The Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims in New York
Doctors owe their patients a duty to provide medical treatment within certain standards of care. Doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals can be held liable when treatment falls below these standards.
You have a limited time to file a medical malpractice claim in New York. Under the statute of limitations, a plaintiff has only 2 years and 6 months to file their claims. However, this time limit is subject to change depending on your unique circumstances. Children and certain people who did not realize their injuries until later may have extra time to file their cases. People with certain mental disabilities may also be able to toll the statute of limitations. It is important to speak with a lawyer about your case as soon as possible because it takes a lot longer to prepare a case than most people realize.
If you were harmed by a doctor’s negligence, you have a limited window of time to file your case and get compensation for your damages. Our New York personal injury attorneys are here to help you get your case filed on time. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case evaluation.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases in New York
The law gives potential plaintiffs limited time to file civil lawsuits. Statutes of limitations impose these deadlines, and different cases may have different time limits. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits can be found under CVP Law § 214-A.
For adults, the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is 2 years and 6 months from the date of the injuries. Statutes of limitations are often imposed as hard deadlines, but various caveats might make your deadline more flexible. Speak to our New York medical malpractice attorneys about the statute of limitations in your case right away.
For example, the exact date when a statute of limitations begins to run may differ in some cases. The general rule of thumb is that the statute begins to run when your medical malpractice injuries occur. So, if you were injured in a surgery gone wrong on May 1st, 2022, you would have 2 years and 6 months from that exact date to file your lawsuit.
However, some people receive ongoing treatment for complex or chronic conditions. It is possible that your treatment began on one date, but you did not experience a malpractice-related injury until somewhere later in that course of treatment – and it is possible the malpractice did not stop on that date. In such a case, the statute begins to run on the date of the most recent treatment or the end of the course of treatment.
What if I Do Not Know About the Medical Malpractice Until Later in New York?
Patients may experience a wide range of conditions, symptoms, or illnesses that require medical treatment. As such, there are various ways in which malpractice can occur. Many injured patients do not realize they have suffered malpractice until later. In some cases, years go by before a person realizes the malpractice. In these cases, the statute of limitations may be extended to account for when injuries are realized.
In particular situations where you did not realize a doctor’s negligence injured you until after the statute of limitations expired, our Brooklyn personal attorneys might be able to argue for an extension based on when you discovered the injuries. We can argue that the statute began to run on the date you discovered the malpractice, which might have been some time after the malpractice actually occurred.
The law carves out two specific applications for this rule. First, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, CVP Law § 214-A(b) holds that the plaintiff has 2 years and 6 months from the date they knew or should have known of the misdiagnosis, but the case must be filed no later than 7 years after the malpractice occurred. In cases where the patient is receiving ongoing treatment, they have 2 years and 6 months from the date of the last treatment. If those two situations overlap in your case (undiscovered misdiagnosis and an ongoing course of treatment), you must file within whichever deadline is shorter.
In cases involving surgeries where foreign objects were mistakenly left inside a patient’s body, the patient has 1 year from the date of discovery to file their claim. This means that even if a patient does not realize the foreign object’s presence until after the ordinary statute of limitations has expired, they still have 1 year to file.
Extending the Statute of Limitations for New York Medical Malpractice Cases
Plaintiffs often experience complications beyond their control when they prepare their medical malpractice cases for court. Plaintiffs sometimes end up waiting to file their case because of certain roadblocks. In some cases, the ordinary statute of limitations expires before a plaintiff can file their case in court. Our Queens personal injury lawyers can help you toll the statute in those circumstances.
The Defendant is Out of State
To file your medical malpractice lawsuit in New York, the defendant must be in the state. Defendants outside the state are beyond New York’s jurisdiction, and plaintiffs might not be able to serve them notice of the lawsuit. If notice cannot be delivered, the case cannot move forward.
According to CVP Law § 207, the statute of limitations may be tolled if the defendant is outside the state and cannot be reached. If the defendant remains outside the state for 4 months or longer, the time they are absent from New York will not count toward the filing deadline.
This rule also applies if a defendant intentionally evades the lawsuit by living within the state under a false name so the plaintiff cannot find them. It should be noted that plaintiffs should make reasonable efforts to find defendants, and you might have to show you did your due diligence before you can toll the statute.
