If you feel that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, just how long do you have to take legal action against those who have wronged you? We’ll talk about it in this issue.
What are the statute of limitations for medical malpractice?
First off, let’s define the term “statute of limitations” to make sure we’re on the same page. Essentially, statute of limitations are set timelines – or deadlines – for when legal action can be taken.
While there are different deadlines in place for different types of claims, the basic idea is the same: if you don’t file your lawsuit within the legal time window, your claim will be lost.
Most states have a firm statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice claims. In some – but not all of them – the clock starts running on the date of the alleged malpractice, not the date of when you discover that something wrong occurred.
For example, in New York, you have 2 ½ years from the date of medical malpractice to file a suit for damages, but in Alabama, the time limit is 2 years from the date of the malpractice or 6 months after learning of the malpractice.
The Problem With Statute Of Limitations On Medical Malpractice Claims
A tight window limiting the time for when a medical malpractice case can proceed is, obviously, especially troublesome as it can take months or years before someone realizes they’ve been a victim of medical malpractice.
By that time, the statute may have long expired well before the victim even became aware of the mishap.
The Discovery Rule
The states that allow the clock to begin running after you become aware of the alleged medical malpractice are following a discovery rule. The sole purpose of the discovery rule is to give potential victims of medical malpractice a bit of leeway to file their claim even though the standard statute of limitation has expired.
Use of the discovery rule is for reserved for only patients who truthfully did not know and could not have reasonably become aware of their doctor’s medical malpractice.
Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm If You Suspect Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice cases are very complex, and require the expertise of a lawyer specifically skilled in this area.
We’ve been handling medical malpractice cases for more than 40 years and have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.
If you’ve experienced medical malpractice or merely suspect that you have, do not hesitate to get in touch the Fitzgerald Law Firm at 800-323-9900 for a free consultation.