Time Limitations to File a Malpractice Lawsuit

If you believe that you, a spouse or your child has been the victim of medical negligence and are considering a malpractice suit, it is important to know that time limitations are in place in every state. This guide to medical malpractice suits can help you take action to sue a doctor within the time limits.

The Purpose of the Statute of Limitations

Laws exist in all states to set time limits on the time frame in which you can sue a doctor for malpractice, surgical malpractice and wrongful death. The purposes for the statute of limitations for malpractice suits are first, to protect potential defendants and, secondly, to protect the integrity of the judicial system.

It should be noted that the sooner a malpractice suit is begun after the incident or incidents occur, the better chance there is to demonstrate that negligence was committed. As time goes by, it becomes impossible to prove that injuries or other problems were caused by medical professionals and didn’t develop on their own in the interim, or that a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose occurred.

The Statute of Limitations Varies by State

Time limitations are not set at the federal level. The limitations are determined by state law. The average is about 2 years, but you should find out what the specific limitations on in your state as soon as you believe you’ve been the victim of negligence. Talk with a malpractice attorney about the specific malpractice suit laws that apply in your state.

The Time Frame in Which you Can Sue Begins Immediately

When negligence is committed and an injury or wrongful death occurs, the time period for the statute of limitations begins. The negligence may be an act committed or something that was omitted from your care, such as a failure to diagnose a serious injury. Regardless of what it was, your opportunity to sue a doctor within the statute of limitations begins at that point.