According to CVP Law § 208(a), a plaintiff may toll the statute of limitations due to infancy, which means they are under the age of 18. Under this law, the statute of limitations is tolled until the potential plaintiff turns 18. At that time, the ordinary statute of limitations begins to run. Essentially, a minor injured by a doctor’s negligence has 2 years and 6 months from their 18th birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The statute also carves out special exceptions for people experiencing “insanity.” This term refers not necessarily to a specific clinical diagnosis but is a general term encompassing people who are not mentally fit or competent to file a lawsuit on their own because of a disability.
Much like the rule on infancy, a person claiming insanity can toll the statute until their disability ceases. However, a person cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit more than 10 years after the malpractice happened. For people experiencing long-term disabilities, this might pose a problem. Our Bronx personal injury attorneys can help you file your lawsuit or toll the statute of limitations to buy you more time.
How Long Do I Have to File a Case After One of the Parties Dies in New York?
Medical malpractice cases often involve plaintiffs who are in poor health to begin with. It is not unheard of for potential plaintiffs to pass away before filing their lawsuits. It is equally possible for potential defendants to pass away before they can be sued for malpractice. In cases where the cause of action survives the death of one or both parties, the time limit to file may change.
When a Plaintiff Dies
According to CVP Law § 210(a), if a potential medical malpractice plaintiff dies before they can file their claim, a representative of their estate may file the claim within 1 year of the plaintiff’s death. Depending on when the potential plaintiff passes away, this might extend or cut short the time limit for filing.
If the plaintiff dies shortly after the malpractice occurs, the ordinary statute of limitations that lasts for over 2 years is suddenly cut short to 1 year. Alternatively, if the plaintiff dies toward the end of the initial 2 and half year time limit, their representative now has an additional year to file.
When a Defendant Dies
A similar rule applies to situations involving the death of a potential defendant under CVP Law § 210(b). Under this rule, the 18 months immediately following the death of the potential defendant are not counted toward the filing deadline.
Essentially, the time limit to file a medical malpractice case is still 2 years and 6 months. However, the clock counting down this time is paused for 18 months after the defendant’s death. If a party to your case passes away before you can file your lawsuit, talk to our Long Island personal injury lawyers for help.
When to Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York
Beginning a medical malpractice lawsuit is a big endeavor, and many potential plaintiffs are hesitant to start the process. A lawsuit requires intense preparation and is a huge time commitment, and the outcome is not guaranteed. If you believe you suffered malpractice at the hands of a negligent doctor, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your situation. Our New York medical malpractice lawyers can help you evaluate your legal options and decide the course of action best for you.
If you are not even totally sure you have a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should still call a lawyer as soon as you can. Your attorney might ask you several questions to help you figure out if you have a medical malpractice case. Did you receive medical treatment? Are you still in pain? Did your health decline after treatment? Have you gotten a second medical opinion? The answers to these questions can help you figure out your next step.
It is good to contact a lawyer soon because they will know what steps you should take to begin preparing your case. They can help you arrange meetings with other doctors for second opinions and help you get your medical records. A lawyer can also help you assess your damages. Waiting too long to file your lawsuit might make your case an uphill battle.
How Long Does it Take to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New York?
It is also important to begin preparations on your case sooner rather than later because medical malpractice lawsuits can take a long time to complete. It is not unusual for these kinds of cases to drag on for months or even over a year. Even the preparations required before filing your case may take up a surprising amount of your time.
There are a lot of preparations to go through before filing a case. To draft your initial complaint, you need specific details about the defendant, how the malpractice happened, your injuries, and the value of your damages. Not only must you accurately assert this information in your complaint, but you should have some evidence backing up your claims before you even file.
This is why it is important to meet with our Staten Island personal injury lawyers about your case as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the less time you have to prepare before the statute of limitations expires. Many of the preparations you must make can be difficult. For example, you might have witnesses you want to gather for your case who are hesitant or unwilling to get involved in your lawsuit. You might also be surprised with inaccurate or incomplete medical records that can hinder things like damages calculations.
It is also smart to take the time to get checked out by other doctors. Second opinions from other medical professionals who can back up your claims of malpractice may be paramount to your case. You should also meet with a doctor who will act as an expert witness in your trial and testify about your injuries.
Call Our New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Help
If you were injured because of a doctor’s negligence, our Manhattan personal injury attorneys can help you file your lawsuit as soon as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with our team, call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.