If you're thinking that you'll need to hire a medical malpractice law firm and file a claim, you may also wonder how long you'll have to file. You'll need to look at these four aspects of your case before determining how much you're up against the clock.
Statute of Limitations
A lot depends on exactly when the clock starts on your case. Generally, state-level injury laws that govern medical malpractice incidents require claims to be officially filed within two to three years of what happened. For example, a victim of a botched surgery would need to file within the state's statutory limitation period based on the date of the procedure.
There are, however, notable exceptions because people aren't always aware that something went awry until much later. For example, many states' laws governing chemical or radiological exposure don't start the statutory clock until the victim is aware that they were harmed.
You'll note there's some wobbliness in all of this, especially between states. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer from the state where you underwent treatment. They can clarify what the rules are there. Make sure to call as soon as possible to hedge your bets against the possibility the clock is already running.
Satisfying the Limit and Stopping the Clock
It's important to understand that the statute of limitations does not require you to settle the whole case by the defined time. Instead, it merely requires you to provide the defendant formal notification of your intent to seek compensation for your injuries. Once you and your counsel have sent a demand letter to the defendant, you have satisfied the law's notification requirements. You can then stop worrying about how many days you have left.
A medical malpractice lawyer will often use most of the time available to research the case. Foremost, they'll want to make sure they have the right defendant targeted. This can be a little tricky when there are arrangements between practitioners and medical organizations.
For example, a surgeon might be operating at a hospital but under the aegis of their practice and insurance. In that scenario, the hospital might not be the defendant. The claimant would likely pursue the case directly against the doctor's practice.
Similarly, your lawyer will want to collect all of the medical reports possible. This may include waiting to see how much you recover or not so you can project long-term care costs. Once they have a solid idea of the long-term harm, they will then compile and send the demand package.
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