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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Is there a statute of limitations to file my medical malpractice lawsuit?

June 3, 2024 in

Experiencing an injury following a medical procedure can be a traumatic experience. Not only are you dealing with recovering from the botched procedure, but you may also be dealing with the bills and medical debt associated with the injury. You know that time is of the essence, but filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may not immediately be at the top of your to-do list. 

Below, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo discuss the statute of limitations in New York and help you understand the legal deadlines you must adhere to when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Is There a Statute of Limitations to File My Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is generally two years and six months from the date of the malpractice or the end of continuous treatment by the medical professional involved. This time frame gives you 30 months to initiate a civil suit for monetary damages. It’s important to recognize these deadlines because failing to file within this period can result in the court dismissing your case outright, regardless of its merits.

Purpose of Statutes of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are designed to ensure fairness by requiring claims to be brought within a reasonable time. In New York, there are a few special considerations that you must consider before attempting to file a claim.

  • Continuous Treatment Doctrine: The continuous treatment doctrine can extend the statute of limitations if a patient continues receiving treatment for the same condition from the medical professional. This means that the 30-month clock starts ticking only after the end of the continuous treatment, giving patients additional time to recognize any harm caused and seek legal counsel from an NYC medical malpractice lawyer.
  • Discovery Rule for Foreign Objects: In cases where a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body during surgery, New York law allows for a different time frame. Under what’s known as the Discovery Rule,  patients can file a lawsuit within one year of discovering the foreign object or within one year of when the object should have reasonably been discovered. This rule acknowledges the unique nature of such cases, where the malpractice may not be immediately apparent until well after the usual statute of limitations.
  • Lavern’s Law: An Exception for Cancer Diagnoses: Lavern’s Law addresses the statute of limitations for cases involving the failure to diagnose cancer. This law resets the clock to start from the date the patient discovers or should have discovered the misdiagnosis, with a maximum extension of seven years from the date of the malpractice. This significant change came after the tragic case of Lavern Wilkinson, who was unable to sue due to the statute of limitations expiring before her lung cancer misdiagnosis was discovered.
  • Implications for Minors: New York law tolls the statute of limitations for minors until the individual turns 18. This provision recognizes that children might not be able to understand or act upon a medical malpractice claim, allowing them time to reach adulthood before the 30-month clock starts running.

The Importance of Timely Legal Action

No matter how strong your case might be, failing to adhere to the statute of limitations can result in losing the right to seek compensation. Our medical malpractice lawyers in NYC understand the importance of acting promptly to ensure your case is heard. We can help you navigate the intricacies of your case, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken within the required timeframes, but timely action makes all the difference. 

If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, do not delay. Contact a NYC medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case and understand your legal options. 

Contact an Experienced NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyer at SPBMCC Today

Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. is a reputable, full-service personal injury law firm specializing in various areas. Our dedicated litigation support teams are committed to vigorously representing clients in personal injury cases, 9/11-related illnesses, firefighter accidents, car accidents, construction accidents, premises liability, and medical malpractice across New York City, Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk counties, and New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more about our firm or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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