. She subsequently gave notice to the anesthesia providers. She later filed suit against the surgeon, the hospital, and the anesthesia providers.