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The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims varies by state. Some states also have discovery rules that extend the statute of limitations, while others do not.

Because the rules can be complex, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney to know if you are within the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in your state. The team at Newsome Melton handles all types of medical malpractice cases and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call 1-855-MED-ASKS.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a time limit for bringing legal action. In the case of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations establishes how long you have to file a lawsuit.

What Happens If the Statute of Limitations Expires Before I File Suit?

As a general rule, the expiration of the statute of limitations will bar you from filing a lawsuit, no matter how much evidence you have or how strong your case is.

Some courts and states grant exceptions due to rare events, such as incapacitation, fraud, concealment, or for other unique circumstances. Some states also use the discovery rule, which can help victims who do not become aware that they were victims until a later date.  As such, it’s critical to speak with a lawyer to determine how the statute of limitations may apply in your case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in My State?

The medical malpractice statutes of limitation by state as of 2018 are as follows:

Alabama 2 or 4 years

Alaska 2 years

Arizona 2 years

Arkansas 3 years

California 1 or 3 years

Colorado 2 years

Connecticut 2 or 3 years

Delaware 2 years

Florida 2 or 4 years

Georgia 2 years

Hawaii 2 or 6 years

Idaho 2 years

Illinois 2 years

Indiana 2 years

Iowa 2 years

Kansas 2 years

Kentucky 1 year

Louisiana 1 year

Maine 3 years

Maryland 3 or 5 years

Massachusetts 3 years

Michigan 2 years

Minnesota 4 years

Mississippi 2 or 7 years

Missouri 2 or 10 years

Montana 3 years

Nebraska 2 years

Nevada 2 or 4 years

New Hampshire 3 years

New Jersey 2 years

New Mexico 3 years

New York 2.5 years

North Carolina 3 to 10 years

North Dakota 2 years

Ohio 1 or 4 years

Oklahoma 2 years

Oregon 2 years

Pennsylvania 2 years

Rhode Island 3 years

South Carolina 3 years

South Dakota 2 years

Tennessee 1 year

Texas 2 years

Utah 2 years

Vermont 3 years

Virginia 2 to 10 years

Washington 3 years

West Virginia 2 years

Wisconsin 3 years

Wyoming 2 years

What If My State Has a Date Range for the Statute of Limitations?

As you can see, some states have either multiple years or ranges of years listed. These states either have discovery rules in place or they have different statutes depending on the type of injury. It is essential you speak with an attorney to make sure you know and understand the rules and how they apply to your particular situation.

A year may sound like a long time to build a case and file suit. However, every year, in every state, people are unable to file lawsuits because they let the statute of limitations pass. Particularly if you have suffered severe injuries, it is easy to get caught up in medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other necessities.

These statutes can and do change from time to time. Use the above list as a reference, but make sure to speak with a lawyer to verify the laws and to understand how those laws may apply in your particular case.

What Is the Discovery Rule?

The discovery rule starts the statute of limitations clock on the date you discovered the malpractice occurred, not the date it happened.

Suppose you had surgery in October 2016 and fell ill in March 2017. You learned that complications from your surgery, possibly due to a neglectful surgeon, were to blame. In a state with a discovery rule, the clock might start in March 2017 rather than October 2016.

Should I Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

If you think you might have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney about your options right away. Do not mull it over and let the statute of limitations expire. Many medical malpractice attorneys offer free consultations and case reviews, so there is no risk to you.

How Can I Schedule a Free Consultation?

The Newsome Melton team wants to help with your medical malpractice claim. Our attorneys offer free consultations, where we can answer all your questions and give you straightforward advice. To schedule a time to meet, call our office today at 1-855-MED-ASKS.