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What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When a mistake resulting from negligence is made in a medical setting, the results can be catastrophic. One avenue of recourse for California victims of these types of incidents is a medical malpractice lawsuit. This type of legal action must be taken within a certain amount of time from the incident. This amount of time is known as the statute of limitations.

In California, the statute of limitations is three years after its occurrence, or one year after the discovery of the injury. This means that, for most cases, the clock starts running on the day of the botched medical procedure. It is therefore important to take action as quickly as possible in these cases.

What if medical malpractice is not discovered until after the statute runs out?

With medical malpractice in particular, it is not uncommon for it to take months or even years to realize that damage has been caused by negligence following a procedure. This is why California, along with other states, has a discovery rule. This rule provides for additional time for those who discover the injury after the three-year initial window is up. Cases filed under the discovery rule can be a bit trickier, however, because they require the plaintiff to prove that it was reasonable that they did not discover the injury prior to that time.

Timing and evidence are two areas where care needs to be taken in any lawsuit. In instances where medical malpractice may have occurred, making sure action is filed well within the statute of limitations and that evidence shows negligence clearly is important to a successful case. It can also prove critical to work with an experienced California lawyer on such cases to ensure all rules such as these are understood and met.