Medical Malpractice Statute Of Limitations


Every state has adopted medical malpractice statute of limitations which set a time limit within which a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed. Sounds simple, but, as with everything in the law, it is not so simple.

A state’s law may say that the lawsuit must be filed within 3 years. When does the 3 year limit start running? If you say, “from the time the injury occurred”, then what about people who have been injured by a medical provider, but do not know that the medical provider caused the injury until 4 years later when another medical provider explains when the injury occurred? What about people who suspected that something was done wrong, but really cannot explain why they suspected it? And then 4 years later, they learn something that explains their suspicions.

Or what about children who are injured by a medical provider, but cannot file a lawsuit in their own name until they are 18 years old?

You get the idea. While it is easy to say that there is a medical malpractice statute of limitations of a certain number of years, it is not so easy to say when the time actually begins to run.

Most states have adopted some form of the rule which says that the time begins to run when a patient knew or should have known that medical malpractice or medical negligence was committed by a medical provider. And, most states also stay, or stop the running of, the medical malpractice statute of limitations until a child can file a lawsuit in his/her own name.

Medical malpractice statute of limitations issues are really a case by case decision because of determining when the time begins to run.

The above is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.

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