You put a lot of faith in the experience and service of your doctor. If they make a mistake that is below the standard of care in your community, you may be adversely affected for life. Medical malpractice by a physician or nurse can turn a routine procedure into a life-long complication. There is a limited period of time in which a person can file a claim for malpractice.
California’s statute of limitations
According to California law, there are two relevant time periods to the statute of limitations for those injured by medical mistakes. You must file your suit according to the following criteria:
- One year from when you discovered, or should have discovered, the injury. Discovery has been defined as that point in time when a reasonable person first suspects an error has been made.
- Three years from the date the plaintiff first suffered appreciable harm.
The California statute creates two separate statutes of limitations for adults, both of which must be satisfied if a plaintiff is to timely file a medical malpractice action. There are some exceptions which will toll or delay the statute of imitations such as fraud, intentional concealment or the presence of a foreign body which was not left intentionally.
When should you contact an attorney if you suspect medical malpractice?
You should search for an attorney as soon as you are emotionally and physically able once you suspect that you may not have received quality healthcare. If you wait until the weeks or days before the one year statute is set to expire, this may have a chilling effect on an attorney’s ability to review or accept your case.