Medical malpractice can take a devastating toll on those who fall victim to it – physically, emotionally and financially. When you’re living through the aftermath of medical malpractice, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is the last thing you want to personally handle. However, there are a few important legal requirements you need to be aware of as you move forward with your recovery and contemplate speaking with a medical malpractice attorney. Not knowing these requirements could be devastating to your ability to bring a medical malpractice case.
Statute of Limitations
Kansas law limits the filing of medical malpractice case to within two years from the date of the malpractice that caused your injury. That is commonly referred to as the “statute of limitation” on your potential claim for malpractice. If you do not file your case within that period, you would be prohibited by the law from doing so.
There are circumstances under which a person may not know malpractice occurred or caused injury until after the two-year period had run, that the law would still allow you to file your medical malpractice claim. For example, a surgeon might leave a sponge in you when performing a procedure, and you don’t know the sponge is what has been causing your pain until three years after the original surgery (or malpractice) when a surgeon does exploratory surgery later and finds the sponge. Under that circumstance, the two-year statute of limitations might be legally extended, and your claim would not be barred if timely filed. This is often referred to as the “reasonable discovery rule.” However, even in that circumstance, the law also imposes a “statute of repose” or outside limit of four years from the date of the malpractice and injury. That means if the medical malpractice wasn’t discovered and the case filed within four years of the date it occurred, you would be barred from filing the medical malpractice lawsuit.
Allowing Time For Review Within the Statute of Limitations
It is important to recognize that there is often a significant time lag that occurs to allow an investigation of your case before filing. Your attorney will need to investigate your case by obtaining all the medical records, researching the medical issues and have expert witnesses review all these materials to make sure malpractice has, in fact, been committed, and you can proceed with your case. Accordingly, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to allow the attorney time to investigate the case well within the statute of limitations time period. It could be a very complex case requiring the attorney to obtain medical records from many health care providers and would require review by many different experts.