What is the Statute of Limitations?
For every type of lawsuit the statute of limitations specifies the time limit for filing the case from the date the event or wrongdoing has occurred. In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case is two and half years from the malpractice date or from the date the continuous treatment ended. However, you cannot be complacent about filing a medical malpractice case since it is not possible to file the lawsuit even if you are within a week from the cut-off date. There are several reasons for this.
How do You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New York?
You obviously go to an attorney to file your case. However, the attorney has a long process ahead of him, to file your medical malpractice lawsuit as per the prevailing laws. First, your lawyer will hold a detailed interview with you, to find out if there is a possibility of you having a valid case.
If he feels there might be a case, he will have to gather all your medical records that are pertaining to the treatment you underwent, which resulted in your injuries and losses. Your lawyer will then have to send your records to a medical expert, who will review and evaluate them to find out if:
1. There has been violation of basic standards of medical care
2. That such violation caused your injuries
3. Whether such injuries are significant or permanent
After the expert has confirmed that you have a valid medical malpractice case, your lawyer will have to prepare the relevant court papers to file your lawsuit.
Is it Possible to do all this within a Few Days?
Suppose you are only four days from the cut-off date of filing your lawsuit. Will it be possible for a lawyer to complete what is required within those four days in order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? The answer is no.
Consider the time it would take just to retrieve your medical records. Even if the lawyer manages to do this, he has to find a medical expert who is willing to review your case within a very short time frame. Almost no medical expert would even consider doing this in a hurry, since it requires a detailed study of the medical records and the facts about what happened. Even after the expert has evaluated your records and confirmed you have a valid case, your lawyer will need time to prepare the court papers to actually file the lawsuit.
Hence, it is practically impossible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York within four days or even within a week. You have to start at least a few months before the cut-off date. This will give your attorney enough time to start investigating, and determine whether you have valid basis for a case.
Therefore, if you believe something was done wrong, you cannot sit around and wait till the last few days to file a medical malpractice case in New York. The window for your case is pretty much closed shut even a few weeks before the official date has been reached.