New Law Extends Time to File Medical Malpractice Claims

New Law Extends Time to File Medical Malpractice Claims

When a patient visits a doctor, and the doctor, nurse or other medical staff makes a mistake, or acts negligently, then he or she may be held liable in a medical malpractice action. Medical mistakes can happen in a wide variety of circumstances. One area where medical malpractice claims arise is where delays and failures to diagnose occur. Without proper and prompt diagnosis patients may not receive the care they need in a timely fashion. If the failure to diagnose or the misdiagnosis causes harm to a patient that this may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit and a patient may be able to recover compensation as a result.

In California, the time limits for bringing of medical malpractice lawsuit based on the failure to diagnose condition such as cancer is typically one year. However, in some circumstances the “discovery rule” may extend the period of time to file a lawsuit. Patients typically have one year after they discover or should’ve discovered the medical malpractice to file a claim, or within three years of the date of injury which ever day comes first. This applies to instances of cancer where a lump was discovered and should have been tested or has no or there’s a delay in diagnosing cancer.

However, recently the state of New York challenged this rule, determining that it is unfair to patients with cancer. A new law seeks to extend the period of time to file a lawsuit for missed cancer diagnosis from 15 months to 2 1/2 years after the time that the patient knows or should’ve known of the error, rather than from the date the negligence occurred.

Supporters assert “This law better protects patients and families when a misdiagnosis occurs that prevents an individual from beginning a timely treatment to fight and beat cancer. “

Hopefully more states across the union will enact similar legislation to better support patients who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

For more information, or if you or a loved one has been hard by medical error please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice attorneys at Bostwick and Peterson LLP for an immediate consultation.


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