MedicalMalpracticeHelp.com is pleased to offer this summary of United States medical malpractice laws, which we hope will be of assistance in analyzing medical malpractice risks in each of the fifty states. This state-by-state synopsis includes legislation and case law on subjects of importance to medical malpractice injury victims and counsel, including the statute of limitations, damage caps, and local laws of joint and several liability.
Medical malpractice has been traditionally regulated by the states in which they have addressed issues regarding court procedures, victim compensation, civil liability, malpractice insurance, medical professionals’ apologies to patients and their families and related matters. Under state law, a patient may pursue a civil claim against physicians or other health care providers, called medical liability or medical malpractice, if the health care provider causes injury or death to the patient through a negligent act or omission.
To recover damages, the patient must establish: (1) The physician owed a duty to the patient; (2) The standard of care and that the physician violated that standard; (3) A compensable injury; and (4) The violation of the standard of care caused the harm suffered by the patient.
Find Your State’s Medical Malpractice Page:
Alabama Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under the AMLA, the time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is generally two years. Also known as a “statute of limitations, “the time limit begins running at the time of the act or omission giving rise to the malpractice claim. Ala. Code § 6-5-482.
Alaska Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims are subject to the standard two-year statute of limitations contained in AS § 09.10.070(a), which states, in pertinent part, that “[e]xcept as otherwise provided by law, a person may not bring an action … for personal injury or death … unless the action is commenced within two years of the accrual of the cause of action.”
Arizona Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In Arizona, the basic time limit for filing a claim alleging medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence) is two years. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-542.
Arkansas Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In Arkansas, the basic time limit for filing a claim alleging medical malpractice is two years. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-114-203(a).
California Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When discussing the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits contained in CCP §340.5, California courts talk about there being two separate statutes of limitations, viz., one-year and three-year limitations periods.
Colorado Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The basic time limit in Colorado for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years. The two-year “statute of limitations” begins running on the date the plaintiff discovers, or should have discovered, both the injury and its cause. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102.5(1).
Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Basically, a plaintiff seeking to bring a civil action based upon a claim of medical malpractice must commence that action within two years from the date when the injury complained of was first sustained or discovered.
Delaware Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Delaware are subject to the standard two-year statute of limitations contained in DC § 6856…
Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida is set forth in F.S. §95.11(4)(b). It states that an “action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence….”
Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In Georgia, a plaintiff generally has two years to file a medical malpractice claim.The two-year “statute of limitations” commences running at the time of the claimed injury from healthcare treatment. Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-71.
Hawaii Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Hawaii are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 657-7.3(a), which states that medical malpractice actions must be brought no “more than two years after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury….”
Idaho Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Idaho are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in IC § 5-219(4).
Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The applicable statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois is set forth in 735 ILCS 5/13-212(a).
Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice action in Indiana is set forth in IC §34-18-7-1(b). It requires that any such action must be filed within two “years after the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect….”
Iowa Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Iowa are subject to a two-year statute of limitations that is contained in Iowa Code(“IC”)§ 614.1(9)(a).
Kansas Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under Kansas law, a plaintiff generally must file a medical malpractice claim within two years. The two-year “statute of limitations” commences running at the time of the alleged malpractice. The time limit can be extended beyond two years if the injury is not reasonably ascertainable until sometime later. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-513(a)(7), (c).
Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under Kentucky law, a plaintiff generally must file a medical malpractice claim within one year. The “statute of limitations” commences running at the time the injury is first discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.140(1)(e), (2).
Louisiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under Louisiana law, the basic time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim is one year. The clock starts ticking on the date of the alleged negligence; if the negligence is hidden from view, the clock commences at the time the negligence was or should have been discovered.
Maine Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Maine are subject to a three-year statute of limitations that is contained in Maine Revised Statutes(“MRS”)§ 2902.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The time period in which a medical malpractice claim must be initiated is governed by the medical malpractice statute of limitations contained in MC §5-109. The general rule is that an action must be filed within the earlier of (1) five years following the date “the injury was committed” or (2) three years following the date “the injury was discovered.”
Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The standard statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims is contained in Massachusetts General Laws (“G.L.”), Chapter 260, §4. It requires a claim to “be commenced only within three years after the cause of action accrues….”
Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The general statute of limitations is contained in MCL §600.5805(1) and (6), which requires medical malpractice actions be brought within two years from the date the claim accrued.
Minnesota Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under Minnesota law, a patient or former patient generally has four years to file a medical malpractice claim. The four-year “statute of limitations” begins running from the date the legal claim “accrued.” Minn. Stat. § 541.076.
Mississippi Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In Mississippi, the basic time limit for filing a claim alleging medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence) is two years.Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-36(2).
Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Under Missouri law, a plaintiff generally must file a claim for medical malpractice within two years. The two-year “statute of limitations” commences running from the date when the alleged act of neglect occurred.
Montana Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Montana are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in the Montana Code Annotated 2017 (“MCA”) § 27-2-205(1).
Nebraska Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Nebraska are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in NRS § 25-222.
Nevada Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Nevada is 4 years for injuries occurring before October 1, 2002, and 3 years for injuries occurring after that date. Nevada has adopted a modified comparative negligence rule, but the state has yet to impose a cap on damages.
New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in New Hampshire are subject to a three-year statute of limitations contained in RSA § 508:4, which is the general statute of limitations for all personal injury claims.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey is set forth in New Jersey Statutes Annotated (“NJSA”)§2A:14-2(a).
New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In New Mexico, the basic time limit for filing a claim alleging medical malpractice (also called medical negligence) is three years. The clock commences running on “the date that the act of malpractice occurred.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-13.
New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York is set forth in CPLR §214-a.
North Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Like all states, North Carolina imposes rigid time limits for filing lawsuits.In North Carolina, a medical malpractice action generally must be commenced within three years from the date of the negligent act. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-15(c).
North Dakota Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the injury. If an injury is found after its cause, the lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the discovery. However, if it has been more than 6 years since the injury was caused, state law forbids a medical malpractice lawsuit from being filed. Wrongful death suits have to be filed no more than 2 years after the person has deceased.
Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The standard statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims is contained in R.C. §2305.113(A). It requires a claim to “an action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim” to be “commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued.”
Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The law in Oklahoma with regard to medical malpractice bears a close similarity to the law in a number of other states, and all kinds of patients and hospital employees are covered under this law. There is a two year statute of limitations that follows from when the injury was discovered by the patient. There is a limit to damage awards of $300,000 for non economic damages.
Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The standard statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims is contained in ORS §12.110(4). It requires a medical malpractice claim to “be commenced within two years from the date when the injury is first discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered.”
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice actions in Pennsylvania are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. 42 Pa. CSA §5524(2). Pennsylvania law contains a separate statute that directs when the statute of limitations begins to run. 42 Pa. CSA §5502(a) states that the limitations period is computed “from the time the cause of action accrued….”
South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in South Carolina are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. South Carolina Code of Laws(“SCCL”) § 15-3-545(A).
South Dakota Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in South Dakota are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in South Dakota Codified Laws(“SDCL”)§ 15-2-14.1.
Tennessee Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Tennessee are subject to a one-year statute of limitations contained in theTCA § 29-26-116. Plaintiffs have one year from the date of the alleged negligence to commence a medical malpractice action under the standard statute of limitations in TCA § 29-26-116(a).
Texas Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas is set forth in CPR §74.251(a). It states that medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years from (1) the date the malpractice occurred, (2) the date of the last relevant course of treatment, or (3) the last date of the relevant hospitalization.
Utah Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In general, medical malpractice claims in Utah are subject to a two-year statute of limitations contained in UCA § 78B-3-404(1).
Vermont Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is set forth in 12 VSA § 521. The standard rule is that medical malpractice claims must “be brought within three years of the date of the incident or two years from the date the injury is or reasonably should have been discovered, whichever occurs later….” Id.
Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Malpractice law in Virginia sets the statute of limitations for bringing any legal action to no more than 2 years after the original injury date or the date when the plaintiff first discovered the injury. Some special cases may extend this time period, but no suit can be brought forward after 10 or more years from the original injury. Cases of medical malpractice related to foreign objects in the body may be brought no more than two years after discovery.
