Statute of limitations for medical malpractice and discovery of problem

Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by Ed Harper

I recently was asked the question: How much time do I have to bring a malpractice claim for the errors of a professional? The answer is not the easiest to discern, because it depends. However, I hope this clarifies a couple of potential problems.

The statute of limitations begins to run when a person suspects a problem with their medical care. The standard is what would a reasonable person have thought based on the circumstances of the care.

This is what we call the beginning of the discovery period of the malfeasance of a professional (could be a doctor, a dentist, or other medical professional). You would have three (3) years from this date to proceed.

If you “discover” a problem after the standard three (3) year statute of limitations period, you have one (1) year to proceed, but not more than 8 years after an incident to bring a claim for malpractice. The eight (8) year period is called a statute of repose and prevents any liability after this date. However, if there is a foreign body remaining in a person, which would extend the period of time.

This is a complicated question, but I hope i’ve cleared up some of the confusion.

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