Statute of Limitations: An Important Consideration

In every state, and in federal jurisdictions, plaintiffs must move against the defendant within a certain amount of time.  Historically, that amount of time was simply based on a determination of reasonableness; was it, or was it not reasonable for an injured plaintiff to wait the amount of time he or she did wait before commencing suit against the defendant. 

Reasonableness can be influenced by many factors; age or infancy, knowledge or lack thereof about the injury, and even just uncertainty.  But since time fades memory, and evidence can become lost and or destroyed, civil suits must be commenced timely.   Moreover, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that the great state of New York has moved very far from the old days of “reasonableness”.

New York made this shift decades ago by enacting statutes of limitations.  These are laws and they specify the amount of time an injured victim has to commence a lawsuit against the offending person.  If the plaintiff fails to timely commence litigation, the defendant can assert an affirmative defense in his or her answer to the allegations that which states the statute of limitations has not been adhered to.   This will most assuredly be fatal to a plaintiff’s case. 

Making the matter more complicated, the statute of limitations is not uniform for all types of cases.  This means that the time frame will vary depending upon the cause of action; limitations periods for breach of contract, ordinary negligence, battery, suits against the state, etc. are different.

One of the more unique statutes of limitations periods is that which applies to medical professionals.  Medical malpractice claims must be commenced within two and a half years starting from the date of the injury.  Once the medical professional commits a wrongful act, or omits or fails to act, the injured victim must sue for compensation within two and a half years from that moment. 

The limitations clock can be paused in some circumstances, so please consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in the Hudson Valley region to see if the limitations period has expired in your case.   “Infancy”, “insanity”, the discovery rule, and or the continuous treatment doctrine may have extended the limitations period in your case thereby eliminating the defendant’s ability to have the claim dismissed. 

In closing, please understand that medical malpractice claims apply to all types of medical professionals and not just surgeons or general practitioners. 

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

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