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How long do I have to bring a medical malpractice suit?

Last week's post discussed one of the areas of medical negligence-birthing injuries. However, that is just one example of negligence on behalf of a medical professional. Failure to diagnose and inappropriate surgery are other common examples. Basically, when the professional has not acted according to the standard of care, they may be held accountable through a medical malpractice suit.

It is important to note, however, that there are time limits for bringing a legal suit against the responsible party. Known as the statute of limitations, it limits the amount of time for filing a lawsuit. Suits filed after that time can be dismissed as being time barred. Louisiana is unique in that it has a one-year statute of limitations for most civil actions, including medical malpractice.

What does this mean? This means the suit must be filed within one year from the date of the alleged action that forms the basis of the case. Not all injuries manifest immediately, which is why if the date of discovery is after the fact, then the victim has one year after it has been discovered or would have reasonably been discovered. However, regardless of whether one is relying on date of action or discovery, an individual has a maximum of three years to file their medical malpractice suit.

Though recovering from their injuries is at the forefront of most victims of medical malpractice, it may be in their interest to act quickly to preserve their right to hold the negligent doctor or surgeon responsible for their errors or mistakes. An experienced attorney could focus on the legalities while the victim works on recuperating.

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