After suffering an injury due to medical malpractice, the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with legal deadlines. Unfortunately, our system is rigged with countless landmines that can negate your claim if not understood and avoided. One of the most important landmines is the statute of limitations, which refers to a limited period in which you can begin legal action.
If you attempt to file a medical malpractice suit after the legal deadline has passed, the court will likely refuse to hear your case, and you will wind up with nothing but heartache and piling medical bills. Thankfully, our knowledgeable and experienced NYC medical malpractice attorneys are intimately familiar with these deadlines and other pitfalls and can help you avoid them entirely.
The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
In NYC, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is 30 months (two and a half years) from the date of the injury for non-government hospitals and medical practitioners. If your injury occurred at a municipal hospital, the timeline is much shorter: 90 days to register your complaint, and 12 months to file your lawsuit or insurance claim.
Performing the needed investigation and preparing your claim can take time, which makes it critical that the process begins as soon as physically possible.
The Discovery Rule
In some cases, you may not be aware of the fact that medical malpractice is the cause of your injury until months or even years later. In such cases, the discovery rule applies – the deadline “clock” starts the moment you make the connection between your injury and the earlier medical malpractice. The discovery rule is in effect for both private and municipal medical providers, meaning:
- Let’s say Joe was prescribed an unnecessary blood thinner by a local hospital. He takes it for two years, after which he discovers that the medication created severe complications. In such a case, he would then have 90 days from the moment his health condition was discovered to file a complaint, and one year to then file his lawsuit.
- In the same scenario, if the hospital were private, he would have two and a half years after his discovery to file the suit.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are, however, exceptions for specific scenarios:
- Minors: The statute of limitations for minors begins when the victim turns 18, meaning a medical malpractice case on a 14-year-old victim can be filed as late as six and half years after the injury (if the medical practitioner was private) or five years (if the medical practitioner was a municipal employee).
- Continuous treatment: If you can prove that you were receiving ongoing treatment, the “clock” will begin the moment that treatment has ended.
When to Seek Legal Counsel
We recommend seeking legal counsel as soon as possible. The statute of limitations is just one of the common pitfalls involved in medical malpractice suits, and the ability to gather fresh evidence can greatly assist in the success of your case. The advantages of having an attorney by your side include:
- Peace of mind: We take care of everything and meet all deadlines for your case, letting you rest and recover.
- Higher chance of success: At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients – and our 50 years of experience gives you a real advantage.
- Increased compensation: Insurance companies are notorious for lowballing individuals who attempt to file claims on their own. When a firm like ours backs you, they know better. We never accept an initial offer, and we fight diligently to get you the compensation you deserve.
With the statute of limitations, do not hesitate to contact us at (212) 986-7353 if you suspect you have been the victim of medical malpractice in New York City.