Every state has enacted statutes that limit the time a patient has to file a malpractice claim following any incident involving medical negligence. The length of these statute of limitations periods vary by state, but will last anywhere from six months to four years after the incident of Medical Negligence Or Malpractice Discovery. The statute of limitations period, as noted in the wording of most statutes, does include considerations for when a patient does not initially realize medical negligence has occurred, and in these cases, the statute of limitations period runs from the date the malpractice was discovered, or would have been discovered by a reasonable patient.
Establishing Whether Medical Negligence Has Occurred
In many cases, patients will not specifically know whether medical negligence has occurred immediately following the event. Common cases, such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or prescription drug errors, require future medical treatment commonly before a patient is even aware their initial treatment was incorrect, let alone negligent in nature. Typically, patients can ascertain whether negligence has occurred in a given medical treatment by consulting with an attorney and by seeking the assistance of another medical professional. The other, typically second, medical professional often alerts patients to need for further medical treatment or explains the wrongdoing of a previous doctor. An attorney, however, can review a given patient’s case and determine whether the claims amount to negligence, per legal standards.
In other instances, the existence of medical negligence is immediately apparent to patients, such as in cases of wrong site surgery, certain surgical errors, or other diagnostic errors. The statutes of limitations on filing malpractice claims, however, typically relies on the date the patient was aware that medical negligence occurred, or in essence, discovered the existence of medical negligence. For patients, as soon as they suspect or consider filing suit for medical negligence, they should consult with an attorney from their state to ascertain what legal rights they currently possess and ensure they are within the statute of limitations period.
Patient Rights Following Medical Negligence
If a patient requires further medical care from medical negligence, the patient should immediately receive this care. If a patient discovers medical injuries or damages as the result of negligence well after the negligent event and does not require medical attention, the patient should consult with medical professionals about their health and confirm nothing can be done about given injuries or damages.
As far as legal rights are concerned, a patient is always owed a duty of care from any medical professional charged with their care. In turn, any violations in standard of care when treating a patient creates a legal liability for negligent parties. As a patient, filing for damages against legally liable parties is your right, should your suffer from medical negligence. Your options for legal action will only be limited by the applicable statute of limitations laws in your state, as well as the relative strength of your case and claims.
Getting Legal Help
Only an attorney can truly inform patients of their legal rights following a specific incident of medical negligence. State laws will vary concerning medical malpractice suits and medical negligence, and only an attorney can determine if your individual case and claims meet the standards of a viable suit against a given medical professional, should the suit go to trial.