Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases

Watch today’s video as Attorney Ben Schwartz discusses statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases and how it is affected by time frame and state laws.

Statute of Limitations

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today I want to talk about a lady named Lavern Wilkinson. Lavern went to the doctor. She was having problems, the doctor took a chest x-ray which showed a suspicious mass, or suspicious lesion, and did not mention anything to Laverne about it.

Months later, years later, Lavern was having a worsening of her symptoms and went back to the doctor.  It was at that point that they realized she had cancer and they failed to tell her about it. They robbed her of her ability to get treatment to put that cancer into remission. Laverne passed away. She left an autistic daughter and family members behind. Her family members brought a malpractice case against the providers who negligently failed to tell her about the suspicious mass on the chest x-ray.

The case was not a valid case though, because this happened in New York. New York has a two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations on malpractice claims and the lawsuit was not filed within that two-and-a-half-year period. The New York State Assembly is working on a bill that may become a law called Lavern’s law, which would change the statute of limitations.

If you are watching this and you have seen our prior videos, you know that a statute of limitations is a law that limits the time during which you may file a valid lawsuit. A lot of states have statute of limitations where the statute of limitations time period starts running when the negligent act or omission starts, not when you find out about it.

So you can go to a doctor, the doctor could have completely botched your case. You do not know it until two years later when the symptoms start to come up from the cancer they failed to diagnosis or they fail to tell you about. You can have the situation where you do not find out they did something wrong until it is too late to sue for it. If you are leaving behind an autistic child, you are leaving behind responsibilities. Your family might want to bring a lawsuit against the wrongdoer because they no longer have you to support them.

I guess my question is, if you are viewing this video, what do you think about this statute of limitations issue? Should it be that once it two-and-a-half-year period of time goes by, even if you never realized, you did not know, or could have never known, you had the right sue and your right to sue is barred, or should it be from the date of discovery? Should every state have a law that says the limitations period on a lawsuit begins to run when you discover the negligence?

I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz and I am interested in your feedback. I think there might be arguments back and forth, so let me know what you think. Send me an email below, or you can go to our Facebook page and comment on this video.

Thanks for watching.

Statute of Limitations

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