When a person suffers harm because of the negligence of a medical professional, that person has a right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party(s). However, the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit is limited by what is known as a medical malpractice statute of limitations.
In other words, a statute of limitations is a type of legal deadline, and individuals who fail to file a lawsuit within this deadline may have to forfeit their right to take legal action.
Medical malpractice statutes of limitations vary according to state but range between one and five years from the time the malpractice occurred. There are certain exceptions though. For instance, medical malpractice is not always immediately evident. In such cases, the statute of limitations may start at the time the malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered. In other instances, the victim of medical malpractice is a minor and the law may provide an exception that delays the statute of limitations from starting until the minor has reached legal adulthood.
Even if you think the medical malpractice statute of limitations has run out in your case, you should consult an attorney who can tell you whether any exceptions apply given your circumstances.
Families who have lost a loved one to medical malpractice may be entitled to file a lawsuit to seek justice on behalf of their loved one. However, cases of medical malpractice that result in death may be subject to different statutes of limitations. Many states recognize what is called “wrongful death,” and the laws pertaining to wrongful death cases may override the state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations.
Again, if you have any questions as to the wrongful death or medical malpractice statute of limitations that may apply to your case, it’s in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Medical malpractice is an unfortunate cause of serious injury and death in the United States. Every year, between 80,000 and 100,000 Americans die as a result of preventable medical mistakes. The families of these victims, as well as individuals who have suffered harm because of a medical error, may be entitled to compensation for their damages.
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