Personal injury and medical malpractice cases are subject to a maximum amount of time that a plaintiff can wait before bringing the lawsuit. This amount of time is outlined in what is called a statute of limitations. There are several types of statutes of limitations, and determining which statute of limitations applies in any given case is not always straightforward. Similarly, it can also be difficult to determine when a statute of limitations begins to run.
In a recent medical malpractice case in front of a state appellate court, the court determined that under the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine, the plaintiff was excused for not filing the case within the normal statute of limitations. In the case, Cefaratti v. Aranow, the court determined that, although the plaintiff’s case was technically filed after the statute of limitations, under the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine, the statute of limitations didn’t actually begin to run until after the plaintiff stopped being treated by the allegedly negligent doctor.
Indiana Statutes of Limitations
In Indiana, the general rule is that a medical malpractice plaintiff has two years to file their lawsuit against the defendants. This two-year timeframe usually begins on the date when the alleged negligence occurred. Thus, for example, if a plaintiff is claiming medical negligence based on a surgical error, the clock would start on the date of the surgery.
However, there can be an exception in two somewhat common situations. The first is if the patient is under six years old. In that case, the statute will not start running until they are six years old. Therefore, in the event a baby is born with a serious birth injury, that child (or his parents) has until age eight to file the lawsuit. The other situation that can “toll,” or extend, the statute of limitations is if the injury is not discovered until a later date. Although not identical, the reasoning behind this exception is similar to the logic used by the court in the case discussed above.
In any event, anyone who believes they are a victim of medical malpractice should act quickly in consulting with a dedicated attorney to discuss their case. There may be less time than originally thought to file the case.
Have You Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice in Indiana?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to the negligent medical care provided to you by an Indiana doctor, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson have decades of combined experience representing clients in all types of medical malpractice and personal injury cases. We understand the relevant statutes of limitations in our clients’ cases, and we make sure that we comply with all other procedural requirements as well. Call 888-532-7766 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today to discuss your injuries.
Man Injured by Faulty Handrail Denied Compensation Based on Incomplete Negligence Claim, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2016
Appellate Court Denies Insurance Company’s Jurisdictional Challenge to Accident Victim’s Lawsuit, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, July 13, 2016