On January 31, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed Lavern’s Law. This law changes the time when the statute of limitations begins to run for medical malpractice cases involving failure to diagnose cancer.
Before this law, plaintiffs had a 2 ½-year window to start a lawsuit that began to run on the date the misdiagnosis occurred. For some patients who found out about the misdiagnosis AFTER the 2 ½ year time limit expired, this meant losing the right to sue.
Now, under Lavern’s Law, plaintiffs can still start a lawsuit within 2 ½ years from the date the misdiagnosis, however, if the patient learns of the misdiagnosis AFTER the 2 ½ year time limit, the patient can still bring a lawsuit within 2 ½ years from the date the patient “discovered” (knew or reasonably should have known of the misdiagnosis).
Be aware, however, that the lawsuit must be started within 7 years from the date of the misdiagnosis, so patients who “discover” the misdiagnosis after 4 ½ years, will have LESS than 2 ½ years to commence the lawsuit.
The law also allows claims that expired between March 31, 2017, to January 31, 2018, to be started BEFORE July 31, 2018.
Lavern’s Law has other plaintiff-friendly provisions for cases involving municipalities and continuous treatment, which we will not discuss in this post.
If you think you may have such a case and/or an attorney previously told you that your case was barred by the statute of limitations, please contact us at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. immediately.