Washington Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The standard statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims is contained in RCW §4.16.350(3). It requires a medical malpractice claim to be “commenced within three years of the act or omission alleged to have caused the injury or condition….”
West Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If a doctor in West Virginia treats a patient and that patient is in worse condition after the treatment, the situation is considered malpractice and the patient has the right to file legal action. In this state, the statute of limitations for filing an action is 2 years from the original treatment or injury. This includes wrongful death actions.
Wisconsin Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Wisconsin’s standard statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims is contained in WS §893.55(1m). Basically, a plaintiff seeking to bring a civil action based upon a claim of medical malpractice must commence that action within three years from the date of the injury. WS §893.55(1m)(a).
Wyoming Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is set forth in 2017 Wyoming Statutes (“WS”) § 1-3-107(a). The standard rule is that medical malpractice claims must brought within two years of the date of the alleged act, error, or omission. Id. That is, the standard rule requires medical malpractice claims to be commenced within two years of the date of the alleged negligence.
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to give a patient the appropriate treatment. Appropriate treatment is defined by what another medical professional would do in the same situation. If another healthcare provider would have treated the patient differently, then it is very likely that malpractice was committed.
There can be many forms of medical negligence. If a doctor fails to give a patient the proper tests, performs unneeded procedures, or fails to check progress after a procedure, he or she has committed medical negligence. In essence, if the doctor does anything that another competent doctor would not do, it can be considered malpractice.
For example, patients with drug allergies are responsible to inform their physicians of these allergies in order to avoid being prescribed any medications or treatments that could cause dangerous reactions. Often drug allergies are severe enough to cause a major illness or, in some cases, even death. Once the doctor has been made aware of any drug allergies, it is his or her responsibility to avoid prescribing or administering any medications or treatments that could be dangerous to the patient. Failure to do this may cause the physician to be guilty of medical negligence.
What is Medical Negligence?
In some cases, a patient’s doctor will ignore the information provided about allergies and give the patient a treatment or medication that could cause them harm. When this occurs, the patient may be able to file a medical negligence lawsuit against their doctor. In order to hold a practicing physician liable of medical negligence, a lawyer will have to be able to prove that a doctor under similar conditions would have been able to provide a different or better standard of care. It will be important for a lawyer to show that the doctor acted carelessly and irresponsibly when treating the patient after all important allergy information had been provided. An attorney will also need to provide proof of proximate cause. This means that proof must be provided that the medication that was prescribed by the patient’s doctor directly resulted in the individual suffering from an injury. If a doctor prescribed a patient with a medication that would have caused a dangerous allergic reaction, but the pharmacist caught the mistake, it can be more difficult to be awarded compensation. However, if the patient was injured as a direct result of the physician’s error, the patient may be eligible to receive compensation.
If a doctor is found liable of medical negligence that directly resulted in an injury, the patient can seek compensation. Patients generally use this financial compensation to help pay for any medical bills that may have been accrued as a result of the doctor’s error. Patients can also seek compensation for any lost wages from being unable to work, pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress. Individuals may also be awarded punitive damages depending on the laws of the state in which they win their case.
Victims of medical negligence are advised to act quickly and find legal representation. An attorney experienced with medical negligence lawsuits will be able to guide their clients through the legal procedures and develop a strategy appropriate to the individual’s situation.
Medical Negligence FAQs
Can You File A Lawsuit For Emergency Room Negligence?
How Do You Determine If Someone Is The Victim Of Medical Negligence?
Is Nurse Negligence Considered Medical Malpractice?
What Does Contributory Negligence In Relation To Medical Malpractice Mean?
Physicians do not always treat their patients with the diligence and mindfulness that should be expected of this critical profession. When rare but unfortunate incidents such as these occur and cause personal harm, injury or trauma to a patient, the laws of the United States entitles them to recourse in a medical malpractice suit.
Most of the time, it is somewhat difficult to handle a medical malpractice case. Because of this, there aren’t many civil injury lawyers who will take on these lawsuits. Furthermore, malpractice insurance companies will often employ numerous highly skilled attorneys in order to avoid or minimize financial compensation to the patient or patient’s family.
