(1) The administrative law judge shall make the following determinations based upon all available evidence:
(a) Whether the injury claimed is a birth-related neurological injury. If the claimant has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the administrative law judge, that the infant has sustained a brain or spinal cord injury caused by oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury and that the infant was thereby rendered permanently and substantially mentally and physically impaired, a rebuttable presumption shall arise that the injury is a birth-related neurological injury as defined in s. 766.302(2).
(b) Whether obstetrical services were delivered by a participating physician in the course of labor, delivery, or resuscitation in the immediate postdelivery period in a hospital; or by a certified nurse midwife in a teaching hospital supervised by a participating physician in the course of labor, delivery, or resuscitation in the immediate postdelivery period in a hospital.
(c) How much compensation, if any, is awardable pursuant to s. 766.31.
1(d) Whether, if raised by the claimant or other party, the factual determinations regarding the notice requirements in s. 766.316 are satisfied. The administrative law judge has the exclusive jurisdiction to make these factual determinations.
(2) If the administrative law judge determines that the injury alleged is not a birth-related neurological injury or that obstetrical services were not delivered by a participating physician at the birth, she or he shall enter an order and shall cause a copy of such order to be sent immediately to the parties by registered or certified mail.
(3) By becoming a participating physician, a physician shall be bound for all purposes by the finding of the administrative law judge or any appeal therefrom with respect to whether such injury is a birth-related neurological injury.
(4) If it is in the interest of judicial economy or if requested to by the claimant, the administrative law judge may bifurcate the proceeding addressing compensability and notice pursuant to s. 766.316 first, and addressing an award pursuant to s. 766.31, if any, in a separate proceeding. The administrative law judge may issue a final order on compensability and notice which is subject to appeal under s. 766.311, prior to issuance of an award pursuant to s. 766.31.
History.–s. 68, ch. 88-1; s. 4, ch. 89-186; s. 21, ch. 91-46; s. 3, ch. 94-106; s. 312, ch. 96-410; s. 1805, ch. 97-102; s. 77, ch. 2003-416; s. 1, ch. 2006-8.
1Note.–Section 2, ch. 2006-8, provides that “[i]t is the intent of the Legislature that the amendment to s. 766.309, Florida Statutes, contained in this act, clarifies that since July 1, 1998, the administrative law judge has had the exclusive jurisdiction to make factual determinations as to whether the notice requirements in s. 766.316, Florida Statutes, are satisfied.”
Disclaimer: This is a recent version of this law. The legislature does not amend the various sections of the NICA laws very often, but you should not rely on this version without reviewing your possible NICA claim with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, and making sure you are using the appropriate version of the law for your particular case.