Statute of Limitations on Malpractice in New York
A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. When you fail to file a lawsuit within a statutory time frame, you lose your right to take legal action. Each state has its own statute of limitations for medical malpractice and also for other types of injury cases.
By working with experienced lawyers, you can ensure you file a lawsuit in time. At Rubenstein & Rynecki, our attorneys effectively guide clients through all the necessary legal steps to recover compensation for injuries.
New York time limitations for medical malpractice cases
Unlike other states, which have deadlines of two or three years for medical malpractice, New York sets the statute of limitations at two years and six months. The statute begins to run from the date the alleged malpractice occurred or from the last treatment date of a series of treatments for the condition related to the malpractice. However, there are a few exceptions where the two and a half year limitation does not apply. One is called the “discovery rule.”
The discovery rule refers to the date when the malpractice is discovered. Sometimes years go by before any observable complications arise because of the medical malpractice error. At some later point, a medical examination or diagnostic test reveals the earlier negligence. Most states apply the discovery rule broadly to many examples of medical malpractice. However, in New York, the law limits the discovery rule to finding foreign objects that doctors inadvertently leave in patient’s bodies, such as sponges, scalpels, clamps or other objects that did not belong there. Under the discovery rule, you have one year to file a lawsuit from the date of discovering the object, or one year from when, because of discovering certain facts, you should have discovered the object. Whichever date of the two is earlier is the one that applies to your case.
Minor children exceptions
Because children do not reach the age required by law to take legal action until 18, the medical malpractice statute of limitations does not begin to run for minors until that age. However, an exception also applies here. Filing deadlines cannot extend beyond 10 years from when the alleged malpractice occurred or after a foreign object was discovered in the child's body or reasonably should have been discovered.
Two other exceptions apply in medical malpractice cases ― when the doctor commits malpractice and subsequently moves out of state and when the patient is mentally retarded or mentally ill. The courts may rule to extend the statute of limitations under these circumstances.
Four decades of experience
Since 1972, Rubenstein & Rynecki and its previous firms have represented clients in medical malpractice cases, helping them to recover the compensation they deserve. It costs you nothing to discuss your accident with us and we may be able to help. No recovery, no fee. Contact us today for a free consultation.