Medical Injury Negligence
One of the harder aspects of filing a successful malpractice suit is establishing that negligence did indeed occur. To achieve this, most medical malpractice lawyers will bring in the services of an expert medical witness. These witnesses are experienced doctors who are able to look over the details of the incident in question to decide whether there was negligence and how it resulted in the patient’s injury.
Patient Injury and Losses
During a medical malpractice suit, the patient, also known as the plaintiff, pursues financial atonement for pain and suffering, lost productivity, associated medical costs, permanent disability and personal injury. Many times, juries will award the plaintiff with a higher damage amount if disabilities are permanent or if the incident resulted in the patient’s death. However, this amount can vary depending in the state in which the claim was filed.
Medical Injury FAQs
Types of Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is the body’s main artery, supplying the circulatory system with oxygenated blood. A condition known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm involves the weakening of the aortic wall.
Anesthesia errors are a dangerous form of medication error. Anesthetic drugs are strong, and the surgical rooms where they are often administered can be hectic.
Through arteriography, physicians can determine how blood is flowing through the body and in what condition a person’s arteries are.
Balloon angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted into the femoral or radial artery and then threaded to the area of cardiac blockage.
While some birth injuries can be the result of the mother’s health during pregnancy and complications from such during delivery, others are caused by medical negligence of some form.
Child birth malpractice is a very serious type of negligence. When a doctor engages in malpractice while delivering a child, he or she is putting a human life in harm’s way.
If such treatments are improperly applied to a burn victim leading to any of the previous issues, he or she may have the right to sue for medical malpractice.
Cardiac catheterizations may also be used when atherectomy and angioplasty procedures are performed so stents may be inserted into arteries and blocked arteries may be opened.
Cardiovascular health determines the patient’s overall health, and it should be taken seriously to maintain a high-quality life.
Any patients that are recommended for a carotid endarterectomy by their doctors are advised to weigh both the benefits and the risks before deciding whether to have the surgery.
On its own, chemotherapy is an uncomfortable process to endure without the added trauma of medical error.
Chiropractors are licensed professionals who specialize in diagnosing problems with the body’s muscles, tendons, joints and bones in connection to the nervous system.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be either an acute or chronic condition that may be manageable with lifestyle changes, medication and surgery to treat the underlying issue contributing to heart failure.
CT Scan Radiation
A CT scan is performed by doctors to give them an internal image of an injury that cannot be seen by simply observing the patient.
In order to protect patients, their families, and dental care providers from malpractice, the National Society of Dental Practitioners has put together a list of 12 base causes of dental malpractice.
Many people do not realize how important their skin is. It is the largest organ of the body, and it is the first line of defense against disease, bacteria, infections, and other illness
When patients are medically obligated to follow plans that involve dietary restrictions, it is of the utmost importance that such patients adhere to the plans they have been provided.
Epidural anesthesia is commonly known as the type of anesthesia used to alleviate pain associated with labor and delivery.
Gadolinium used in MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is linked to life-threatening illnesses that occurred in those with kidney disease, eventually causing their death
Possible gynecological negligence can include test results that are misread, contraception errors, undiagnosed conditions, and failure to prevent pregnancy.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Medical implant issues occur more frequently with metal-on-metal devices but may also happen with appliances comprised of ceramic and metal.
According to several studies, relationship issues between patients and their doctors are a major cause of hospital malpractice and negligence
Knee Replacement Surgery
Normally, knee replacement procedures require a standard of care to ensure proper care and attention is given.
Patients trust their doctor to prescribe safe medications that will help rather than harm. Doctors take the time to review charts and double-check for any medications that might cause dangerous interactions.
If a patient suffering from a bone fracture is allowed to exercise by the physician in charge of his or her care, the patient has the right to file for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The field of neurology is disproportionately prone to medical malpractice claims. In fact, more than half of all neurologists will find themselves the target of a malpractice claim at least once over the course of a 30-year career.
Assisted living facilities are required to uphold minimum standards of care in order to avoid malpractice claims.
Unlike regular gynecology, which focuses on women’s health in general, obstetrics examines the individual’s health during all phases of pregnancy and determines if there are any expected complications when the fetus is ready to be delivered.
