Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims

Most of the time, people would employ the wait and see approach when confronted with injuries because of medical practice. However, this is not necessarily the best thing to do as the time prescribes. You should bear in mind that the law requires you to pursue legal remedies sooner rather than later. This requirement is generally known as “statute of limitations.” If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations you may be forever barred from bringing your claim, regardless of the merit of your claim. Most of all, medical malpractice prescription to file cases would be shorter than the usual personal injury cases. Thus, it is best to immediately consult with a personal injury attorney so that you can file your action as early as possible.

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

Up until now, there is no settled rule on when the statute of limitations begin to run. ┬áThe view can be construed from the interpretation of the words of the various provisions in the law. 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.

For some courts, the material moment is when the accident actually happened. 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. The last view is that the statute of limitations begin to run when the treatment for the injury has already been done.

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. After this material decision, the court then deliberates upon the moment when the statute of limitations will run. Some courts take into account the point of death as the start of counting for the statute of limitations to commence. The court may also take into point the time when the accident which is said to have been the cause of death, happens. Another court may decide that the time begins to run when the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the harm done or that the death was caused by malpractice. Yet another view would be that the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last treatment, which may or may not be the date of death or the date the plaintiff discovered the harm done by the malpractice.

Getting Legal Help

Every year, it is highly likely that the states will formulate laws on the statute of limitations pertaining to medical malpractice events. Thus, a competent personal injury attorney would be able to help you with it.


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