Statute of Limitations May Change for New York Medical Malpractice Victims

Staff Writer | June 18th, 2013

New York Medical Malpractice Victims Lavern Wilkinson died on March 7, 2013 after physicians at Kings County Hospital failed to diagnose a form of lung cancer that would have been easily treatable if it was caught in time. In 2010, Wilkinson went to the hospital after suffering from a bad cough, but the physicians didn’t inform her about the nodule located on her right lung and treated her for asthma. When Wilkinson went back to the same hospital more than 2 years later, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Wilkinson was like many other New York medical malpractice victims who lost the opportunity to file a medical malpractice lawsuit because the statute of limitations expired before she discovered the misdiagnosis.

Wilkinson’s ordeal with the medical and legal system was profiled in-depth in a series of articles published by the NY Daily News. Ultimately, the hospital agreed to a $625,000 settlement, but it was only a fraction of the money Wilkinson would have received if the state laws gave victims more time to file medical malpractice claims. Due to the publicity garnered by Wilkinson’s story, city councilman James Vacca and other politicians are trying to get bills known as “Lavern’s Law” passed through the legislature. The proposed law would extend the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.

New York statute of limitations

According to New York statutes, if a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t filed within 30 months from the date of the negligent act, the victim loses the right to initiate legal action and collect damages. If the patient was treated in a municipally owned hospital when the malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations is reduced to 15 months. Many NY malpractice lawyers view the statute of limitations as archaic and too restrictive, especially since the deadline for filing a lawsuit in other states is based on when the patient could have reasonably discovered the negligence.

The relatively short statute of limitations has unjustly harmed the New York medical malpractice victims who didn’t know about the medical errors committed by healthcare providers prior to the deadline expiring. Many victims are at a disadvantage since they usually don’t know when a physician’s actions and treatment have fallen below the acceptable standard of practice. For some patients it can take years before they find out their medical condition was misdiagnosed or are able to pinpoint that their injuries were caused by a physician’s negligence.

Dedicated NY malpractice lawyers

The Sanders Firm has seen the devastating impact medical negligence causes victims and their families. Helping victims receive fair compensation for their injuries, mental anguish, and financial losses has been a top priority for our NY medical malpractice attorneys for more than 45 years. Monetary damages in a successful malpractice action may cover past, present, and future medical expenses. Lost wages, future earning capacity, diminished quality of life and other damages may also be included in a court award or settlement.

File a New York medical malpractice lawsuit

If you or a loved one was injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact The Sanders Firm for legal assistance. We offer free consultations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and Long Island. During the case evaluation, we will explain your legal options and determine if you’re eligible for compensation. Call today toll-free: 1 800 FAIR PLAY (800.324.7752).