How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New York?
People rely on medical professionals to provide prompt and appropriate treatment when they are ill or injured. At the very least, medical professionals must uphold the accepted standard of care - the degree of care that could be expected from a similarly trained medical professional presented with the same set of circumstances.
When substandard medical care results in personal injury, illness, or loss, victims can file a claim to hold liable parties accountable for damages. Medical malpractice lawyers at Zucker & Regev, P.C. in Brooklyn, NY, discuss how long a person has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York and whether there are exceptions to the statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
The time that a person has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is dictated by the state’s statute of limitations. In New York, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is two and a half years. The two-and-a-half-year deadline starts from the time of the injury-occurring incident, the date of the omission of treatment, or the last day of treatment for ongoing illnesses or injuries.
Are there Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are strictly upheld laws. However, there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under the following laws and circumstances, the deadline to file a medical malpractice claim may be extended beyond two and a half years.
The Discovery Rule
Some medical malpractice claims stem from retained foreign objects, which are objects (surgical tools, materials, etc.) left behind after surgery. A foreign object is often only discovered when complications occur, which may extend after a medical malpractice statute of limitations has passed. In the event a foreign object is discovered, the Discovery Rule allows a person one year from the time the foreign body is discovered (or should have reasonably been discovered) to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In 2018, Lavern’s Law took effect. Lavern’s Law is named for Lavern Wilkinson, a 41-year-old who died of complications from undiagnosed lung cancer. Lavern Wilkinson learned about the failure to diagnose after New York’s statute of limitations had expired. Under Lavern’s Law, victims of medical malpractice related to undiagnosed cancer have two and a half years to file a lawsuit starting the day they become aware of (or should have been aware of) the missed diagnosis.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits and Minors
Minors cannot file a legal claim. Because of this, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits involving a minor can be put on hold until the minor turns 18, provided the claim is not filed more than 10 years after the alleged malpractice. Alternatively, the minor’s parents can file a lawsuit on the minor’s behalf (within the statute of limitations timeframe).
What Happens if I Miss the Statute of Limitations?
If a medical malpractice victim misses the statute of limitations and no exceptions apply, the court will dismiss the case and no damages will be awarded. To avoid missing the statute of limitations deadline, we urge medical malpractice victims to contact a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer, such as those at our Brooklyn law firm, as soon as possible after receiving substandard medical care.
Medical malpractice victims may be due financial compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you suspect that you or a loved one received negligent medical care, contact our Brooklyn law firm at your earliest convenience to schedule a case review.