All dentists and other doctors are expected to provide a certain level of care. There are guidelines that must be followed and there are certain standards that must be met on a regular basis.
Orthopedics is a specialized area of medicine, and like other specialties, this sphere of medicine is not immune to medical error and negligence.
In such situations of high stress and urgency, there are also going to be higher chances of the actions of paramedics leading to cases of medical malpractice.
Pediatric malpractice can cause severe damage at a very early age. The child will have to cope with the resulting complications for the rest of his or her life.
Patients who suffer pain, injury, and other physical or emotional damages due to acts of negligence that physical therapists commit may be eligible under malpractice law to bring claims against the medical professional or facility in question.
Even if a drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is not necessarily a safe and efficacious means of treatment.
Psychiatric malpractice occurs when either professional engages in misconduct infringing upon the care of the patient in treatment.
Radiology is a very specialized medical practice that involves studying results from tests and determining if suspected injuries or diseases are actually present.
Due to heightened risk of injuring the spinal cord, the exact placement of a spinal anesthesia injection is important.
The best medical providers will invest time in studying these new surgical options and analyzing which processes may ensure the safest results for their patients.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Whether a mild or severe TBI has occurred, affected individuals need to seek immediate medical attention and speak with their doctor about any potential long-term effects.
Failure To Diagnose Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Failure To Diagnose
The steps involved in proper diagnosis are important because an inaccurate diagnosis will lead to the wrong treatment.
Failure To Diagnose Air Embolism
The presence of air bubbles in the vascular system or heart is referred to as an air embolism.
Failure To Diagnose Anoxia
Anoxia is a scientific term which refers to insufficient oxygen levels in the tissues of an organ, despite unrestricted blood flow.
Failure To Diagnose Bladder Cancer
Patients complaining of symptoms similar to bladder cancer can easily be misdiagnosed with prostate infections, cystitis, or other non-cancerous disease
Failure To Diagnose Brain Tumor
A misdiagnosis of brain tumor symptoms, given the advanced diagnostic tools and training available to healthcare providers, is the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Failure To Diagnose Breast Cancer
Misdiagnosis can also result from an initial ultrasound or biopsy of the breast, in which turn any of the other exams should be undergone to confirm results. Failure to do so can result in medical malpractice.
Failure To Diagnose Cancer
If a tumor is discovered in its earliest stages, cancer is often treatable. However, when a tumor is allowed to progress and metastasize, it can reach the lymphatic system and enter the blood stream.
Failure To Diagnose Cardiovascular Disease
A physician investigating potential heart problems needs to examine the entire cardiovascular system.
Failure To Diagnose Colon Cancer
A cancer that has metastasized, or spread throughout the patient’s body, is much less treatable. It is important that colon cancer is diagnosed early.
Failure To Diagnose Coronary Artery Disease
It has been found that coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the leading causes of death in both the United States and throughout the rest of world.
Failure To Diagnose Esophageal Cancer
Misdiagnosis can potentially be fatal, as esophageal cancer has a low survival rate in its later stages.
Failure To Diagnose Heart Attack
Complications from a misdiagnosed heart attack can lead to many other health complications.
Failure To Diagnose Liver Cancer
Immediate diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer is often the difference between life and death. Liver cancer can metastasize quickly.
Failure To Diagnose Lung Cancer
In the United States, lung cancer causes more deaths than all other types of cancers. It is crucial to diagnose and treat lung cancer as early as possible for effective treatment.
Failure To Diagnose Ovarian Cancer
Failing to detect, diagnose and begin treatment of ovarian cancer can be detrimental to health and well-being and may even result in the patient’s death.
Failure To Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer
Those who feel their doctor has failed to diagnose them correctly or has not provided their patient with adequate care may wish to seek medical advice from a second physician.
Failure To Diagnose Skin Cancer
Regardless of how long a dermatologist has been caring for a patient, any atypical blemish should be biopsied.
Failure To Diagnose Tonsil Cancer
Unfortunately, doctors sometimes misdiagnose tonsil cancer as tonsilitis or adenoiditis, two less serious conditions.