Statute of Limitations in New York Medical Malpractice Cases: Why Every Victim Needs to Know These Rules!

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Even if you have the best medical malpractice case in the world, if you bring your claim outside of the statute of limitations, you WILL lose.  The statute of limitations is a time period that requires you to bring your case within it to have a viable case.  Essentially, this is a time restriction on your case.

Each state has a different statute of limitations period for medical malpractice.  In fact, even within each state, different causes of actions have different statute of limitation periods.  For instance, a car accident case is three years, whereas a battery (intentional attack like a punch) is one year.  Even federal law has different statute of limitations periods.  This makes retaining an experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney incredibly important.

Under New York law, the statute of limitations period for medical malpractice is two and a half years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the claim.  Thus, in a New York hospital you MUST bring your claim within two and a half years or it is forever lost.  Other states have different time periods.  For instance, New Jersey is two years, whereas Tennessee is one year.

Federal law has a two year statute of limitations period for medical malpractice.   This only applies if the treatment was in a federally funded hospital, such as a VA center. 

There are some extensions to the statute of limitations period.  For instance, the continuous treatment doctrine permits a patient’s statute of limitations period to end on the last date of treatment from that same doctor or health care provider, and not necessary the date of the malpractice.  This means that if the doctor performed a negligent surgery on 1/1/10, and the doctor continued to treat the patient until 6/1/10 for the same injury or condition arising from the negligent surgery, the statute of limitations period expires on 1/1/13 instead of 1/6/12. 

There is also the discovery rule.  This applies only to foreign objects, or medical instruments, tools, or apparatus which are left inside of the patient following a surgery.  The rule is one year from the date of the discovery of the foreign object, or when the object should have been discovered, or the two and a half years; whichever period is longer.  This means a negligent surgery on 1/1/10 which leaves a foreign object, which was discovered on 1/1/13, could still be brought on 1/1/14.  Whereas the claim would normally expire on 6/1/12.

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 jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  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

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