If you are a victim of medical malpractice – you’ve been injured or suffered harm through the negligent acts of your doctor, hospital or other care provider – you have a legal right to sue for compensation for those injuries. However, that legal right does not exist forever.
Medical malpractice/negligence lawsuits, like other personal injury lawsuits, are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the legally set amount of a time individuals have to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the harm they or their family members have suffered. If a medical negligence lawsuit is not filed in a timely manner, it is forever barred. The amount of time is set by the individual state legislatures so the statutes differ from state to state. Generally the statute of limitations for injured minors filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is different than for adults. Often, the statute of limitations period begins to run when the negligence and injury occur.
Why Have Statutes of Limitation?
But why do statutes of limitation exist? It generally is an attempt to limit lawsuits filed against health care providers. Also, as time goes on, physical evidence and documentation can get lost or destroyed, and memories tend to fade. Therefore, it’s the injured party’s responsibility to bring about a medical malpractice lawsuit in a timely fashion. The statute of limitations in each state determines exactly what that timely fashion is, depending upon the type of lawsuit and/or injury.
Therefore, if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of medical negligence, the prudent course of action is to contact an attorney as soon as possible to allow timely investigation of the potential claim and, if appropriate, to file the lawsuit before time expires.