If you or a loved one have been injured due to the conduct of a healthcare professional, you may have a medical malpractice case. The time you have to commence a medical malpractice case is not infinite, and is actually one of the quickest time period requiring you to commence an action. This time period is known as the statute of limitations, and if you fail to commence a lawsuit within the statute of limitations period your claim will FOREVER be barred. You will never be allowed to bring your claim!
Under New York CPLR section 214-a, the statute of limitations period for medical malpractice is two and a half (2 1/2) years from the date of the negligent act or omission. This means you need to commence a medical malpractice lawsuit within two and a half years of the date of the medical malpractice. As noted above, if you fail to do so you will forever be prevented from brining your medical malpractice case!
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations which may extend the time you have to commence a medical malpractice case. However, best practice is to never rely on these exceptions because you will have to prove that they apply. This is not always guaranteed, and it may be different to do so.
One exception is called the continuous treatment doctrine. This allows the victim of New York medical malpractice to have until the last day of treatment for the statute of limitations to expire. Meaning, if the healthcare professional commits medical malpractice at appointment 3 and the patient regularly goes to the healthcare professional for follow-ups until appointment 10, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until appointment 10. The purpose behind this is to allow the patient and healthcare professional to continue to work on the injury to resolve it; essentially to allow the healthcare professional to correct the mistake.
There is also an exception known as the discovery rule. This creates an alternative statute of limitations period, which gives the victim of medical malpractice the longer of either the original two and a half years OR one year from the discovery of the medical malpractice. However, the discovery rule only applies to foreign objects. This means objects that are accidentally left inside or broken off in a patient during a medical procedure.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.