What is the statute of limitations and how does it affect my case?
Every state has a time limit within which a plaintiff must file a claim in court or lose their rights to sue forever. The statute is not the same in every state. The rules may be different between medical malpractice cases and other types of claims, and the rules may differ for newborns and children. Generally, the limit may range from six months to five years, depending on the specifics of your case.
The rule for medical malpractice cases begins from the date of the negligent act or date of death. In a wrongful death case, the date of death is very specific and unalterable. In cases where the plaintiff is alive and brings the claim, the date of the negligent act may not be known by the plaintiff. Under some laws, the clock on the statute of limitations starts when there is discovery of the injury rather than the event that caused it. Thus, a plaintiff who claims a
delayed or misdiagnosis of cancer would start from the date of a correct diagnosis and have until the specific state statute, to file a claim involving the earlier failure to diagnose. The correct interpretation of this statute in such cases may involve knowledge of case precedents and other legal issues. It is best to consult with an experienced attorney immediately whenever there is any question about the statute of limitations.
The laws vary from one state to another, depending on the legal issue including medical malpractice case (such as birth injury,
wrongful death, personal injury, etc.), as well as the state and county jurisdiction. It is important to consult an attorney with experience in all types of medical malpractice claims. There are also specific rules for hospitals that are owned and operated by a county or local hospital administrative district that will require a claim to be filed with the governmental entity within a much shorter time from the date of injury or death. Failure to file such a claim within the required time will bar the filing of a complaint in court.