Medical Malpractice Law FAQ: What should I know about the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims?

If you have been injured by a medical doctor, or another medical professional, and are interested in pursuing compensation, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. When you do so, one of the first questions that may be asked of you is:

When did the treatment or procedure take place?, or When did you find out that the treatment might have harmed you?

These questions are very important because your answer may impact your ability to file a claim. In the event that you have exceeded the statute of limitations, you may be unable to file a claim at all. 

What should I know about the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims? 

It is common for people who have been injured to delay in calling a lawyer because they don’t know whether or not they have a claim, have been told they are wrong about thinking they were negligently harmed, or believe their case isn’t worth much. The only thing that a delay will do is potentially result in your case being thrown out because you missed the deadline. Furthermore, the longer you wait, the greater the risk of losing evidence will become. By choosing the right medical malpractice lawyer, he or she can review your case, investigate what happened, gather evidence, and take care of the complicated elements while you focus on recovering. 

As the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, you may have between one and three years to file a claim. There are circumstances, such as:

  • The type of claim
  • The location of the claim
  • Whether any government entity is involved

In general, statutes regarding medical malpractice cases are shorter than other personal injury cases. Furthermore, there can be special statutes, such as a statute of repose and a maximum cap. 

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

This is where the laws regarding the statute of limitations can become slightly hazy – especially with medical malpractice cases. For example, the difference in the time you have to file a claim may depend on:

  • The language used in the legislation
  • How the court views your case
  • The merit of your case
  • The ability for a plaintiff to defend themselves
  • Who the plaintiff is (i.e. birth injuries may be granted leniency)

Depending on the court, the statute of limitations may be based upon:

  • The date of the procedure
  • The date the plaintiff claims malpractice
  • The date that the injury was discovered
  • The date in which the treatment was completed

In the event of a person dying because of malpractice, the statute of limitations pertaining to a wrongful death case may apply. In this case, a medical malpractice lawyer will likely determine these time limits based on:

  • The date of death
  • The date in which the action that led to the death occurred
  • The date in which the plaintiff claims malpractice
  • The last day of treatment

If you would like to find out what the statute of limitations may be for your medical malpractice claim, please call a medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A.for their insight into medical malpractice and the statute of limitations.