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How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case in New York?

October 30, 2019 in

There is a time limit known as the “statute of limitations” for filing any type of medical malpractice case. In New York, patients injured by the improper or negligent treatment of a private healthcare professional or hospital have two and a half years to file a claim. Failing to do so within the allotted time will most likely cost you your right to obtain the compensation you are owed.  A claim against a municipal hospital, healthcare facility or doctor, employed by the State, County or City, must be filed within shorter time requirements.  

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in New York

Under New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (§214-a), the two and a half years designated for victims of medical malpractice to file a lawsuit typically begins on the date of the alleged negligence.  The time limitation also applies to the date of a doctor’s failure to diagnose. In some cases, the statute of limitations will begin to run from the date of the last treatment, if the patient is receiving continuous treatment for the same illness or condition.  Cases filed in Court after the statute of limitations has expired will be dismissed as untimely. 

Discovery Rule

The discovery rule is an exception to the statute of limitations; however, it is very limited in New York compared to other states. There are only two types of cases that fall under the discovery rule, which are incidents of foreign objects being left in a patient’s body or a delayed cancer diagnosis. 

When a patient finds that a foreign object has been left behind in their body following a surgery, they will have one year to pursue a medical malpractice claim, starting from either the date of discovery or the date the object should have been discovered. 

The discovery rule for a delayed cancer diagnosis is a relatively newly passed law, known as Lavern’s Law.  This was enacted by New York State in January 2018, and now allows patients with cases involving an alleged missed cancer diagnosis two and a half years to file a claim from the date of discovery. Although the misdiagnosis must be discovered within seven years from the date of the failure to diagnose.   

Cases in which a minor child has been injured, the statute of limitations begins running once the child turns eighteen. Although, regardless of the child’s age at the time the medical malpractice occurred, the time limit cannot be extended more than ten years past the alleged incident. 

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can be any negligent action or failure to act by a hospital, doctor or other healthcare professional, that results in significant harm to a patient. A few of the most common examples include:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
  • Childbirth Injuries
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Anesthesia Errors
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Surgery Errors or wrong site surgery
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Not taking or disregarding patient history

Medical negligence can come in many forms and vary in severity. To bring a medical malpractice claim, you must prove that the healthcare provider failed to care for you according to accepted medical standards. Additionally, it must be established that your condition has gotten worse as a result of that failure. The gravity of the resulting injury and impact on your life will essentially determine how large a potential monetary recovery can be. 

We Can Advocate for You

If you believe that you or a family member may have been a victim of medical malpractice resulting in serious injury, contact Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. Our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing clients injured due to medical negligence. Call (212) 732-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation today.