Being the victim of medical malpractice can have a lot more consequences than just the physical aspect. You also have additional bills, emotional scars, and often a disruption in your life that shouldn’t have been there. If you plan to file a lawsuit against a medical professional, it’s important you have the assistance of a lawyer who can help you understand the process and the legalities involved. For example, how long should you wait to file your medical malpractice case?
Before the Statute of Limitations Deadline Passes
Every state has something called a “statute of limitations.” This is a deadline that individuals have to file lawsuits after the incident for which they are suing occurs. Every state has a different statute, and your lawyer can explain the statute of limitations for the state you live in. Most states sit somewhere between two to four years, but there are some that give only one year, and others that reach as much as five years. In any case, your lawsuit has to be filed before the deadline passes.
After the Statute of Limitations Deadline Passes
If you miss filing your lawsuit by the deadline in your state, you could forfeit the right to do so. The case will most likely be dismissed if you try to file after the statute of limitations has run out. There are some exceptions, however, so there could be a possibility of compensation after all. The following are a few of those exceptions:
- The Discovery Rule – Sometimes a patient isn’t aware of a medical mistake until years later when the statute of limitations has passed. The good news is the discovery rule steps in to allow for a lawsuit to be filed. This is basically an extension that allows individuals who discover the malpractice at a later time to have that allotted amount of time to file their lawsuit, beginning at the time discovery was made.
- Minors – In most states, there are special protections for individuals under the age of 18. Because minors are not allowed to file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations begins on the child’s 18th birthday. In some states, the deadline is shortened, possibly to one year, but even if the child was injured at age 12, the statute does not begin until the child is no longer a minor.
There are a lot of factors at play in medical malpractice cases. If you are concerned about when you should file your case, it’s best to work with an attorney. Contact a medical malpractice attorney, like a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago, IL, today to learn more.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.