The Continuous Treatment Rule Is Important to Malpractice Law


Like any other area of law, the standards and norms that apply to New York medical malpractice lawsuits are filled with details, technicalities and nuances that need to be properly understood so that people who are mistreated in this setting are able to properly stand up for their legal rights.  New York is like any other jurisdiction in that there are certain items that need to be remembered so that otherwise valid legal claims can proceed as they should.  Many of the controversies that have arisen in the past in the state involved the statute of limitations.

For instance, unlike many other jurisdictions, people who are injured because of substandard medical care need to file a legal claim within the statute of limitations based on the date that the actual injury occurred instead of when the patient knew or should have known of the harm that was done.  This little-known rule has led to the dismissal of many lawsuits over the years because people waited too long in the eyes of the law to pursue compensation.

However, there are also exceptions to the statute of limitations that apply to these situations that can provide patients with some extra time to file medical malpractice lawsuits in New York.  One such exception is known as the continuous treatment rule, and it has been the central issue in many lawsuits both in New York and around the country lately.  This rule is not readily understood by people who do not possess legal backgrounds, which is yet another reason why people who have been harmed in this manner need to retain New York medical malpractice lawyers to handle their claims.

The continuous treatment rule basically states that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the treatment for an injury that occurred because of medical negligence is finished.  For instance, if someone goes in for surgery and that surgery is botched to the point where six months of additional treatment on that negligence-caused injury is needed, the statute of limitations will not generally begin to run until the day that this final treatment is completed.

This is the rule that’s generally followed around the country, but there are questions of fact that can arise when a patient asserts this rule in an effort to extend the amount of time available to file a lawsuit.  Usually, these questions of fact deal with whether those additional treatments were necessarily related to the infliction of the injury that was the foundation of the legal claim.  This issue is usually resolved with evidence and arguments that support that evidence. 

As can be seen above, medical malpractice laws are highly technical and lawsuits that arise from these situations require an intimate knowledge of everything related to these matters.  If you or someone you love has been harmed because of substandard medical care, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.