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If I Was the Victim of Medical Negligence, How Long Do I Have to File a Malpractice Lawsuit?

If you suffered injuries because of the negligent actions of a doctor or medical provider, you could be eligible to file for medical malpractice and recover compensation for your damages.

However, you have a limited time to make a claim. How long you have to file a malpractice lawsuit varies depending on the statute of limitations in your state. Some states give you only one year to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, while others allow you as long as 10 years. Whether the clock begins ticking at the date of injury or the date you discover your injury also varies based on where you live.

To make certain that you are within the statute of limitations, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney at Medical Malpractice Help, call 1-855-MED-ASKS.

Why Is the Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit so Important?

States take statutes of limitations seriously. If you show up at the courthouse even a day after the statute has expired, chances are very good that you will not be able to file a lawsuit. In extremely rare situations, such as incapacitation, courts could issue extensions or exemptions. These situations are the exception, not the rule. You should always view the statute of limitations as a rigid, inflexible deadline.

If you let the time limit in your state expire for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you could forfeit thousands, even millions of dollars. Once the statute of limitations passes, the viability of your claim and the strength of your evidence no longer matter. You could have proof your doctor’s negligence caused your catastrophic injuries, and unfortunately, your lawsuit still would not see the light of day.

What Is the Time Limit in My State?

Here is each state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits:

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

There are two reasons some states have multiple years or ranges of years listed:

  • The statute in that state varies based on the type or severity of your injury; or
  • The state has a discovery rule in place.

A discovery rule states that the clock does not begin ticking when the malpractice occurred, but when you discover that it occurred. For instance, if your doctor made a surgical error in November, but you had no way of knowing about it until you began to experience complications in February, the statute of limitations in a discovery rule state may start in February (or later, depending on your case specific facts).

Statutes of limitations can change, and determining how the governing statute applies in any one particular case is a complicated legal question, so we recommend you contact an attorney to discuss the specific rules in your state.

Can an Attorney Help Me File Before the Time Limit Expires?

Some patients fail to speak with an attorney promptly because they are not confident that they have a strong medical malpractice case. If you think even a small chance exists that you were a victim of medical negligence, you owe it to yourself to meet with a medical malpractice lawyer and have your case evaluated.

At Medical Malpractice Help, we offer free case evaluations for clients across the United States, so there is no risk in coming to see us. You will leave with a much better idea of the strength of your case and which options you have. If you decide to work with us, we get started right away and make sure we file everything we need to before the applicable deadlines expire.

How Can I Set up a Free Consultation With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

At Medical Malpractice Help, we want to help you win the compensation you deserve for your medical malpractice injuries. We offer free case evaluations so we can answer your questions and provide you with advice. To schedule an appointment right away, call us at 1-855-MED-ASKS.