In the event that you have been wrongfully diagnosed or have had a terminal condition missed by a doctor, what would be the ideal statute of limitations on filing a malpractice suit? Well for many patients that have suffered injuries due to negligence, the right answer is that there wouldn’t be one. Many patients each year fall victim to medical malpractice, yet some of them don’t find out until it’s too late. In the state of New York, the statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice suit is two and a half years since the injury occurred. Despite recent efforts to change that limitation, it looks like it’s not going anywhere.
After passing the state Assembly and gaining the support of the state Senate majority, the bill known as Lavern’s Law has been stomped by the Senate majority leader. The bill, which advocates for patients injured by hospital, doctor, or nurse negligence, would call for New York to adopt the same statute of limitations for medical malpractice filings as 44 other states.
Affectionately named after a Brooklyn woman who lost her life to a curable form of lung cancer, Lavern’s Law would change the start time on the clock for filing medical malpractice to when the injury was discovered. As it is now, the start time begins when the injury occurs, which in Lavern’s case was three year prior to her death, when doctors knew of the mass in her lungs but failed to inform her of it. Her daughter was barred from filing a suit against the doctor because of the limitation.
Although the change in filing limitations was believed to potentially bring about a minuscule amount of change in malpractice cases, the hospital and health care lobby opposed it. Lavern’s case, like so many others, has victims begging the question of who, if anyone is looking out for them. While the filing limitation remains unchanged, it is important for victims of medical malpractice to seek counsel as soon as possible. With the help of a trusted attorney, compensation may be possible.
Source: New York Times, When Bad Doctors Happen to Good Patients, Thomas Moore & Steven Cohen, Aug. 31, 2015