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Time Limit in Medical Malpractice Cases

In each state, a law is known as “statute of limitations” establishes a limit on the period you need to go to court as well as get a malpractice claim started.

Let us check out Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims by Find Law to learn about the statute of limitations.

“When Does the Statute Begin to Run in Medical Malpractice Cases?

Courts take different views on when the statute of limitations begins to run in medical malpractice cases. To some extent, the difference in these views is a reflection of the wording in the statutes. The difference also reflects the courts’ views on the relative merit of protecting injured parties versus protecting medical providers by enabling them to defend themselves when records are still in existence and recollections are still fresh.

In some courts, the time for filing a claim begins to run upon the occurrence of the act or omission the plaintiff claims constituted malpractice. Other courts say that the time begins running when the act or omission results in injury. Another view is that the time begins to run when the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered he or she was injured. A fourth view is that the time begins to run when the treatment concludes.

Things get even more complicated when the injured party dies. In the case of malpractice causing death, the courts must first decide whether the wrongful death statute applies or whether the statute of limitations for medical malpractice applies. Once that is decided, the court must then decide what triggers the running of the statute of limitations. The courts may say that the statute begins to run when the plaintiff dies. Or the court may decide that the statute begins to run when the action that allegedly caused the death occurs.”

Lawsuit Time Limit From “Discovery” of Medical Malpractice by All Law talks about the statue of limitations in more detail.

“The Discovery Rule

The more complicated part of the statute of limitations is generally called the discovery rule. The discovery rule is an exception to the standard deadline. The purpose of the discovery rule is to give victims of medical malpractice the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the standard statute of limitations expired, when they did not even know that they had a potential medical malpractice claim.

The key to the discovery rule is that the malpractice victim did not know that he/she had a potential medical malpractice case. Only patients who truly did not know — and could not reasonably have figured out — of their doctor’s medical negligence have the right to use the discovery rule exception to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the expiration of the standard statute of limitations.

The discovery rule is written differently in each state. In some states, it only extends the statute of limitations for a year or two, while in others it might extend the statute of limitations for many years. And in still other states, the discovery rule only applies if a surgeon negligently left a medical instrument or some other object inside a patient’s body.”

Learn more about the statute of limitations in medical malpractice claims by clicking on the articles above.