How Long Do I Have to File Malpractice

In some states the statute of limitations contains considerations regarding when a patient discovered or realized medical negligence occurred. This is referred to as the discovery rule. Medical malpractice statute of limitations may differ from other types of injury claims. If you have been injured due to the actions of a medical professional, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

Statute of limitations range from one to ten years, but are two to three years on average. For instance, the statute of limitations in Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming is two years. Other states such as Arkansas, Washington D.C., Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin all have a three year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.

Exceptions to the statute of limitations

As mentioned above, if you fail to file your medical malpractice case within the specified time period you may have lost your right to do so. But like most laws, there are exceptions. For instance, some states allow what is called the discovery rule for medical malpractice cases. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations will not start until the injury is discovered or when the doctor or patient should have discovered it. For instance, in California, you can file a medical malpractice case three years from the date of injury or one year from the date of discovery, or whichever date occurs first. In Florida you have two years from the date of the medical malpractice injury or from the date the injury was discovered or could reasonably been discovered.

Other states may allow what is termed the Foreign Object Rule which works like the discovery rule. For instance, if a surgeon leaves a foreign object in you during surgery and you do not realize his mistake until after the statute of limitations has expired, in some states you would have a certain amount of time after the date of discovery, rather than the date of the actual surgery, to file a medical malpractice case.

Due to the complexity of state laws, if you have questions about whether or not you have passed the statute of limitations for your injuries or if there are exceptions for your medical malpractice case, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer.

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