Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Understanding The Statute Of Limitations

When you visit the hospital for a procedure, you certainly do not want anything to go wrong. But even if you do not want to think about this possibility, there are times when things go wrong. When this happens, one of the things that comes to mind is the possibility of suing for negligence or for malpractice. It is important that you understand the statute of limitations if you ever find yourself in this position, wanting to sue. Essentially, the statute of limitations sets a limit on how long someone has before they are no longer allowed to file suit for malpractice. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the specifics that relate to your state if you are thinking of filing suit.

The basic foundation upon which the statute of limitations is built is the stipulations of how much time someone is allowed before they can no longer file suit. The amount of time allowed for suit can be anywhere from a couple years to a number of years, and there can be circumstances that can stretch this time even longer. But the basic statute of limitations applies in all those cases wherein the negative effects or repercussions of a surgery, operation, or some sort of negligence are discovered immediately. The amount of time allowed from this point is generally between two and four years, and this time begins right away.

The primary way in which the statute of limitations can be extended is those instances where identification of negative effects is delayed. Perhaps an ommission or an instance of negligence occurred during surgery - or perhaps a downright mistake was made - but there is no evidence of this for a couple of years. In such a situation, the statute of limitations begins on the date when the adverse effects are first discovered.

Finally, states also impose an abolute cap, which sets a number of years after which suit can no longer be filed, even in those instances where the problem is discovered late. For instance, the cap in Massachusetts is seven years, so even if someone discovers a problem that was directly related to a surgery that took place eight years earlier, they can no longer file suit, no matter how blatant the ommission or act of negligence might have been. This time is far shorter in the state of Florida, with the absolute cap being set at four years.

If you are in the unfortunate position of needing to file a malpractice suit, know the statute of limitations in your state, and act accordingly.

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