Why You Should Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Early
A statute of limitations generally applies to most civil and criminal actions, including medical malpractice, because without them the details of a case can easily become distorted by the passage of time. When this happens, the validity of a case can be questioned, which is why it’s important to contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer immediately if you feel that you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a medical error or negligence by a health care provider.
Statutes of limitation are in place to protect both plaintiffs and defendants. In the case of a plaintiff, these statutes are used to force the plaintiff to bring their suit to a court in a timely manner so that defendants will have sufficient time to defend themselves of the charges. If a defendant fails to properly defend himself within the specified time limit, the court will have no choice but to accept this failure as a sign of admittance to the claim.
Timely Action May Be Crucial
With the exception of the recent change in California law regarding sexual assault crimes, almost every kind of charge has a statute of limitations attached. If victims do not comply with these limits, they risk losing their case simply by running beyond the time constraint. In the case of medical malpractice, the sooner a plaintiff talks to a qualified attorney and notifies the authorities of a complaint, the quicker the courts can address the concern while the details are still fresh. The longer the plaintiff allows the complaint to go unreported, the higher the risk of overlooking key information that could directly affect the outcome of the case. In cases of medical malpractice or medical negligence, it may also be important to conduct various tests on a timely basis. This can vary significantly case by case, and a qualified attorney can advise you on your specific situation.
In California, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice complaints is 3 years from the date of the injury, or one year from the date the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury. If the action is based on the presence of a foreign object that was left inside the plaintiff’s body after a surgical procedure, the statute of limitations starts when the plaintiff discovers, or should have discovered, the object.
A Statute of Limitations Can Be Extended
Statutes of limitation are not always set in stone. Even though their basic guidelines are established by legislation, they can be modified depending on the circumstances of the case, and at the discretion of the courts. A good medical malpractice attorney may be able to make a case for extending the deadline if your case warrants. Extensions of the limitation, however, can only be granted if the statute itself allows for such.
As time continues to pass, many factors can negatively impact a plaintiff’s case. Important details may be forgotten, witnesses may become injured, sick, or even die. Evidence can become damaged or lost, and any number of circumstances can arise that could directly impact your case. There are also laws regarding how long hospitals and doctors are obliged to keep medical records. The sooner plaintiffs follow through on their claims, there are likely to be fewer opportunities for unfavorable circumstances to interfere.
It’s important that you are keenly aware of a statute of limitations that may affect your case. You should speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer promptly to know what those time constraints are so that your case may be brought within those limits.
For Additional Information
Let Mara Burnett Help Evaluate Your Personal Injury Claim
If you or a loved one is dealing with an injury suffered through no fault your own, Mara Burnett can help. Experienced and reputable, Mara and the other attorneys at Mandell Law provide hands-on care and a sincere commitment to victims of personal injury and harms of all kinds, including medical malpractice and negligence. The Mandell Law Firm, in Woodland Hills, California is an aggressive personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, the Greater Los Angeles area and Southern California. Contact Mara Burnett for a free consultation at 818.886.6600.