Medical malpractice lawsuits usually fall under a statute of limitations. That means that you have a certain time limit to file a claim. However, statutes of limitations can be complex, because there are some exceptions to the general rules.
The Standard Statute of Limitations
Each state has different rules about medical malpractice statutes of limitations. Typically, the standard deadline is two to six years after the medical malpractice occurred. You would have to check the specific statute of limitation for your state. When a victim of medical malpractice doesn’t file a lawsuit within that time frame, he or she could lose the right to sue.
When Was the Malpractice Discovered?
One exception to the standard rule is the discovery rule. Malpractice victims who miss the standard statute of limitations because they didn’t even know that there was malpractice can use the date of discovery to start the deadline. For example, you took a medication that made you sick, but didn’t realize that it was the medication. Several years later, the manufacturer reveals that it was the medication that made people sick. Your statute of limitation may not start until the manufacturer revealed the data. It’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer because the rules are complex.
Minor Children May Have Longer Statutes of Limitations
Most states give minor children a separate deadline. If parents or guardians don’t file a medical malpractice lawsuit while the child was under 18. This deadline generally begins when the child turns 18, but specifics for each state do vary.
Drop Dead Deadline
One further exception that may apply is if your state offers a “statute of repose.” This is an absolute deadline for medical malpractice that limits the deadline to a specific number of years after the act of malpractice. Not every state has this exception. Some states call the statute of repose by a different name. Laws change all the time as well.
Talk to a Good Attorney
Medical malpractice laws are complex. There can be many variables. Insurance companies will try to fight your claim, because they don’t want to pay out. It might be argued that you knew about the harm before you actually did.
Medical malpractice claims are best handled by those experienced in the law and medical malpractice claims. Proving medical malpractice is not always easy, either.