Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations under malpractice law, or the amount of time in which you have to file suit for medical malpractice, varies from state to state. However, every state does impose some statute of limitations, so your medical malpractice case must be brought within that time period. In some states, the time limit can also be extended, depending on when the discovery of negligence was made. This is called the discovery rule and states usually give a person a certain number of years from the date the discovery was made to file a lawsuit.   

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

Because the statute of limitations varies, you will need to know the rules for your state to determine when you must file your medical malpractice claim:

  • In New York, the statute of limitations is 30 months
  • Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee have a general statute of limitations of 1 year in medical malpractice lawsuits. In Ohio, the lawsuit must be filed within 180 days after notice is given.
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming have a general statute of limitations of 2 years for filing a medical malpractice suit. For some special circumstances (see below) these time limits may vary.
  • California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have a 3 year statute of limitations.
  • In Minnesota, the statute of limitations is 4 years.

Exceptions

Many states also have certain provisions for special conditions. There are certain exceptions in many cases for:

  • Anyone who has had an object left in him during surgery;
  • Reproductive injuries to minors;
  • Birth related injuries;
  • Injuries causing brain damage.

Special rules also apply in most states concerning minors. In many states, for example, a minor child has until his 18th birthday to have a lawsuit filed on his behalf. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, don't wait to call a lawyer. Contacting an attorney early on can help you make sure you get your medical malpractice suit filed on time and that you follow proper court procedure to collect the damages you deserve.