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What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice?

When a Houston resident visits their doctor they assume they will receive the best care possible. Although there are many stories on the news of people suffering from a medical mistake, no one ever expects it to happen to them. But, if the unthinkable does happen, how long does a person have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?

There are many serious medical mistakes that a person can suffer from unexpectedly. There are stories about someone not receiving the correct diagnosis, of newborns being seriously injured, and of unexpected injuries occurring in surgery. Just this past week, a woman in Kentucky filed a lawsuit because surgical equipment was found inside her, 20 years she underwent a caesarian section. The woman had abdominal pain and an x-ray performed in 2015 showed a scalpel and other medical equipment were in her abdomen from the caesarian section performed in 1993. Although the mistake was made over 20 years ago, the victim is still able to file a medical malpractice case.

For most personal injury cases in Texas, the statute of limitations, or the time limit to bring a personal injury lawsuit against someone, is 2 years from the date of injury. For medical malpractice cases, like the one in Kentucky where surgical equipment was left inside a patient, some injuries are not found until years later. In these cases, the discovery of harm rule is important. The discovery of harm rule is where the statute of limitations does not start until the mistake is discovered. So in the Kentucky case, the time limit may be 2 years from when the medical equipment was seen on the x-ray.

If a patient believes they have been injuries by a doctor, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the injury and help the patient get the answers they deserve.

Source: findlaw.com, "Time limits to bring a case: The 'statute of limitations'", accessed on July 30, 2016

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