Proposed law in New York would reshape medical malpractice claims

A bill before New York lawmakers seeks to extend the medical malpractice statute of limitations to 10 years.

Anytime someone files a personal injury lawsuit, there is a statute of limitations that will apply. This dictates how much time the plaintiff has to file the claim. As the Association of the Bar of the City of New York points out, those limitations include the following:

  • Wrongful death claim: Two years
  • Slip-and-fall: Three years
  • Product liability: Three years
  • Motor vehicle accident: Three years

When it comes to medical malpractice, victims have 2.5 years from the date the incident occurred or from the end of the time the patient sought continuous treatment from the defendant. However, a proposed bill could extend that deadline.

The pending legislation

ABC News reports that the statute of limitations as it pertains to medical malpractice claims could be extended to as long as 10 years. The clock would start ticking when the victim of the act realizes that wrongdoing had taken place.

This would be especially beneficial for someone whose condition has been misdiagnosed. Often, someone may not start to feel or experience the effects of a diagnostic error until after the statute of limitations has expired.

Take, for example, a woman who was diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer in 2014. The cancer had moved into her spine and liver. Just two years before that, she had consulted professionals who told her that her condition was the result of benign uterine fibroids - a misdiagnosis. However, the woman was not able to file a claim against the physicians who committed the error because the statute of limitations had already expired.

The road ahead

According to ABC News, there is no vote currently scheduled for the measure. The legislation passed the Assembly last year. However, the bill may face challenges in the Senate, though the session will adjourn late this month.

Building a claim

Regardless of what happens with this bill, it is imperative for people who believe they may have suffered medical negligence to act as soon as possible. This ensures that a lawsuit can be filed within the statute of limitations, because failing to do so can result in a case dismissal.

When building a claim, victims can help develop a strong case through providing as much detail as possible, including a timeline of events. This can illustrate to the court when and how the medical errors occurred.

Medical malpractice cases in New York can quickly grow complicated. Fortunately, working with a personal injury attorney enables someone to understand their options, move forward with confidence and hold defendants responsible for the damages they cause.