A medical malpractice case can be filed in the court if an injury or death occurs due to negligent behavior of a medical professional. Misdiagnosis, errors during treatment or post care are some of the basis for medical malpractice cases.
Keep in mind that there is a limited time during which a medical malpractice claim can be made in the court. This is known as the statute of limitation. Here is statute of limitation law in California regarding medical malpractice and also some of the exceptions.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Case in California
The statute of limitation imposes deadlines for filing cases in the court. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5, a medical malpractice case must be brought within a year of when knows or should know about the injury. The court will refuse to hear the case if you file a case after the specified time limit has passed.
If you don’t file a claim within the time period, you can’t get any compensation from the alleged guilty party. However, there are certain exceptions to the statute of limitation when the time limit for filing the case can be relaxed.
What are the Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on a Medical Malpractice Case?
While in most cases injuries due to a negligent behavior of the medical staff become evident within a few days or weeks, in some cases the error is not readily apparent. In such a case, the ‘discovery rule’ applies whereby the time limit starts after the injury becomes obvious. However, there is a time limit to the discovery rule. If you are not able to discover an injury after three years of the negligent behavior, you will lose the right to file a medical malpractice claim.
Again, you should know that there is an exception to the three-year deadline of the discovery rule. The time limit does not apply in case a foreign object such as a surgical sponge or other foreign object was left in the body. You can file a medical malpractice case for these cases even if more than 10 years have passed after the negligent behaviors. Having said that, you are required to file the case within a year of the discovery of the surgical error. There are also exceptions for minors and one should consult with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss any potential case involving minors and young children.
Lastly, you should note another important thing regarding time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim. California Code of Civil Procedure section 364 reflects that the plaintiff is to issue (mail out) a formal Notice of Intent to Sue Letter to all of the known defendant health care providers at least 90 days before the intent to file a case in the court. Note that this Notice of Intent to Sue Letter should be mailed certified return receipt requested within 90 days of the actual statute of limitations expiration date, and then the plaintiff will receive an extra 90 days beyond the actual statute of limitations expiration date to file their case. This is important as it can provide additional valuable time to complete investigation and perhaps to secure expert medical opinions before having to file the actual case.
Contact an Experienced Southern California Medical Malpractice Attorney
Remember you will lose your right to file a lawsuit if you don’t file a claim within the time period specified in the statute of limitation. That’s why you should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after the discovery of an injury caused due to negligent behavior of the medical staff. Contact Rohde Law Office by calling 626-593-5786 if you or a family member has been the victim of medical negligence.