Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

Merson Law examines the continuing negligence doctrine
Tags Discovery Rule, Lavern's Law, medical malpractice, medical malpractice lawyer, medical negligence, misdiagnosis, missed cancer diagnosis, never event, reasonable person standard, statute of limitations

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One of the most important first steps in determining whether or not you have a viable medical malpractice case is to make sure you are within the statute of limitations for medical malpractice.

In short, the statute of limitations sets the timeframe within which a legal claim must be filed. In New York, medical malpractice cases are subject to specific time limits, and failure to file within these limits can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation.

Traditionally, New York had a relatively short statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, often posing challenges for patients who might not immediately realize they’ve been harmed due to medical negligence. Victims of medical malpractice have two years and six months from the date of malpractice to file a claim. 

How the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Can Change

As for most rules, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations for medical malpractice. The key thing to remember is that the statute of limitations is always two and a half years. What changes, depending on the circumstances of the case, is the date from which the two and a half years starts.

For example, in the case that you were receiving continuous treatment and suffered an injury due to malpractice, you have two years and six months from the date your treatment ended. 

In the case that you were a child when the malpractice occurred, you have until two years and six months after your 18th birthday. 

There are also some additional laws that dictate how the statute of limitations is calculated in specific circumstances.

Lavern’s Law

Lavern’s Law, named after Lavern Wilkinson, aims to address cases where a patient has suffered due to a missed cancer diagnosis. 

Under this law, the statute of limitations starts running from the date of discovery or when the victim or a  reasonably competent healthcare provider should have discovered the issue.

The Discovery Rule

The Discovery Rule delays the start of the statute of limitations until the patient discovers or should have discovered the harm caused by medical negligence. This rule is particularly relevant in cases where the harm is not immediately apparent, for instance in cases of retained surgical instruments.

Get in Touch with Merson Law

Navigating the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases can be challenging, especially in situations where harm is not immediately apparent. New York’s legal landscape has seen important changes with Lavern’s Law and the application of the Discovery Rule, offering extended timeframes for certain cases. If you or a loved one suspect medical malpractice, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a medical malpractice lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and justice is pursued effectively. Get in touch with Merson Law today by calling our office or by filling out the contact form on this page.

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