Support Builds for “Lavern’s Law” Medical Malpractice Legislation

Sarah May | June 15th, 2016

medical malpracticeLegislators in Albany are once again being urged to pass a proposal which would alter New York’s existing medical malpractice statute of limitation to permit individuals additional time to file lawsuits.

Current law gives those who have suffered harm as the result of medical negligence 2 and ½ years from the date the alleged malpractice occurred, though advocates believe this is insufficient to address cases in which the harm was not discovered until much later. The proposed legislation, referred to as “Lavern’s Law” would afford victims 2 and ½ years from the date upon which they actually learn of the medical malpractice to file their action for damages.

Proposed legislation honors Brooklyn lung cancer victim

The proposed change to the medical malpractice limitations period, widely known as Lavern’s Law, was named in honor of a 41-year-old woman from Brooklyn who passed away in 2013 due to what should have been a curable form of lung cancer. Sadly, her physicians at Kings County Hospital misdiagnosed her cancer, resulting in significant delay in her receipt of appropriate treatment. By the time Lavern Wilkinson was aware of the negligence in her case and thus able to file suit, the traditional statute of limitations for medical malpractice had already expired.

Specifics of Lavern’s Law

The bill, which would extend the filing period to 2 and ½ years from the date of actual knowledge of the acts of malpractice, was passed by the State Assembly in 2015, but stalled in the Senate. However, this time around, a growing coalition comprised of at least 36 different organizations is aggressively advocating for its passage prior to the June 16 end of the legislative term. Proponents assert that it is utterly unfair for medical malpractice victims to be required to file suit for negligence of which they are unaware, and that precluding them and their families from receiving the compensation they deserve due to an arbitrary time limit is a true injustice. New York remains one of just six states in which the statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the negligent acts or omissions, rather than the date upon which negligence was discovered by its victim.

Medical malpractice and victims’ rights

Each and every day, millions of Americans rely on doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to draw upon their training and expertise to provide accurate diagnostic services and effective treatments. When the faith placed in these professionals turns out to be misplaced due to acts of serious negligence, victims need to know that help is available. The physical, emotional and financial losses resulting from medical malpractice can be staggering, and the law offers those affected the right to pursue substantial compensation. Payment for medical bills, lost wages, reduction in future earning capacity, rehabilitation expenses and even funeral costs may be recoverable by those harmed by hospital negligence.

Fighting for accountability across New York

If you or someone you love have been seriously harmed by the negligent acts or omissions of a medical professional, The Sanders Firm attorneys can provide invaluable assistance. Our network of medical experts, case investigators and support staff will work collaboratively to protect your rights and seek maximum recovery.

To receive a no-cost, comprehensive review of the facts of your case, contact us at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY.


  1. New York Daily News, Cancer patient who can't sue after misdiagnosis because of statute of limitations says she wants lawmakers to pass Lavern's Law, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cancer-patient-urges-legislature-act-date-discovery-law-article-1.2648631

  2. New York Times, When Bad Doctors Happen to Good Patients, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/opinion/when-bad-doctors-happen-to-good-patients.html

  3. New York Daily News, Lavern's Law dies as state Legislature is set to finish session, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/opinion/when-bad-doctors-happen-to-good-patients.html