Every state has laws that govern the amount of time a person can take a medical malpractice claim to the court to file a lawsuit. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. From state to state, the statute of limitations varies, and it also varies by type of lawsuit. If you were injured at the hands of a medical professional, you should understand a few things about the statute of limitations so you have a better chance at recovering compensation.
What’s the Time Limit?
The time limit you have for the statute of limitations depends on the state where you’re bringing the case. As a personal injury lawyer victims trust from Therman Law Offices, LTD can attest, many states have a statute of two years for medical malpractice, but that’s not the standard for every state. If you were to confuse two states, you could miss the deadline, therefore missing out on compensation altogether.
For example, if you live in Iowa where the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years, but you confuse it with your neighbors in Minnesota where the statute is four years, you might not get your claim filed on time. Your lawyer can help you find out how long you have to bring your claim.
Are There Exceptions?
There are a handful of exceptions to the rule when it comes to the medical malpractice statute of limitations. If you have missed the deadline, speak with your lawyer to find out if you qualify due to one or more of the following:
- Discovery – Not every medical mistake is realized immediately following the injury. It’s possible a surgeon left an instrument inside your body, but you didn’t discover it until a year later when you started experiencing complications. In that case, the statute of limitations would begin on the day you discovered the injury.
- Age – Minors are unable to bring lawsuits in court. If you were under the age of 18 when you were injured by a medical professional’s negligence, many courts will grant you an extension of the statute of limitations, allowing it to begin on the day you turn 18.
- Competence – You have to be unable to comprehend your situation and the ramifications of not filing a lawsuit, in order to actually file the lawsuit. For instance, if you are in a coma or are otherwise incompetent, the court may extend the statute of limitations until the day you are proven competent again.
The statute of limitations is set in place to protect the different parties in any case. Those who feel that they might have a claim for medical malpractice, must inform themselves with as much information as possible so they can understand what their legal options are and eligibility for compensation.